Nirvana’s ‘MTV Unplugged In New York’ was one of the best acoustic displays music had ever seen. It was a moment of musical genius where the band channeled their grunge sound into a passionate and personal performance, and it seems that Canada’s very own electropop darling, LIGHTS, is trying to replicate that stripped-down magic with another attempt at an acoustic take of her own album, with ‘Midnight Machines’.
Her previous acoustic albums, ‘Lights.Acoustic’ and ‘Siberia (Acoustic)’ were decent ventures away from her upbeat synthpop sound, into a realm of acoustic guitars and pianos. ‘Midnight Machines’ takes the energy of her 2014 release, ‘Little Machines’, but wastes it on stretched out songs that grow tiresome quickly.
The opening track, ‘Up We Go’ already drags out the original three-minute runtime into an almost six-minute burden of empty verses. The acoustic rendition completely loses the catchiness of its electropop predecessor, as do other songs on the tracklist, such as the average-sounding ‘Muscle Memory’ and the uninteresting ‘Follow You Down’.
LIGHTS is known for being an electropop sensation, with a sound comparable to Ellie Goulding, and the fact that her songs can be shone under electropop and acoustic lenses proves her songwriting ability. So surely, this album has some decent tracks on it; the slightly ethereal take on ‘Same Sea’ gives listeners a unique perspective on the heart-pounding original while the haunting ‘Meteorites’ is probably the only song here that sounds better as an acoustic rendition.
Something that could have made the album a little bit more tolerable would be her vocal delivery on songs like ‘Don’t Go Home Without Me’ and ‘Running With The Boys’. It sounded like there was the potential for her to vary her singing with some runs here and there, but the lack of this speaks to the stagnant state that most of this acoustic album is in.
Still, ‘Midnight Machines’ proves LIGHTS’ determination to give her fans another perspective of her own sound, but she might fare better at further crafting her distinct and creative synthpop style.
‘Midnight Machines’ is out now via Warner Bros. Records.
This LIGHTS review was written by Michael Andrew Garcia. Edited by Stephen Butchard.