Tom: Bit of Canadian electronica for you now. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
I was introduced to Lights (or “LIGHTS”, but that’s just a bit silly) by a friend in New Orleans a couple of years ago. She’s got two albums out now, but there’s a reason that this particular track was the first single off her first album ‘The Listening’, back in 2009.
Tom: Okay: you’ll need to get over the vaguely CBeebies vibe to it – thanks to our Radio Insider Matt for that description – and the fairly slow verses. Which is a lot to get over, because they can grate.
Tim: I don’t know. I’m assuming that by the CBeebies vibe you mean the video, which I actually love, because it reminds me of It’s Raining Sunshine, off the soundtrack of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, one my favourite films ever. (Five seconds. That’s all you need.)
Tom: That’s… just incredibly disturbing. Eyes don’t do that! Not even on cartoon characters! And… yeah, the more I think about that, the more I think that’s basically just a Nightmare Fuel generator.
Tim: Are you kidding me? Mate, what’s the matter with you? Bloody hell.
Tom: I’ve just looked up the movie. It features a device that creates meat from water. It features intelligent roasted chickens, one of which is then worn as a costume. If you’d have shown me that as a kid, I’d have been incredibly disturbed and probably turned vegetarian.
Tim: Ah, but that wouldn’t save you from the nacho chips that laced themselves with peanut butter just because our heroine has a nut allergy.
Tom: Anyway, the “CBeebies vibe”, as Matt puts it, isn’t down to the video – it’s more a general feeling of sounding like something off Radio Disney.
Tim: Well, for me the autotuniness on them provokes the same reaction as the voice in Still Alive – a bit weird, but fine once I’m used to it.
Tom: But just listen to that chorus. Specifically, to that glorious backing vocal in the final chorus. That, above all, is what keeps me digging out this track, and most of the first half of the album, from time to time: there’s some really very good musicianship hidden behind a childish exterior.
Tim: There, you are bang on. Yes, it’s somewhat childish and even a tad Disney-ish, but only in a very good way.
Tom: There are other good tracks off the same album: Ice, which has one of the strangest middle eights I’ve heard in a long while, and The Last Thing On Your Mind, which is about as emotional as electronica can get before it crosses into some other genre entirely. It’s worth a listen – even if, like listening to a whole Mika album, you need to listen to death metal afterwards to get your brain over the sugar rush.
Tim: No, don’t bother with death metal. Just keep the sugar rush going. Try this.