Lindsey Stirling's newest album brings Stirling back to her earlier roots with quirky and upbeat tracks.
Three years after the release of her last album Brave Enough violinist and composer Lindsey Stirling presented another anthology of musical tracks in Artemis, which was released on September 6th. The album itself consists of thirteen tracks ranging from slower ethereal pieces to upbeat and soaring pieces with the vocals to match. Stirling said in interviews that the album was written from a place of happiness when compared to Brave Enough, which she was writing during a period where she lost both close friend Gavi and her father. The songs in Artemis have a much more positive feel; rather than asking “why is this going wrong” it instead gets listeners to ask “where can I go next”.
The album feels like Stirling is going back to her roots, that both the appearance of the album art as well as its sound reminds long-time fans of her self-titled album and early days of YouTube fame.
The first single and announcement track ‘Underground’ opens the album, a punchy number that reminds me somewhat of ‘Heist’ from her second album (Shatter Me). It’s a track that gives you energy, leading perfectly into the title track ‘Artemis’. Parts feel ethereal as if paying homage to the Goddess that the album is named after, particularly in its titular track. It reveals a more mystical side, contrasting with the fast-paced breaks; Stirling says in the Behind The Scenes for its music video that she tried to show both sides of Artemis the Goddess, both the serene moon, but also the fast-paced huntress.
Fast-paced tracks bookend the album, while it’s slower more contemplative songs are balanced in the middle. This includes the tracks involving vocals. An element which I was not particularly fond of in Brave Enough was the overwhelming amount of featured vocalists – it made the album as a whole feel disjointed and simply stuck together. With only two tracks with featured vocalists, and Lindsey Stirling herself performing several times, I don’t get this impression from her latest. Songs flow together much more and tell a more complete story.
Amy Lee from Evanescence provides the vocals for ‘Love Goes On and On’ which is slower than most of the other tracks, at least at first. It builds as the melody goes on, becoming powerful and showcasing the full beauty behind Lee’s musical talent. Linking it back to the album’s concept around the Goddess Artemis shows us another side of her, a side that is proud and defiant – that she, and by extension we “feel strong enough to keep dreaming”.
‘Masquerade’ is different, but only the in way that it feels to invite its own setting; if the album is more of a celtic-feel as some have said, ‘Masquerade’ is a modern take on a Georgian ballroom piece. While listening I could imagine a room of Lords and Ladies in large ballgowns dancing in sequence – the kind that you see in historical dramas. It is by far my favourite track on the album.
‘The Upside’ has two different versions on the standard release, and both show the same melody in its two interpretations. There’s a video on YouTube that plays both concurrently (one playing in each headphone) and they blend together beautifully. The version which features solely the violin is more complex in its melodies, but the vocals add a layer of intrigue to the song. Its words are something we can take away, that even if we “don’t know if [we’re] the rightside up/ just know that [we]won’t give up.”
Overall, Artemis is a wonderful addition to Stirling’s discography, and as someone with tickets to her London show in October, I cannot wait to hear some of these pieces performed live.
Lindsey Stirling’s Artemis is out now via BMG.