Lindsey Stirling’s ‘Artemis’ is a masterpiece of fantasy-infused beauty (Album Review)
From an ode to the goddess of the moon to a collaboration with Amy Lee, ‘Artemis’ manages to encapsulate everything we know and love about Lindsey Stirling – and then some. With 11 million YouTube subscribers, a dedicated fanbase and a world tour on the cards, Lindsey Stirling is more than just a cult favourite. Her fifth album, ‘Artemis’, proves that she’s a magical gem in the modern age of music. ‘Artemis’ opens with ‘Underground’; a dramatic track with subtle dance vibes that thunder throughout the track like a thumping heartbeat. The track builds with tension as it goes on, arriving at a grand crescendo that doesn’t disappoint. In line with the music video and the album cover, there’s an urban, gritty feel to this track – with a catchy hook that you’ll find yourself humming over and over again. The title track is more quintessential Lindsey; albeit through the veil of grander themes. An ode to the celestial goddess of the moon – and a track that shaped the concept of the entire album – it’s an enchanting journey that makes you want to journey to Middle-Earth and disappear amongst the trees. It’s a rare thing for an artist to conjure up such powerful imagery in the listeners’ mind; but that’s the thing about Lindsey’s music: It encapsulates imagery, imagination and storytelling, all captured in 3-minute tracks. It truly is something special. The collab with Amy Lee – ‘Love Goes On And On’ – doesn’t disappoint. Instead of feeling like a violin-based track with an awkwardly-placed vocal stem, Amy’s vocals and Lindsey’s instrument feel like an actual duet. They compliment each other beautifully, before arriving at a grand musical finale. ‘Masquerade’ just does things to me. The second I heard the track I immediately had to replay it (and I will continue to do so, another 8 to 10 times…) From the quirky intro reminiscent of ‘Shatter Me’, the track builds into a grand classic dance number – with a biting edge. It conjures up imagery of grand castles and sweeping ball gowns – all wrapped up through the guise of some steampunk-esque imagery. As soon as that fade-out rolls in, you’re already wanting to press replay to relisten to the dramatic, yet fantastical, track. ‘Sleepwalking’, too, conjures up vivid images: a lone girl wandering through the clouds themselves, the stars doing their endless dance as Lindsey does so herself. With a heavier beat, Lindsey’s violin still shines through – a perfect balance of electronics and the classic instrument. And that is what we’ve all come to know and love about Lindsey’s magical musings. It’s pretty neat having two versions of ‘The Upside’ – one with Elle King’s feature, and one without. It’s interesting to see how the track was built, replacing vocals with Lindsey’s signature instrument. Both are effective, it just depends on which version tickles your fancy. You can literally hear the progression in the album, through the carefully crafted-with-love tunes. By the time you reach ‘Guardian’ on the latter side of the record, you’re worlds away from the dark undertones of ‘Underground’. It’s as if Lindsey’s shed her darkness; watching the arising sun to banish away the night. The moon goddess has set, and it’s now welcoming in brighter, happier days. The album closer (discounting ‘The Upside’ feature), ‘Aurora’, is the perfect end to your journey with Lindsey. It’s like the scene at the end of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, where Frodo sails off to pastures new. There’s a happiness to be found here, for sure, but a sadness, too. One that seeps in with the rolling credits of your favourite movie. It paints an image of jovial dancers, strutting across tables, as the sun set over the kingdom of ‘Artemis’. Even if you’re not interested in classical music, ‘Artemis’ still offers something to the casual listener. From the pop-infused ‘Upside’, to the movie-esque ‘Underground’, there’s a little splash of classical meeting modern – and its a mix that merges together seamlessly. There’s a little disconnect in terms of the visuals from the album – bringing in the ethereal ‘Artemis’, goddess of the moon, with the cyberpunk ‘Underground’ vibe and anime-based album art is a merging of two very different vibes – urban fantasy meeting classic, high fantasy. But that’s the entire point. Lindsey is bridging the two sonically – the classic violin meets electronic-infused tracks – and it’s represented in the way she dishes the album up to us. And it’s genius. The album never flags or falters, nor does it grow tiresome. There’s enough of a mix between the tracks to keep things fresh over the 13 tracks, a mix of vocals, electronic-infused beats and classic violin to keep the record from ever going stale. There’s a perfect blend of mellow, ethereal sounding tunes mixed with upbeat bangers. It’s a beautifully crafted album – filled with emotion and care. It’s perfect music to watch the arising sun, or to write to, or to take a walk in nature in or – well, it suits any need, really. Lindsey really has captured something special. Not just with this album, but with her four prior, too. There’s an essence that just seeps out of the music and into your very soul. For more on Lindsey Stirling check out my review of her ‘Artemis’ tour! And don’t forget to give me a follow on Twitter! For more on music, check out my review of Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’. Or, find out everything we know about Lady Gaga’s upcoming album. Related