Illenium’s latest album, Ascend, truthfully seems like an unbelievable accomplishment for the younger producer.
All through the final 5 years, Nick Miller — Illenium’s given identify — constructed himself up in ways in which hearken again to the start days of Panic! On the Disco and Fall Out Boy. This kind of path locations a excessive emphasis on word-of-mouth buzz, accompanied by regular stream of high quality singles, albums, and distinctive collaborations.
Add these along with gorgeous exhibits with ever-increasing manufacturing and constant publicity to greater audiences, and also you truthfully have a really impactful physique of labor.
Illenium’s widespread enchantment primarily stems from in his uncanny skill to current fashionable dubstep and bass music with deep melodies, that seize you immediately by the center strings. Granted, there are different proficient artists additionally producing comparable music, however with Miller, he appears to proceed to create beats that resonate organically and sincerely.
Whereas Miller has truthfully helped form the long run bass style, Ascend proves his skill to transcend genres and enchantment to a large fanbase, it doesn’t matter what musical style you could get pleasure from.
This can be a difficult highway at bestm that’s changing into an rising troublesome path to navigate as a producer. This present day, digital fan bases are rising increasingly fragmented, because the business as an entire continues to commercialize.
On this third album, the themes of his tracks are each private, but universally relatable. If that feels like your definition of “emo music”, you’re in all probability proper — it’s simply been cleverly elevated with higher know-how and customized jerseys to put on when you cry and smudge your midnight coloured eyeliner. In our opinion — Illenium’s Ascend is a “unhappy boi” album for the ages.
With a purpose to acknowledge the affect of this album, we’ve got to comprehend the clear development from the 12 tracks on his debut album, Ashes, to the 13 featured on his second album, Awake. Ascend includes a whopping 17 tracks, one thing reasonably indicative of the vastness of the story Miller has to share with the world.
The phoenix has turn out to be the aesthetically iconic in terms of Illenium, and together with his album titles — Ashes, Awake, Ascend — it appears as if he’s following the literal reincarnation of the attractive, legendary creature itself. With such an uplifting title and development, it could be an apparent assumption that the theme of this album can be ethereal and overwhelmingly optimistic. However in true rocker vogue, this album’s focuses are reasonably surprising because it primarily offers with ache, affliction, and rising from the metaphorical ashes of your individual psychological struggles.
Most of Illenium’s tracks start with a melodic, floating guitar riff, rapidly gaining traction with vocals and heavy-hitting drums to a much bigger instrumental drop. The vast majority of songs on this album are likely to observe this sample, with variations of quantity and depth.
This at all times ends in the attractive, gripping, and beautiful-sounding tracks Miller has at all times been capable of produce. Nonetheless, this kind of association additionally locations a ton of concentrate on the vocalists to present every tune a singular id.
When this comes full circle and actually creates magic, it ends in one thing like arguably top-of-the-line tracks on the album, Good Issues Fall Aside. Jon Bellion’s crooning communicates on the spot heartbreak and ache. That’s emphasised by the truth that it includes a refrain sans a standard drop. Not less than for us, this truthfully must be one in every of Illenium’s greatest, most iconic tracks but.
However, transferring down the album to Attractive, this monitor sounds virtually menacing in its beginnings. Bipolar Sunshine’s vocals instantly plunge the listeners right into a traditional emo vibe that may solely trigger us cling to the story that he paints, and sharing a narrative that we’ve got to decide to being robust sufficient to deal with.
The darkish cloud is lifted barely when the bridge hits, because the guitar chimes in, alongside like a shimmering, glimmer of hope represented by a tempo change. Then, the drop plunges you proper again into darkness.
There are additionally different punk-ish sounding information that run this darkish theme all through, comparable to Blood and the Good Charlotte-esque All Collectively Now, which we’re hard-pressed to not name the brand new emo EDM anthem of the yr.
Different moments which are virtually shockingly reverse of the depth of despair, the place Miller introduces pop ballads. Collaborations with the Chainsmokers, Take Away, and Crashing that includes Bahari lend to breaking apart the disparity.
Along with these, Unhappy Songs, a collaboration with longtime Illenium companion in each tune and in friendship, Mentioned the Sky, rounds out the album with a largely acoustic quantity, with ever-hopeful vocals by Annika Wells. The top of the monitor finds steadiness with a fantastic, light-hearted drop.
Ascend truthfully has a lot occurring all through the album. We will report that in our opinion, Miller does come out forward of all of it, however there’s a particular sense of the bigness that it evokes.
There are such a lot of particular company, extra songs than ever earlier than, and there’s even a Robin Williams snippet from Good Will Searching that honestly threatens to outshine even the album itself.
Very similar to any physique of labor, the interpretation is left as much as the viewers to find out it’s relevance, however it does spark additional questions. Can Illenium one up his greatest work thus far sooner or later? And the place can he go from right here to proceed to create unique materials?
With an upcoming tour that’s set to be greater than ever, a three-night present at Pink Rocks, and a cease scheduled that features a set on the famend Madison Sq. Backyard, we will solely stay up for his two exhibits (together with a particular throwback set night time) at WaMu in Seattle, with the hope that his ascension will solely proceed sooner or later.
You’ll be able to take heed to the album your self and arrive at your individual opinions and conclusions about this launch beneath: