Trojan Living Editor
The Lumineers are back and looking at the brighter side of things as they release their fourth, and more laid back, studio record.
“BRIGHTSIDE” features nine tracks that, like most of their discography, retells a ripe history of the bands own personal woes, recounts stories from less than strangers or simply paints a captivating mental picture.
Beginning the album, the title track pushes itself out of the gate with a chugging drum beat from drummer/pianist Jeremiah Fraites.
Imagery is heavily involved in this song, one of the strongest lines being, “I could see it in the air / Every word was like smoke from a cigarette / Sun is coming up ahead / Get your crack in the windshield shine….”
“A.M. RADIO” starts off recounting childhood scenes of hearing life-changing music for the first time and morphs into a “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”-esque chorus as singer Wesley Schultz wails “Long as you run / I couldn’t give you up….”
The song fades into a peppy piano-driven ballad “WHERE WE ARE” that refers to a car crash that Schultz and his wife were involved in 10 years prior.
The determination and desperation in the chorus contrasts beautifully with the uncertain verses.
“BIRTHDAY” is a loosely performed track that feels like it’s being played in a mostly empty lounge somewhere.
This could be considered the weaker song on the album, if taking into account the subject and feel – of course that’s completely subjective to the listener.
Steady piano and bright echoing notes mimic the vocals as “BIG SHOT” takes listeners into the latter half of the record – arguably the better half, though containing the least number of previously released singles.
“NEVER REALLY MINE” at first sounds like it might be a corny tune coming from the mouth of Travolta in “Grease”’ solely based on the first vocal line melody.
It doesn’t take long for Schultz to prove that opinion completely wrong, as he opens his vocals to reveal a heartbreaking and powerful wail that eventually builds with the line “Hey, don’t you fade, don’t you fade, don’t you fade away….”
“ROLLERCOASTER,” in all senses, is the exact opposite of its namesake.
Full of metaphors and lost wishes, this breathtaking, intimate ballad offers listeners some of the most thought-provoking lyrics on the album.
“Everyone was wrong / They were on the ledge / Everyone was only dyin’ to live…” and “They were always dyin’ to know you / You could always see it in my eyes / Everyone was holding their breath, so cold / But I, I forgot….”
“REMINGTON” has the most unexpected sound on the album, due to the electronic, oversimplified beat that resonates through the entire track.
Paired with simple (almost off-putting) guitar chords, the music alone creates an almost unsettling environment that allows this track to become the true masterpiece of the album.
A tinny vocal effect lends itself well to the poetic nature of the lyrics (a few of which would be listed here if all of them weren’t worthy of being on the page).
Lasting only two minutes, this track is the shortest on the album, but deserves the most attention, if not more for that reason.
A seamless transition leads listeners into the goosebump inducing “REPRISE” that features a thumping kickdrum, bouncing piano, and gliding bassline as it wraps up and revisits the entire album in a final farewell.
Though a slightly briefer album for the Lumineers, make no mistake in assuming “BRIGHTSIDE” is any less of an experience or an emotional “ROLLERCOASTER,” if you will.
Absolutely an album that is worth the listen and worth the time to sit and soak in if you’re more than a casual listener.