Opinion: ‘Little Machines’ is big in prospect

Neville Hardman

Neville Hardman

Canadian electropop powerhouse Lights is back in the game with Tuesday ‘s release of her album “Little Machines.” 

The Juno Award-winning artist follows a mature path in her third studio album, gaining insight from her past work and using it to her advantage.

 “I felt more of a risk with my last album,” she said during a Billboard interview. “With this record…it was more like, ‘Let’s write some incredible songs that everyone can sing along to and lyrically latch onto.’ It was all about that — making really good individual songs and then putting them all together as an album.”

True to her words, “Little Machines” is an album composed of pieces plucked from her vault of life experience. She draws from her reality as a wife and new mother, as well as her relationships with other people.

“Portal” opens the album, greeting listeners with a slow, eerie wave of emotion combined with strings of solid, powerful lyrics. The song might be all one chord, but its simplicity delivers, serving as a nice contrast against the weight of her other tracks on the album. 

“Running With The Boys” follows, engaging listeners with jams of bubbly energy in classic Lights style. Filled with synths and nostalgia of a younger time, this tune is absolutely upbeat and crafty. “Up We Go” is the third track on the list, and it radiates positivity from every pore. It becomes clear that Lights wants to shed this view on her audience so they can feel it, too.

“Same Sea” takes inspiration from her long-distance relationship with Blessthefall frontman Beau Bokan and turns it into a relatable message. “Oil and Water” embraces an even more serious approach. Lights admitted on her Twitter feed that this song is about someone she knows who is going through divorce, and her maturity as a refined pop artist shines through again. She uses things that go on in other people’s lives that affect her as a musical influence and does it flawlessly each time.

Lights’ voice isn’t as altered compared to “Siberia” or “The Listening,” which makes this album sound more authentic and satisfying to an acoustic-preferring listener like myself. Combined with a set of witty lyrics and musical versatility, there are few that can match her elegance.

If an album like “Little Machines” takes two years to make, I will patiently wait that time again. The content that Lights puts out isn’t lessened by a need to produce radio hits, like those of many pop artists. It’s refreshing to see a musician who doesn’t succumb to making catchy songs just to hit high on Billboard charts.

Unfortunately, her “Little Machines” tour does not reach Ohio, but maybe with some serious optimism Lights will bless this state with a show.

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].