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Album review: Phillip Phillips stays authentic in Behind the Light

Some might recognize the name Phillip Phillips from the PNE this summer, where he performed live. Others might recognize him from American Idol, where he came out on top back in 2012.

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By Jasmine Sprangers (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: September 24, 2014

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Some might recognize the name Phillip Phillips from the PNE this summer, where he performed live. Others might recognize him from American Idol, where he came out on top back in 2012. Regardless, if you listen to Sonic, the Hawk, the Beat, or even Star FM, you’ve probably heard his hits “Home,” “Gone Gone Gone,” and “Raging Fire.”

With a unique and authentic voice (none of this Auto-Tune), his music stands out from the crowd. It’s fresh, true, and soothing, yet it also has an upbeat tone to it — great music for zoning out. 

Behind the Light is Phillips’ second album and was released in May. It has more of an edgy pop-rock feel to it compared to his first album, The World from the Side of the Moon, which had a softer folk-rock tone to it, and is a more inspirational and personal album. While the newer album still has Phillips’ sound, it is marked by a different tone, a faster pace, and added strings.

Behind the Light almost seems dedicated to someone he has loved. Themes about life lessons, imperfection, and little faults are woven throughout. Behind the Light is a mixture of sounds: slow and mellow with guitar and soft strings have a calming effect. A few of the songs (“Raging Fire,” “Searchlight”) have a faster tempo, though, and are a bit more lively — faster, stronger tones and an undertone of drums makes them edgy.

“Unpack Your Heart” is one of my personal favourites. The balance between the strings, the guitar, and the lyrics make for an upbeat, hopeful, and happy song. It’s about acceptance, rough times, and loving someone despite their sometimes not-so-lovely personality traits. People are people, and little faults can be forgotten. 

“Searchlight” is one of the more romantic songs: “There’s a fire in me that’s still burning/I’m sending out searchlights shining out ‘til I find you.” It’s one of those belt-it-out-in-the-car, feel-happy songs.

All in all, Behind the Light has awesome, meaningful lyrics and a great sound overall. Personally, I prefer the original sound that came along with The World from the Side of the Moon, and was a little shocked by the new sound in Behind the Light, but it’s still a great album. It makes you want to be the girl he’s writing the songs to. 

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