Track-by-Track: “PEP” by Lights (2022)

Written by on April 21, 2022

For fans of: CHVRCHES, flor, ODESZA, BROODS

Lights’ highly-anticipated 5th album released on Apr. 1. Releasing the bold “Prodigal Daughter” as PEP’s first single, the singer claims her spot back as electropop’s hottest.

Fueled by Ramen

1. “Beside Myself”

The album first starts with a light (ha!) and airy tune, differing from most of the album. According to the singer, the song is about losing a loved one. The chorus goes:

Don’t leave me hanging / Waiting for something / Believing in nothing / With nobody else / Body is aching / Dreaming and waking / Don’t leave me waiting / Don’t leave me here / Beside myself

2. “In My Head” (ft. Josh Dun)

The second track is the album’s fourth single, which features Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots. As the chorus makes it clear, the song is about “dancing to the beat of your own drum”. This track sets the tone of the album: upbeat and daring.

3. “Prodigal Daughter”

The third track is, as the singer explains, about “religious deconstruction” (according to Spotify). Synth and bass-driven, it truly gives the feeling of Lights fighting her old ways and coming back.

4. “Salt and Vinegar”

The fourth track is the album’s third single. With guitar and bass set as the core of the song, Lights says the song was actually a mix of two different songs she was working on, according to Spotify. The chorus is:

You’re angry, I’m bitter / You and me make a dangerous mixture / Summoned the devil now, we can’t get rid of her / We go together like salt and vinegar

5. “Money In the Bag” (ft. Kiesza)

Produced by Lights herself, this sultry track features Kiesza on bass and vocals. Easily one of the best songs off the album with the beat and the fantastic vocals between the two singers. The chorus goes as follows:

Hey (Put the money in the bag) / Man, you’re making me feel so bad / (Put the money in the bag) / Man, you’re making me feel so bad / (This is a stick up, put the money in the bag)

6. “Jaws”

Another song produced by herself, Lights recorded actual tongue clicks for use in the chorus. A dream-pop sounding song with bold lyrics, the chorus goes:

Oh, she got claws / F**k it, she got jaws / She got her guns out, boots up, no bras / Don’t trust nobody / Baby, we’re outlaws / Rebel with a cause / Oh, she got jaws / Oh, she got jaws

7. “Rent”

A little more on the mellow side of the album, “Rent” is full of metaphors for someone you think about a lot, but don’t want to.

I keep a checklist of offenses, ooh / I stay awake to put up fences / If you wanna live in my head, you gotta pay the expenses / And honey, you can’t afford what the rent is

8. “Sparky”

Slowly going back to the more alternative side, this alt-J-esque track reels you in.

It’s three in the morning, and I’m coming in hot (ooh) / Back in the city, and I’m here for the jackpot / You wanna start a fire? / You can’t tell me nothing, you don’t wanna start me / If I pipe up, it’s gonna be sparky, you know / I wanna start a fire / We’re gonna start a fire

9. “Real Thing” (ft. Elohim)

As the first single and probably the best song off “PEP”, track nine is a classic electronica/electro-pop song. With the synth, backing vocals, and catchy lyrics, what’s not to love?

10. “Easy Money”

A happy-go-lucky (maybe even…peppy?) song off the album. This one will be stuck in your head all day after just listening once.

11. “Okay Okay”

Track 11 seems to be a fan favorite, as it’s second most streamed song on Spotify right now. The singer says the lyric “I always say I’m the happiest sad girl you’ll ever meet” defines the album overall.

12. “Voices Carry”

Lights becomes vulnerable with this ballad. Mostly consisting of keys, the chorus goes:

It’s hard to win / When nobody wanna listen / But voices carry / Voices carry / It’s hard to change / When everyone wanna stay the same / But voices carry / Voices carry

13. “Grip”

The most synth-heavy song on the album, “Grip” wraps up the album. With haunting vocals, “PEP” comes to a close.

Overall, “PEP” is a great piece of work. Lights steps out and fully emerges into another brand, and it’s totally working for her. It clearly tells the story of working on yourself and finding yourself again after hardships–in the most upbeat way.

  • Phoebe Brooke

    I am a senior at UH majoring in Journalism with a minor in Marketing. My goal as a writer is show music's impact on our society. Besides music, I am also passionate about neurodiversity and mental health awareness.

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