Within a year because the first only came out and Ascend, the next studio album in Illenium, is now here. Crossing 17 tracks, this record is a stunning achievement for its honorary Denver-native, but it represents a double-edged sword.
There’s no two ways about it — Ascend is a fucking excellent body of the work. This is by far Illenium’s greatest record and his most daring endeavor as an artist. Jumping from 12 tracks on his debut record Ashes to 13 on his next record Awake, and 17 on Ascend is indicative of how much of a story Illenium must inform.
As usual, Illenium teams up with a who’s who throw to serve as narrators for his story. Hunting on this record will be the likes of Georgia Ku, GOLDN, Oekiin, Bahari, X Ambassadors, Kameron Alexander, Jon Bellion, Bipolar Sunshine, Echos, and much more. While not all of the titles on the record are superstars, no doubt a characteristic in an Illenium record will function as a massive cosign within their livelihood.
The record theme follows his first two records. Just as the phoenix is now symbolic of Illenium, his record titles — Ashes, Awake, Ascend — follow the path of reincarnation for its mythical bird. It would stand to reason the theme of the album would be something uplifting and magnificent, beautiful. It comes as a bit of a shock to discover that a number of the songs deal with loss, grief, overcoming negative emotions.
That said, maybe not every record has to make sense. Sometimesit’s good that ’ s certainly true here, and to allow them to seem incredible. Though a few of song transitions are a bit and the songs follow the same formulathey’re all REALLY. GOOD. It’s rare to hit such a poignant equilibrium of digital and soda, let alone do it fifteen days (not counting the Intro and Lonely prelude). Yet, Illenium does it using the pure capability that a phoenix will reincarnate. It seems to come inherent in his character.
I’ll leave you with this… Two of the best tracks on the record come next from the start and next from the finish, “Good Things Fall Apart” together using Jon Bellion and “Gorgeous” together with Blanke and Bipolar Sunshine. These tracks also happen to be opposites. “GTFA” is pop. It s uplifting paired with lyrics. It means that have to make you depressed … sometimes they are sometimes useful. On the other hand, “Gorgeous” is in it starts all but ominous. Bipolar Sunshine’s vocals evoke an image of him sitting in the darkness by a campfire, telling these brave enough to listen to a story about understanding better. The building synths from the background work to improve this effect, building anxiety and mystique. The veil is raised from the bridge as the tempo changes along with the guitar comes in, showing something like a light at the end of the tube — and the drop sweeps out your legs from underneath it and you ’s back into a swirling chaos.
It s little things like this, whether intentional on Illenium’s component or not, that makes Ascend such a fun record to listen to over and over again. Just like with any body of work, it s open to interpretation on the listenerthat analysis may be mine , and ’ s component. However, with all these tracks, there are certain to be endless theories about it.
Formerly, I called Ascend a dual edged sword. On the 1 hand, as you could surmise in the article I’ve written so far, the record is an unbelievable body of work. But it begs the question, “Where does Illenium go from here? ” It’s not unreasonable to imply this is peak Illenium. Surely this is his biggest tour , also, enjoying Red Rocks three nights in a row and even Madison Square Garden, a venue only graced from the largest of musicians, let alone in EDM, like Jack Ü, Swedish House Mafia, along with Kygo. Time will tell what’s after ascension…
For the time being, you can Ascend all on your own and listen to Illenium’s album under.
Photo via Rukes.com
This article was initially published on Your EDM. Source: Illenium Breaks Boundaries & Reaches A New Level With Third Album, “Ascend”
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