• Darby VanDeVeen

The Lumineers want to be your bright side on new album

“Bathed in cautious optimism, BRIGHTSIDE is exactly the kind of album needed to bring a smile or offer a sonic hug on a dreary day.”

The Lumineer’s have released their latest album, BRIGHTSIDE, at a time when most people really need something to look forward to. A new wave of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron strain has swept the globe, and uncertainty is more prevalent than ever. In typical fashion, the album is sonically upbeat, continuing their unique blend of indie, folk, rock, and storytelling to make BRIGHTSIDE yet another captivating album to add to their repertoire. Sitting at 30 minutes with only 9 tracks, it’s easy to gain a small dose of serotonin from the main duo of Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites.

As with most music nowadays, the pandemic serves as a heavy inspiration and ever-present character in their project. “WHERE WE ARE” summarizes the confusing mess of emotions that come with entering the aftermath of a global pandemic. “I don’t know where we are/But it will be okay” seemingly ties the entire album together, offering up hope juxtaposed with images of “drivin’ in the rain” and “starin’ at the ceiling.” As far as direct references go, “ROLLERCOASTER” is the closest the duo comes. A more somber song, it houses lyrics like “making all the plans for later violated by” and “everyone was only dyin’ to live” which seem to be on the nose in describing the collective feelings.

The opening and title track of the album is a love song offering to be someone else’s “bright side” and lend them strength through tough times. The closing track, “REPRISE,” references the first track and concept but with a new meaning. This time, the narrator needs someone to be their “bright side.” Both needing someone and being that someone to lean on offers a song for each mood and situation that you might be going through.

The Beatles-inspired “BIRTHDAY” is also a standout track to help us remember that there still are things to celebrate even when it looks dark. The bass and background vocals were heavily influenced by the Liverpool foursome and added a new layer to the song. Fellow Jersey-born singer Bruce Springsteen can also be heard in “NEVER REALLY MINE,” a more subtle, rock ballad (though these hints could also be attributed to the brand of Americana that surrounds both of the artists).

Bathed in cautious optimism, BRIGHTSIDE is exactly the kind of album needed to bring a smile or offer a sonic hug on a dreary day. The Lumineers stick to their tried and true formula: verses packed with lyrics to tell a story, leading into a simpler (albeit catchy) chorus to engage even the most casual listeners. Even if all you previously knew are hits like “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia,” the newest addition to The Lumineers’ discography will welcome you with open arms and invite you to stay awhile.


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