Illenium’s brand new album, Ascend, goes above and beyond an electronic album and provides a listening experience that spans multiple genres.
In the music world, there’s a fine balance between releasing music and releasing too much music. You want to keep your listeners engaged and remain relevant in the scene, but also not over-saturate yourself and your sound. Most artists burn out with a hectic release schedule and some fanbases even fizzle out. There are, however, artists that can maintain this in perfect harmony and Illenium is one of these artists – and that has never been clearer than with his new album, Ascend.
Over the past few years, Illenium has had constant releases that have gained millions of plays all while touring consistently too and now he presents us with a brand new album. His third studio album, Ascend, continues this momentum and gives his fanbase of “illenials” 17 fresh Illenium tracks to listen to, with each track showcasing a wide range of emotions and musical genres as well.
Stream or purchase Ascend on your favorite platform, and read on for some of my favorite tracks on the album!
Listen to Ascend by Illenium on Spotify:
This 17-track album is full of songs that embody the highs and lows of life, which makes it so relatable to everyone.
Ascend is 17 tracks deep, which may seem like a lot to sift through. However, just about everyone can find a track or two on this album that resonates with them and meets their music tastes. Illenium did a great job of providing the right amount of variety while also staying true to his own sound. Additionally, each track flows into the next seamlessly, making for an immersive album listening experience from start to finish!
The first two tracks on the album, “Hold On” featuring vocalist Georgia Ku and “Good Things Fall Apart” featuring Jon Bellion start things off on the right foot. They give listeners the Illenium that have grown to love over the past few years. Both songs follow similar formats – they begin with lush vocals from the respective vocalists and then drop into Illenium’s trademark synth and drum-heavy drops. They kick the album off in a familiar way for his listeners.
Ascend’s fifth track, “Blood” came as a delightful surprise to me.
If you have been to an Illenium set then you know his live sets are surprisingly bass-heavy. I’m all for this as it provides a stark contrast to Illenium’s more down-tempo studio tunes. When I heard “Blood“, the fifth track off Ascend, I was ecstatic to finally hear Illenium release a bass-heavy tune. With vocals from Foy Vance and an ominous intro from Illenium, “Blood” paints this picture of sticking it out with someone no matter what they are going through. This all culminates on the heavy drop in the song, something that will easily make you want to headbang.
Adding to the diversity in tunes off the album are “Crashing” and “Takeaway”, two feel-good tunes.
Tracks eight and eleven off Ascend provide two pop-infused dance tunes that serve as a break between the other tracks in the album that showcase raw emotion. “Crashing” and “Takeaway” are both songs that have been previously released as singles. “Crashing” features some truly awesome vocals from Bahari along with probably one of the catchiest beats I’ve heard Illenium make. Following that is “Takeaway“, a collaboration between Illenium and The Chainsmokers and vocalist Lennon Stella. As with any Chainsmokers song, and this one is no exception, it’s a surefire radio hit and has a future-bass influenced melody that is hard to get out of your head.
“Sad Songs“, a collab with Said The Sky and vocalist Anikka Wells, is a standout track off the album. It’s a musical journey that begins with soft guitar chords and Annika’s beautiful voice. As with most Illenium songs, it’s embodied with raw emotion and you can hear the sadness through the song. It eventually builds up and drops around two and a half minutes into a quality drop that shows the synergy between both Illenium and Said the Sky, two people who have both toured and collaborated together in the past.
Rounding out this album with a bang is “Gorgeous”.
As the album comes to an end, Illenium decided to throw in “Gorgeous“, a collab between Bipolar Sunshine and Blanke. When I saw Blanke was a part of this track, I had hopes it would be an explosive tune, and it did not disappoint in any way. The tune showcases Bipolar Sunshine’s voice over heavy guitar riffs on the intro and drops into a masterfully done drop! It’s heavy and brimming with bass and is everything I needed in a track that was towards the end of the album.
Overall, this album is another solid body of work for Illenium and I’m sure fans will enjoy hearing these songs played live on his upcoming Ascend tour.
Illenium – Ascend – Tracklist:
- I Care (Intro)
- Hold On (feat. Georgia Ku)
- Good Things Fall Apart (with Jon Bellion)
- That’s Why (feat. GOLDN)
- Blood (feat. Foy Vance)
- Take You Down
- All Together (feat. Oekiin)
- Crashing (feat. Bahari)
- Broken Ones (feat. Anna Clendening)
- Every Piece of Me (feat. Echos)
- Takeaway (feat. Lennon Stella with The Chainsmokers)
- Sad Songs (feat. Annika Wells with Said The Sky)
- Pray (feat. Kameron Alexander)
- In Your Arms with X Ambassadors
- Gorgeous (feat. Bipolar Sunshine with Blanke)
- Angel (Lonely Prelude)
- Lonely (feat. Chandler Leighton)