Lenka's "The Bright Side"

By Jesii Dee

Like free donuts when you're not expecting them, Lenka is a sweet treat that you didn’t know you needed. While you may not know her by name, if you've watched TV or Hulu at all in the last four years, you've heard her songs. The Bright Side is the fourth record from this Australian native, and she is staying true to her signature light, warm and layered pop style of her previous records. Throw out the dirty bath water pop music that’s all over the radio, and just enjoy a record that is good for your soul.

The album starts off with "The Long Way Home", laying the ground work for the candy-coated sunshine to come. The second track is the only one that confused me: "Blue Skies" lyrically is in step with the rest of the album, but the electronic instruments overtake the majority of the song and make it feel disconnected from the rest of the record.

Tracks three through five go right back to the Lenka sound: hand claps and positive vibes all around. "Free" is easily the strongest song on the record and I am hopeful it becomes a single for her. "Unique" is an anthem for teenagers (and anyone) that just needs a reminder that being true to you is the best way to live. "Get Together" rounds out this trio of songs in a way that. when paired with the first track, would make for a very strong EP.

Lenka's writing calls back to positive wordplay wizards like Jason Mraz, creating a lush landscape to wander through, with a few twists and turns here. The darker moments, such as the aptly named song "Go Deeper", breaks past the surface with more emotional weight and a sense of longing that's not heard in the other tracks. It mirrors the electronic sounds of "Blue Skies", making it feel slightly less disjointed.

The closing third of the album are a bit repetitive but just as strong; "We Are Powerful" is another sweet anthem for humans and "My Love" is pure love song poetry of devotion to her source of affection, with a twist into "Hearts Brighter", which would go great with "Blue Skies" and "Go Deeper" sound-wise. "The Bright Side" closes out the record with a strong finish, encapsulating the entire record's message: there are always two sides to life but you can chose how you see it.

Weslynn's "Dark Days"

Donald Cumming's "Out Calls Only"