Album Review || Illenium – Awake

Illenium Awake
Illenium’s new album Awake may be one of the best albums of the year!

Illenium’s latest album, Awake, is everything I could’ve asked for and more–I can’t stop listening! Thirteen tracks of pure Illenium greatness come together for an album that will impress you start to finish. His unprecedented production combined with the voices of incredible vocalists make for some of the most beautiful music you’ll hear all year. If you listen to the album start to finish, it tells a sincere story of heartbreak, beginning with tracks that tell of hurt and struggle, yet ending triumphantly as he finds his way back to love.

Since the first time I saw Illenium in a small bar in his hometown of San Francisco in 2016, I have seen him grow to reach incredible heights. It’s been inspiring to watch him go from that small intimate venue to playing primetime slots at massive festivals like EDC Las Vegas.

Illenium is a beloved favorite of many dance music lovers, myself included. He somehow continues to get better and better as time goes on, creating some of the most passionate and euphoric melodic bass music I have ever heard. His music truly makes you feel something–whether it be happiness, hurt, hope, or love, Illenium has found a way to elicit real emotion with his music, a talent that most every artist strives for.

Stream Illenium – Awake on Spotify:

Purchase or Download Awake here

The Album begins in the best possible way with the heartfelt track “Needed You”

“Needed You” begins with a grand, symphonic intro, then is joined by Dia Frampton’s eery vocals and soft piano chords. The track builds as Dia gains momentum, putting me on the edge of my seat waiting for the release. The drop that finally hits is bittersweet, the chords are verging on euphoric but with an overlying tinge of sadness. It portrays looking back on all that could’ve been–she could’ve reached such heights–if you’d been there.

“Free Fall” tells the sweet story of falling in love with an epic melodic drop.

Feel-good guitar and sweet vocals characterize this ecstatic track. The vocalist RUNN hits some insanely beautiful high notes, and the feelsy drop with excited and hopeful undertones perfectly paints the beauty of falling in love. “Free Fall” is nothing but joyous; it’s pure melodic goodness.

“Leaving” delineates the victorious relief that comes with finally letting go.

“Leaving” starts off on a sad, hurting note–a disappointing phone call from his girlfriend. The verses of “Leaving” express the feelings of torment and heartbreak, but as the track builds, his resolve to leave grows. The lyrics “I’m letting go of all I’ve ever known” precede a euphoric drop. You can sense the emotion and hardship within the melody, but what really shines through is the unrelenting, empowering truth that leaving is the right choice. The grandiose feeling of freedom is tangible.

“Lost” shows a little more of Illenium’s dubstep side.

Emilie Brandt proves to be another incredible vocalist in “Lost,” passionately bringing home the feeling of trying to find yourself after coming out of a serious relationship. The drop is the most dubstep-oriented out of the tracks, the kicks perfectly portraying the struggles and barriers you must overcome when you’re feeling lost, and the exhilaration when you succeed.

“Beautiful Creatures” is my favorite track of the album, that drop will give you chills.

This one is really something special. From the start, the track is upbeat and optimistic–after going through all that hurt and heartbreak he’s come to the realization that “we are all beautiful creatures.” The drop that follows is different from any I’ve previously heard from Illenium, and I absolutely love it. It’s invariably joyous and exquisite, sounding as if these angelic creatures are singing in radiant unison.

Above are just a few of my favorite tracks, but I can say with confidence that the entire album is a work of art.

I think any Illenium fan will be ecstatic after listening to Awake; it’s a perfect manifestation of the hard-hitting, emotional sound that Illenium has perfected. Many have already heard and loved his pre-released singles like “Crawl Outta Love” and “Sound of Walking Away,” and the new tracks are on par if not better. Listen to Awake all the way through and let it take you on the journey of love and heartbreak.

Illenium – Awake Tracklist:
  1. Needed You (feat. Dia Frampton) (5:05)
  2. Craw Outta Love (feat. Annika Wells) (4:02)
  3. No Time Like Now (2:03)
  4. Free Fall (feat. RUNN) (3:25)
  5. Where’d You Go – with Said the Sky (3:04)
  6. Fractures (feat. Nevve) (4:05)
  7. Leaving (3:54)
  8. Lost (feat. Emilie Brandt) (3:20)
  9. Sound of Walking Away – with Kerli (4:13)
  10. Taking Me Higher (2:44)
  11. Feel Good (feat. Daya) (4:08)
  12. Beautiful Creatures (feat. MAX) (4:00)
  13. Let You Go (feat. Ember Island) (3:04)

See Illenium in a city near you! Info on his Awake Tour can be found here!

Follow Illenium on Social Media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Instagram | YouTube

Grace has been listening to electronic music ever since she tagged along with her friends to EDC Las Vegas 2014. She fell in love with the music and the culture under the Electric Sky, and she hasn't been able to get enough of it ever since. Her favorite artists include Porter Robinson, Adventure Club, Kaskade, ODESZA, Jai Wolf, Armin Van Buuren, Above & Beyond, and Chris Lake. Grace seeks out her favorite genres of bass, house, trance, and dubstep at music festivals across California and beyond. Her top festivals to date are EDC Las Vegas, Lightning in a Bottle, SnowGlobe, and ASOT Utrecht, and she hopes to attend countless more in the future. While pursuing her musical interests, she is also a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.