BOTW #17 & Album Review – LIGHTS

Photo fr: amplifiedmag.wordpress.com

In honor of the recent “Siberia Acoustic” release, this week’s BOTW is the one and only: LIGHTS. (Not to be confused with Ellie Goulding’s single) Before you read any further, I just want to note that this may sound very fangirly, at least more than usual…

Hailing from Toronto, this electropop-rocker has graced the music scene since 2006, starting out as a songwriter for SONY, and later getting signed as a solo artist in 2008 to ‘Underground Operations’. Not too long after, LIGHTS takes the Canadian charts by storm and eventually leaves the label for her own, ‘Lights Music Inc’.

LIGHTS’s first full length, “The Listening,” is jam-packed with synthy pop-rock and tasteful use of autotune.  LIGHTS is basically a melody making machine. Every tune she writes has the potential of getting stuck in your head, and that takes skill. Her 80’s new wave inspired beats and expert use of sound effects glues the album together.

The sophomore album, “Siberia,” is perfect. She has grown so much as a vocalist, songwriter, and instrumentalist since “The Listening,” and this record proves this with every single song. The tracks are so solid on this record that she could have released any of them as leading singles. “Siberia” brings a more refined alternative-electropop-edgy vibe, much more lush synth pads and voices, great lyrical choices, and her voice is so much stronger. It is going to take a lot to top “Siberia,” to say the least.

With that being said, LIGHTS’s “Siberia Acoustic” is a whole other musical adventure! With each acoustic version, she brings a new ‘feel’ to the music and new meanings to the lyrics. Stripped down to mostly acoustic guitar, cellos, and percussion, you are really able to ‘hear these songs as if she were playing them at home,’ as LIGHTS describes.

Especially notable acoustic tracks include:
1. “Peace Sign” – With the finger-picking, slight changes in riffs, and the addition of Coeur de pirate singing in French, this song could not be any more endearing.
2. “Heavy Rope” – I loved the original version of this song, but something about the acoustic version makes me really dig deeper into the beautiful lyrics.
3. “Banner” – This acoustic redux version gives listeners a sweeter tone when compared to the electropop-anthem vibe of the original version.

My Favorite LIGHTS Songs (if I HAD to choose):
1. Cactus in the Valley (Original, Acoustic, AND iTunes Session versions!)
2. The Last Thing on Your Mind

3. Peace Sign
4. Ice

5. Banner
6. Siberia
7. Toes
..But, basically ALL of them are my favorite.

LIGHTS is currently touring for the her “Siberia Acoustic” album! Check out dates here: http://music.iamlights.com/tour/
@lights
OR see you at the Seattle show @ The Neptune, June 13th!

LIGHTS & I! (When she toured
Canada/US with Keane in 2009!)
LIGHTS & I, again!
(Bumbershoot 2012)

Until next week, friends!

Peace, Love, & Rock n’ Roll,
A-Tran.

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