Lindsey Stirling is one of my favorite artists, hands down. I’ve been a fan ever since she started posting YouTube videos of her violin renditions of current pop songs and medleys of Legend of Zelda and Lord of the Rings. Her quirky attitude and whimsical outfits were what first drew me in, aside from her phenomenal violin playing and her ability to transcend genres.
The major difference between her new album, Brave Enough, and her last two are the amount of guest singers that appear on its tracks. Solo tracks are outweighed by those with other artists singing. When I first saw this, I was nervous. Her sound hasn’t changed dramatically since her burst into popularity, and I worried she was going to sound off. However in many of these collaborative cases, Stirling is not playing to just be background noise. The vocals are there to enhance her violin playing, and take a backseat to talents.
“Brave Enough”, which features Christina Perri, is one of my favorites. The balance between lyrics and instrumentals is perfect, and lives up to the name of the song being used for the album title. The pizzicato (the plucking of the violin string) is ever so audible and adds depth to the repeated riff. “Don’t Let This Feeling ” which features Weezer singer Rivers Cuomo and rapper Lecae, is especially catchy, as is “Those Days” featuring country stars Dan + Shay. At the same time, both songs completely contrast one another.
The added variety was a surprising change from her past albums and a welcome one, too. Looking back, her first self-titled album had songs that tended to blend together. More often than not, I was able to differentiate “Crystallize” or “Minimal Beat”, but there were still those off chances. That’s all changed though. Fast and slow tempo songs are included, as well as additional instruments-the heavy influence of electronic music was slowly weeded out, but enough has remained to help her retain her original identity. “The Arena” is a prime example of this, as is “The Phoenix”.
“Gavi’s Song” is a slower, gentler piece that shows a more classical and softer side of Stirling’s repertoire. It’s another testament to the mixture of genres that show up in this album. Personally, the album would’ve been even better if another song like this one was included. We often see a more upbeat side of playing, and her skill at vibrato and more toned down yet impressive songs are things not often shown. Overall, Brave Enough is a remarkable follow up to Shatter Me, and certainly has made me anticipate her next album.