Lydia Album Review: Illuminate (2008)

*requested review* Abbe Hinder, who has her own blog centered around music and books, requested that Robert and I review this album.

In green is my opinion. I have never heard of this band. This album will be my first exposure to their music.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He isn’t familiar with Lydia either. He enjoys indie rock, however, so he is looking forward to this album review.

This is Twice Now

This is Twice Now begins with some great piano and then eases into a nice groove. I am not a huge fan of the singer’s voice, but it is bearable, as he does sing the lyrics tenderly. The drummer does a fantastic job here as well. This is Twice Now is a nice introduction to this album. Let’s see what Lydia can bring to the table.

I was hooked to this song the moment I heard the nice piano intro. The lyrics are really nice and the chorus is wonderful. I love the vibe this song brings. This is Twice Now is a warm welcome to start this album.

A Fine Evening for a Rogue

This song is like a steak that the chef insists is worth 50 dollars that is actually worth closer to 15 dollars. Lydia slaps a lot of muscle onto this song, with bold instrumentals and nonsensical lyrics that they feel nobody will question, but in the end, there is no heart. It’s a sappy song, is what I am trying to say. I don’t doubt that it has meaning to the singer, but I am failing to figure out what this guy means by what he is saying.

I really love the guitar and drums in this song, as they are perfectly harmonized. The lyrics are great too, and I love how the last minute of the song is solely instrumental. I feel that the lyrics are telling a story, but I cannot seem to figure them out, which makes me want to listen to this song over and over again.

I Woke Up Near the Sea

If I were to order a steak at a restaurant and be served a dish with mashed potatoes squished into an ugly mountain with asparagus hanging off of the sides, I would name that dish I Woke Up Near the Sea, because this song is a mess. The band tries so hard lyrically to be metaphorically insightful and fails on every level. If a singer is  going to diss a girl, he has to do it right. If it isn’t done right, the singer sounds like a twerp. Exhibit A.

If I ever woke up near the sea and this was song I first heard, I might end up feeling sad. I cannot tell if this song is supposed to be deep or not, but I still love the words, as they make you wonder what the song is really about.

Hospital

Hospital doesn’t move anywhere but backwards. Let me be clear. I listen to Dave Matthews. I am quite good at understanding what he is saying, even between all of the noises and quirks in his voice. But when vocal effects are slapped onto shouting, it makes it too difficult for even me to understand. A track with potential, Hospital manages to fall flat due to the unintelligible lyrics. I would imagine that this song is much more of a spectacle live, but unfortunately it was captured poorly in the studio.

The moment I saw the title of the song, I knew that it would be sad. Sure enough, it is, and it can be emotional at times. Once again we get some powerful lyrics that are drilled into our minds and manage to linger. It’s because of how deep and emotional the song is that I love it!

Fate

There we go! A song that moves! I still can’t understand what this guy is saying, but the music is dynamic enough on its own to make an impression. The piano and bass sound remarkable, standing out among the other fantastic instrumentals provided. Fate sounds warmly familiar, and while it isn’t a stellar track, it is one that knows what it is doing. This track reminds me of the Arctic Monkeys’ Fireside, which isn’t a negative thing by any means.

After two deep and emotional songs, Fate gives us that uplifting sound we have been wanting. I love the instruments in this song as well as the lyrics, once again. I also love how the vocals are at a lower octave rather than a higher one because it effectively establishes the positive mood.

Sleep Well

The drummer should do us all a favor and ditch this band. He should pursue other endeavors with talented musicians. He does a fantastic job on this song. No other component comes close to topping the drums. I strongly dislike this song because of how little it offers.

If you ever have a bad day (I have had many of those days) and you need something to make your day better, then listen to this song. You can thank me later when your day brightens up like an emerging sunrise. The instruments are what make this song bright, while the lyrics do the opposite, creating an interesting contrast. I could easily sleep well after listening to this song.

Stay Awake

There is nothing about this song that has any kind of weight or value. I would like it if the singer stopped yelling and the band played something that’s different from the last fifteen tracks.

When I saw this song was called Stay Awake, I immediately thought it would be a polar opposite of Sleep Well. I literally had to look up the lyrics to this song because of how sad and deep it is. It seems like the guy really loves a girl, but their relationship cannot go any further. The guy is then stuck in the rain feeling sad, as a big part of his life is missing. This is by far the most depressing songs on the album. Their relationship is going downhill, but the guy still loves the girl. I really wish I could relate to this song. Words cannot describe how beautiful it is.

All I See

Well, at least my ears aren’t being violated. Regardless, there is nothing remotely musical about All I See. To keep from coming across as juvenile, I try my best to refrain from using the word ‘annoying.’ But I cannot control myself any longer. This song is annoying.

All I see turns to brown. No, wait, wrong song, wrong band! All I See is another one of those songs that is emotional, mainly due to the instruments. We also get some more powerful vocals about how dangerous love can really be.

One More Day

The beginning of this song reminded me of the fast-moving Fate, so I was hopeful. Unfortunately, my hopes were instantly shattered once the song sank back into the same repetitive sound as the other tracks on Illuminate. The guitar solo was enjoyable, but I can’t understand why the guitarist hadn’t shown off his tricks earlier on the record.

I cannot even tell what the meaning of this song is, and I honestly do not think anybody will be able to. One More Day has the great lyrics and instruments that have been making these songs great. The songs are getting repetitive, but that is why this album and the songs are likable. They really play with your emotions.

…Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad

This cheekily named song oozes Coheed and Cambria, which is a great thing. I heard a lot of Coheed and Cambria as a young lad, and this short track emulates them in their sound. I dig this little tune.

Dang it! Why do we have to get a short song? The guitar on this track is nice, but if the song was longer, it would have been better. This is why I hate songs that are only a minute long, because you always want more to be said. This song could have benefited from being longer.

Now the One You Once Loved Is Leaving

Where the hell has this girl been the whole time? She’s fantastic! The dark piano complements her vocals, and the chorus is rhythmic and emotional. This song has structure and melody, two things that almost seemed impossible for this band to lock down. This girl should not have been benched for the duration of this album. Instead, she should have taken over the unmoving lead vocalist’s role. I feel that she could have saved this album from being the flat line that it was. 

Illuminate ends with the longest song on the album, which contains a guitar sound that pleases me. I love the lyrics as well, which pair well with the guitar. This is a mellow song to end the saddest album I have ever listened to. I also love how it ends with the guitar. I would like to thank Abbe for requesting this album, as I will gladly add it to my CD collection. As always, thank you all for reading yet another album review. Please check out our other reviews and stay tuned for more!

Top 3

Fate

…Ha Yeah It Got Pretty Bad

Now the One You Once Loved Is Leaving

Top 3

Hospital

Sleep Well

Stay Awake

Before I provide my final thoughts, I’d like to thank Abbe once again for requesting this album. I truly hope you don’t hate me because of my critical opinions. Overall, this album was an underwhelming listen. There are some moments that displayed the potential of individual band members, but the combination of them resulted in colorless music. I am sorry to say that Illuminate from Lydia is a Hotdog. Because Robert enjoyed it strongly, however, I must deem it a strong Hotdog, topped with onion. I would not recommend this album.

~Juck

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One comment on “Lydia Album Review: Illuminate (2008)

  1. Pingback: Gamerscene: What to Expect in 2015 | GAMERSCENE.WORDPRESS.COM

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