LIGHTS new album is the little machine that could

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Nunzia Martino

 

Canadian electro-pop sensation LIGHTS released her third album, Little Machines, and the singer’s edgy style is evident in what she calls her “best work ever.”  LIGHTS (formerly Valarie Poxleitner) made her debut in 2009 with her first album The Listening. She became known for her childlike voice and eccentric beats.

Her sophomore album, Siberia (which was released in 2011) challenged the singer to take more risks and her musical style developed even further. On September 19, 2014, LIGHTS released her third studio album Little Machines, which debuted on the US Billboard 200 at No. 34.

While LIGHTS’ style has changed throughout the years, its fundamental message has remained. The singer said in an interview with Billboard, “I’ve found myself gravitating towards themes of nostalgia and naivety and while doing so, I’ve captured a timeless electronic sound.” Her personal life affected the making of the album and throughout its development, she married lead singer of Blessthefall, Beau Bokan, and gave birth to her first child, Rocket Bokan.

The album begins with “Portal,” a simplistic, vulnerable tune which focuses on the singer’s development in song writing, with thoughtful lyrics like, “Imagining sequences / playing back visions by stereo air and fragmenting emissions / I’ve lost and found it / the loneliest shape of a fist that I wish I could bring / in this bitter abyss is my petrified heart / still bound in.”

“Portal” focuses on evoking emotion through lyric writing rather than flashy beats and synthesizers.

Songs like “Up We Go” and “Running With the Boys” give the album an opportunity to achieve playful moments. Both songs possess a more radio friendly vibe than any of her previous releases while still remaining true to her style. She reflects on nostalgic experiences and reveals more about her hard year before the release of Little Machines.

As the album continues, LIGHTS’ progression as an artist becomes even more evident with songs like “Same Sea” and “Speeding.” The artist dives into a sultry style, emphasizing the hypnotic feel of her music with lyrics. What comes next is the gem of the album, and a fan favorite: “Muscle Memory.”

According to LIGHTS, she recorded the song during early stages of labor and experienced contractions throughout the process. She said, “I had a little abdominal strength at the time because your belly is so big. So I had to do things differently and pull from different parts of my vocal chords.” The song proves to be the most memorable of the album, with quirky changes in pitch throughout the song and a futuristic melody.

Songs “Slow Down” and “Meteorites” represent the theme of the album, which is maintaining an optimistic view on life, but at the same time having the ability to reflect on the harder times. “How We Do It” is unique in that it possesses a childlike feel to it, similar to her earlier style. What is different than before is that while still being vulnerable, LIGHTS obtains certainty and empowerment in her goals and desires.

Perhaps the most sentimental song on the album is the last, called “Don’t Go Home Without Me.” Dedicated to her husband Beau, the song gives hints about struggles in the past due to their long distance relationship (both are touring musicians) and her plans to be with him forever.

She sings about loving him when they’re “old and ugly” and continues, “It’s amazing that you’re here / so alone I would be / in a world that you’re not near / don’t go home without me.”

The piece ends an honest album while taking into account the heart of the singer’s music—developing strength through trying times.