October 5, 2017 Lights – Skin&Earth (Album Review)
Canadian Singer-Songwriter Lights is back on the rise with her fourth studio album, Skin&Earth. Known for her eccentric Electro Pop tunes, the new album was released worldwide September 22, 2017 via Warner Bros. and serves as a tale through the singer’s raw thoughts and emotions in a way she has never done before.
Just a day shy from the three year anniversary of her previous album, 2014’s Little Machines, Lights is bound to go beyond her previous limitations with Skin&Earth. However, that is no reason to feel unaccomplished just yet because both her debut, 2009’s The Listening, and sophomore album, 2011’s Siberia, have been certified gold. Furthermore, Lights has also been nominated for multiple Juno Awards and won “Pop Album Of The Year” in 2015 for the aforementioned Little Machines.
Even still, while extensively touring over the past few years, Lights has found another outlet to express herself. How so? A series of comics. Starring alternate ego Enaia, the interesting story helped the singer work through these series of self-identity reflections. Lights briefly described the comics at her recent Dallas, Texas show, saying, “They all reflect what I see in my head when I write the music.” From this, fans are gifted a glimpse of what goes on inside her head with Skin&Earth. To this point, six issues have been released leading up to the release of the full-length album.
Fourteen songs in stock, it starts off with a mystical whirlwind of chilling and distorted vocals against synths. The suspenseful sounds intertwine into the lead of the upbeat snap track “Skydiving.” Despite the daunting tone, the eccentric movement display Lights’ defiance and show the fears are faced head-on. It will become a fan favorite with the echoes of sound that almost give the feeling of being trapped in a quiet, empty forest.
Thereafter, the single “Savage” fills the speakers, and it is hard not to envision a Tegan and Sara influence. The sassy and edgy guitar tones create the spunk to bring her echoing vocals to life. The electrifying track is full of attitude and what really makes the song. Transitioning, “New Fears” features the raw emotion that has changed a bit as Lights takes it to church. This song serves as a sultry piece as she pledges to be someone’s safe haven. It continues the Grunge guitars from the previous track, but she blends a series of harmonized background vocals that offers a more Pop sound.
From here, there is an overall theme of coming alive with “Giants” and standout “Moonshine.” Leading single “Giants,” with a tempo change, certainly needs to be listened to a few times to appreciate. The more the track goes on, feelings of defiance come over like a rushing wave and it is hard not to give in with the uplifting keys as Lights sings about standing tall and running wildly free. That in mind, “Moonshine” holds a memorizing grip with its groovy electronic beat, subtle claps, and highlighted vocals. There is no better motivating anthem for the dreamers as she sings, “It’s just like I’ve been liberated, illuminated, diamond plated.”
Yet another highlight, the closing song, “Almost Had Me,” features bright piano keys and sticks clicking, making for a great ballad-like buildup to the bass booming chorus. The mix rushes in and out like ocean waves, and taking a closer look into the lyrics, the song is a giant metaphorical middle finger to whoever made her “hurt so badly.” The in-your-face approach is evidence of her resilience against the wolf in the daylight.
Overall, Skin&Earth is a great composition series, combining feel-good Dance tracks with heart-piercing ballads. The different take from Lights is refreshing to hear because it contains such emotion, conviction, and honesty. An album that is collectively a pleasant listen, CrypticRock gives Skin&Earth 4 out of 5 stars.