Illenium’s Sophomore Album Is A Journey

“Dude you gotta check out this Illenium guy!”

In the past, some of my friends have told me to check out this random EDM DJ/producer, but I never listened to them.

One day within the month of August, I decided to let Spotify DJ and play random songs for me on my drive. The immersive sounds of the bass line and the featured vocals of Annika Wells in the song “Crawl Outta Love” captivated me and left me wanting more of the future bass artist.

A month later, Nick Miller, better known as Illenium, released his sophomore album “Awake,” consisting of 13 tracks that all play a crucial role in the journey it takes you on.

The album starts off peacefully with “Needed You,” featuring Dia Frampton singing com vocals that compliment the build up of the song. The uplifting beat of this song picks up the overall tone of Illenium’s work within “Awake.”

“Crawl Outta Love” picks up where “Needed You” left off and takes things up another level, with lyrics that paint a picture of a relationship that should have never been – one side struggling to forget memories of the past.

Things slow down for a bit with “No Time Like Now,” which then prepares us for “Free Fall” featuring RUNN. Her smooth vocals are the main buildup before the drop, which then takes things back to that immersive sound of the synths and bass.

“Where’d You Go” pulls off a feel good vibe similar to the one that Porter Robinson and Madeon’s single, “Shelter,” radiates. Though neither a rise nor a fall, this track keeps us in a neutral position of an uplifting state of mind, waiting for more to come.

The chords of a guitar and the sound of the drums welcome you to the world of “Fractures” featuring Nevve and her soothing, high notes. Synths, drums, bass, guitar chords and vocals all make a recipe for a work of art that should be heard.

“No Time Like Now,” is one of those falls within the album that showcases the calm elements that make up part of the Illenium sound.  

One of the most beautiful songs within the album has to be “Leaving.” At first, the song starts out really slow with audio of a woman leaving a voicemail. This song is full of surprises, and gathers every single awesome individual aspect of Illenium into one: surprising, uplifting, and emotional. This song is one of the best tracks in “Awake.”

“Lost,” featuring Emilie Brandt, switches things up with a change of tone and pace that is very unique for the album as a whole. The same feeling is found in Illenium’s “Sound of Walking Away,” featuring the high the vocals of Kerli.

“Taking Me Higher” starts to hint that the journey is coming to an end soon, and plays a part in one of those massive falls of energy that are seen within “Awake.” A rise is brought back once again with “Feel Good” and “Beautiful” reminding us that the album is not complete just yet.

Illenium, along with the musical group Ember Island, decided to end things with a soft vibe through “Let You Go.” The title, positioning and delicacy of the track signify closure, but the lyrics beg-to-differ, creating a deeper message than the soft melody of the song would convey at first listen.

Illenium shows how he can integrate rises and falls within “Awake,” making it feel as if he was performing a solid live-set.

“Awake” is definitely a valuable gem for the EDM community. It’s a journey; a journey where every single emotion one can possibly feel is conjured by each song – songs that no one could ever get enough of.

 

Gustavo Cristobal

Journalism Major at SDSU.