Dec 4, 2012

Album Review: Lindsey Stirling (Self-Titled Album)

You may remember Lindsey Stirling, the California-born 23 year old dancing violinist from 2010 on America's Got Talent. Despite only making it to the quarter-finals, Lindsey Stirling has become an internet phenomenon and credits her resistance to change and conform to become "more marketable". Since then she's made a big name for herself just doing nerdy tributes with her unique dubstep meets classical violining, with such notable titles as Zelda Medley, Game of Thrones, and Skyrim. So I reviewed her first studio album (self-titled - Lindsey Stirling) released September 18, 2012.

1) "Electric Daisy Violin" - Catchy, good bassy dubstep in the background and with a memorable... chorus? I'm not a instrumental aficionado, and there's no real words to any of Lindsey Stirling's songs on this album but I know typically the part of a song that repeats is the chorus. I like the chorus is what I'm getting at here and this is a good opener to the album. 5 / 5.

2) "Zi-Zi's Journey" - A much more upbeat dance song that makes me picture Lindsey Stirling's unique hip swaying and ballet moves. Likely a blast to see performed live, but also a very good second track that lives up to the high standard of the opener. 5 / 5.

3) "Crystallize" - What starts off kind of bland builds and build until a crazy dubstep electric chorus. Wave hello to the spaceship out the window because this song is straight up futuristic and intergalactic. Those are adjectives dubsteppers use right? Right? Well, I may not know art but I know what I like! 5 / 5.

4) "Song of the Caged Bird" - As good as the first three tracks were, this is the song that brought me to the album. So sweet, tender, moving, and then invigorating. A true, heart-felt story is told without words in just a little over three minutes using nothing but a violin and a simplistic drum machine beat. The title alone hits you hard. 5 / 5.

5) "Moon Trance" - Initially I knew this was a good song, but didn't really come to fully appreciate it until I saw the Michael Jackson "Thriller" knockoff music video. A fantastic dark, graveyard tune the likes of which belongs in a Tim Burton film. While very salivating to my ears, or whatever ears do equivalent to salivate... collect wax I guess, not as memorable and catchy as the previous four tracks. Not a very far step down, but a solid 4.5 / 5.

6) "Minimal Beat" - Minimal is probably the best way to describe this track. After such a hot streak, this middle part of the album is where things start to cool down. Nothing seems to grab me about this song but it's nice background noise. Not something I'd seek out when putting in the CD but not something I'd turn off as white noise. 3 / 5.

7) "Transcendence" - While a bit more upbeat than the previous track, still fighting to get out of the mid-album trench. Feelings about this song are duplicate of the previous track. 3 / 5.

8) "Elements" - A very cool music video but still in the mid-album trench. Nothing about this track is memorable or catchy. Beautiful sure, but not something I'm going to skip through other songs to play. 3 / 5.

9) "Shadows" - Right as this track starts it becomes instantly catchy. The music video is a ton of fun as well. The overall sense of humor and nerdiness of this girl's music videos is one of the many reasons she's lovely. Still doesn't live up to the very high standard set at the beginning of the album, kind of losing it's catchiness and just being an all-out freestyling Irish jig as it goes on, but the mid-album trench is definitely in the rear-view mirror. 4.5 / 5.

10) "Spontaneous Me" - Yeah, we are definitely out of the mid-album slump. This song is exactly as the title suggests. It's playful, invigorating, exciting, and pumps you up. It's a good motivational song. Much like previous track however, can't match the very very high standard set by the first four tracks of the album. Still, very moving. 4.5 / 5.

11) "Anti-Gravity" - Dancey, but low on the dubstep and not particularly any memorable violin riffs. Are they still riffs if it's not a guitar? You know what I'm saying. Enjoyable feel-good music, but missing the "It Factor". 4 / 5.

12) "Stars Align" - Shockingly enough there are words in this song! Albeit only a few. And unfortunately, while this is a good close to the album, the song itself leaves something to be desired. It seems messy and mashed up like two different songs, because it frequently bounces between tame and amazing. When the real dubstep portion kicks in at the three minute mark things escalate big time, but it's a fairly long song at almost five minutes which can work for or against it depending on how you feel after the last several tracks. 4 / 5.

My Highlights:
"Electric Daisy Violin", "Zi-Zi's Journey", "Crystalize", and "Song of the Caged Bird".

Overall Rating:
Averaging all of the ratings together, the total score comes to 4.21, which would of course be rounded up to 4.25. However given the ratio of hits to misses, this being her first studio album, and that she's giving the majority of her songs away for free on youtube, I'd say this album deserves some super special secret reviewer big picture brownie points. Overall rating...

4.5 / 5