“PEP” by Lights (2022) – Coog Radio – University of Houston Radio

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For fans of: CHVRCHES, flor, ODESZA, LAYERS

Lights’ highly anticipated 5th album was released on April 1st. By releasing the daring “Prodigal Daughter” as PEP’s debut single, the singer claims her place among electropop’s hottest.

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The album begins first with a light (ha!) and airy melody, different from most of the album. According to the singer, the song is about the loss of a loved one. The chorus says:

Don’t leave me hanging / Waiting for something / Believing in nothing / With no one else / Body hurts / Dreaming and waking up / Don’t leave me waiting / Don’t leave me here / Outside of me

2. “In My Head” (ft. Josh Dun)

The second track is the fourth single from the album, which features Twenty One Pilots’ Josh Dun. As the chorus makes clear, the song is about “dancing to the beat of your own drum.” This title sets the tone of the album: optimistic and audacious.

3. “Prodigal Daughter”

The third track speaks, as the singer explains, of “religious deconstruction” (according to Spotify). Synth and bass driven, it really feels like Lights are fighting their old ways and coming back.

4. “Salt and Vinegar”

The fourth track is the album’s third single. With guitar and bass at the heart of the song, Lights says the song was actually a mix of two different songs she was working on, according to Spotify. The chorus is:

You are angry, I am bitter / You and I make a dangerous mix / Summon the devil now, we can’t get rid of it / We go together like salt and vinegar

Produced by Lights themselves, this sultry track features Kiesza on bass and vocals. Easily one of the best songs on the album with the rhythm and fantastic vocals between the two singers. The chorus goes like this:

Hey (Put the money in the bag) / Man, you hurt me so bad / (Put the money in the bag) / Man, you hurt me so bad / (It’s a stick, put the money in the bag)

Another self-produced song, Lights recorded actual tongue clicks for use in the chorus. A dream-pop sounding song with bold lyrics, the chorus says:

Oh, she got claws / Shit, she got jaws / She pulled out her guns, boots, no bras / Trust no one / Baby, we’re outlaws / Rebel with a cause / Oh, she’s got jaws / Oh, she’s got jaws

A little more on the soft side of the album, “Rent” is full of metaphors for someone you think about a lot, but don’t want.

I keep a checklist of infractions, ooh / I stay awake to put up fences / If you wanna live in my head, you gotta pay the expenses / And honey, you can’t pay the rent

Slowly winding back to the more alternative side, this alt-J-esque track drags you along.

It’s three in the morning, and I’m coming in hot (ooh) / Back in town, and I’m here for the jackpot / You do you want to light a fire? / You can’t tell me anything, you won’t light me up / If I whistle, it’ll make sparks, you know / I want to light a fire / We’re going to light a fire

9. “The Real Thing” (ft. Elohim)

As the first single and probably the best song from “PEP”, track 9 is a classic electro/electro-pop song. With the synth, backing vocals and catchy lyrics, what’s not to love?

A carefree (maybe even…energetic?) song from the album. This one will get stuck in your head all day after just one listen.

Track 11 seems to be a fan favorite as it is the second most streamed song on Spotify right now. The singer says the lyrics “I always say I’m the happiest sad girl you’ll ever meet” define the entire album.

Lights becomes vulnerable with this ballad. Composed mostly of keys, the chorus goes:

It’s hard to win / When no one wants to listen / But the voices carry / The voices carry / It’s hard to change / When everyone wants to stay the same / But the voices carry / The voices carry

The most synthesized song on the album, “Grip” concludes the album. With haunting vocals, “PEP” comes to an end.

All in all, “PEP” is a great job. Lights comes out and emerges completely into another brand, and it totally works for her. It clearly tells the story of working on yourself and finding yourself after hardship – in the most optimistic way.


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