“Baby I’m back,” Lights declares over and over throughout “Prodigal Daughter”, the third track on her long-awaited fifth full-length album, PEP. Five years removed from her 2017 full-length, Skin & Earth, the celebratory album has been a long time in the making, and it was well worth waiting for. Her first proper album in five years, PEP releases all of the pent-up energy that has been building over her time away, resulting in thirteen flawless, genre-bending tracks.
PEP finds Lights at her most confident and comfortable yet, and that doesn’t mean that the album feels stagnant. Instead, no two songs on PEP sound the same. While the stunning cinematic opener, “Beside Myself” serves as the perfect reintroduction to Lights, “In My Head” finds her reuniting with twenty one pilots’ Josh Dun for a drum and bass heavy track that oozes confidence, which transitions perfectly into “Prodigal Daughter”. The funky “Salt and Vinegar” contrasts beautifully with the EDM-leaning “Money In The Bag”, featuring Kiesza while “Jaws” is a dreamy, empowering self-love anthem.
Throughout the entirety of PEP, Lights weaves in and out of different genres, sounds and moods with ease, and all without making the album feel choppy, meandering or forced in any way. A standout, “Rent” finds her exploring a more retro 80’s synth-pop inspired sound while the sultry “Sparky” and dreamy “Real Thing” featuring Elohim couldn’t feel more different. Some of the album’s most epic songs come at the end, too, with the full-on pop track, “Easy Money” transitioning into “Okay Okay,” which finds Lights declaring, “I always say I’m the happiest sad girl you’ll ever meet,” over catchy-as-hell guitar and synth before everything comes to a head on the anthemic penultimate track, “Voices Carry”.
Track after track, Lights’ radiant vocals, lyrically vulnerability and attitude shine though on PEP, so it comes as no surprise that she effortlessly adapts to any sound or genre thrown her way. PEP is a triumphant return for Lights, proving that she still has countless tricks up her sleeve.