Far from a dead end
Canadian singer and songwriter Lights released her newest album Dead End in collaboration with MYTH this August. The award-winning artist, holding titles for the Juno Award for Pop Album of the Year and the Artist Media Radio Award for Favorite Solo Artist, released reinventions of popular tracks from her previous album as well as a few new pieces.
Dead End presents its audience with a “young and reckless” type of feel, its lyrics speaking from a place of rebellion, and the challenges that are realized with age, all wrapped up in a shiny electro-pop dance beat. Lights and MYTH released three brand new songs, “Dead End,” “Outdoor Sports” and “Batshit,” that are upbeat and driven by fast-paced synth instrumentals. The tracks start with a more soft-pop feel and gradually incorporate more of a beat, leading to small breaks within the lyrical parts of each song that display abundant synthesizer work.
Most remixes offered on Dead End adopt songs from Lights’ popular album Skin & Earth and give them new life (“We Were Here,” “Fight Club,” “Almost Had Me” and “Savage”), with one being from Little Machines (“Up We Go”). Lights has been experimenting more with the synthesizer, clear as day in these exhilarating and dense tracks. As opposed to their original soft pop instrumentals and focus on vocals, the remixes are more fast-paced and energetic, the lyrics taking the backseat for a part. Lights’ talent makes itself known with the production of these remixes, for they are not simply a sped-up version of the previous tracks with a couple added dance elements; the songs are reinvented and, aside from the main melody, they are almost unrecognizable.
In some ways, this is even more impressive than developing a piece from scratch, because the melody and lyrics are a fixed element. Lights manages to take the theme from her album Skin & Earth, one that is all about the story behind the music, and apply it to the theme of Dead End, which is audacious and all about dance.
Lights sees herself as more than a singer and songwriter and wants to branch her talents out further, hence her creation of a comic book by the same name as Skin & Earth. She sought to make dance versions of some of her songs, which makes sense seeing as acoustic versions were also made. This led to an incredible new album that reveals even more about the skill sets her audience already knew she possesses.