Current Top Sellers
Please check out our used vinyl selecton on discogs!View Now
How was your experience on the new Ear Candy Music?Let us know!
In 2018 Illenium inked a deal with Universal Music subsidiary Astralwerks and began releasing a new batch of well-received singles. Now to cap it all off comes Ascend, his third full-length album, which collects those singles as well as about a dozen new tracks. An accompanying tour, overseen by big-time production company AEG Presents, will see Illenium playing venues such as Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center. Ascend is quite an appropriate title for someone whose star is undoubtedly rising.
Much of Illenium's widespread appeal is rooted in his unique ability to present modern dubstep and bass music with a deep melodicism and knack for hooks. Other artists are doing the same thing, but Miller has a knack for making it sound organic and sincere. Many of his songs use soft-loud dynamics along with featured guests who deliver ultra-earnest vocals and lyrics. The result sounds both personal and universal, intimate, and anthemic. If that sounds like emo music, it is—only reinvented with the latest technology, beats, and rhythms. And Ascend is Illenium's most emo album yet.
At 17 tracks, Ascend is packed with songs, packed with singles, and packed with featured artists, from unsigned singer-songwriters to established acts to former America's Got Talent and American Idol contestants. Perhaps inevitably, several of those artists are fellow Universal Music/Interscope signees. All this makes Ascend seem more like a compilation than an album. But that is pretty common for EDM artists and isn't really a problem, especially when the music is so consistent in sound and feel.
Illenium tracks tend to start with a delicate, plaintive guitar riff, building with vocals and martial drums to the instrumental drop. More than a few—actually, most – of the songs on Ascend follow this pattern, with different modulations of volume and intensity. It's all very pretty, stark, and heartfelt. The arrangement also tends to rely on the vocalists to give tracks their unique identities and help them stand out. When it works well, it results in something like recent single "Good Things Fall Apart". With crooner Jon Bellion sounding genuinely hurt and heartbroken, and a chorus rather than a drop, it is one of Illenium's best, most fully-realized tracks to date. "That's Why" features another crooner in the unsigned Goldn, along with an ethereal, angelic drop.
Some tracks, like "All Together" featuring Oekiin and "Every Piece of Me" featuring Echos, go even darker and forgo the crescendo altogether. These are bettered by "Sad Songs", a collaboration with longtime Illenium cohort Said the Sky. A mostly acoustic number with a hopeful vocal from Annika Wells, it finds balance with a toned-down drop at the very end.
As something of a counterpoint to the melancholy, there are some genuine pop moments. The Chainsmokers/Lennon Stella collaboration, "Take Away", sounds like the effortless smash hit the Chainsmokers have been wanting to write since "Closer". Despite a lackluster drop and lyrics that compare a relationship to carry-out food, it works well enough. "Crashing", with Bahari, is better pop, though. With the tagline, "I got myself too drunk on you to drive", it wears its hokeyness on its sleeve country-style, and Miller follows suit with a fun, exhilarating drop.
All the ballads and pop songs might make the pair of edgier, dubstep-influenced tracks seem like throw-ins meant to appease a certain audience. But to dismiss the brooding "Blood", with a weighty turn from Irish singer Foy Vance, and the post-rock chug of "Gorgeous" with Bipolar Sunshine, would be to miss out on two of the album's more unique highlights.
The intersection where cult stardom meets mainstream acceptance is a dangerous one, but it is one most artists can only hope to approach. It seems like Ascend is destined to be the big success that, in turn, allows Illenium to take more risks in the future.
|1||–ILLENIUM||I Care (Intro)||0:33|
|2||–ILLENIUM & Georgia Ku||Hold On||3:55|
|3||–ILLENIUM & Jon Bellion||Good Things Fall Apart||3:36|
|4||–ILLENIUM & Goldn||That's Why||4:12|
|5||–ILLENIUM & Foy Vance||Blood||4:08|
|6||–ILLENIUM||Take You Down||3:41|
|7||–ILLENIUM & Oekiin||All Together||3:58|
|9||–ILLENIUM & Anna Clendening||Broken Ones||3:18|
|10||–ILLENIUM & ECHOS (3)||Every Piece Of Me||3:43|
|11||–ILLENIUM & The Chainsmokers||Takeaway||3:29|
|12||–ILLENIUM, Said The Sky & Annika Wells||Sad Songs||3:30|
|14||–ILLENIUM & X Ambassadors||In Your Arms||3:40|
|15||–ILLENIUM, Bipolar Sunshine & Blanke (2)||Gorgeous||4:37|
|16||–ILLENIUM||Angel (Lonely Prelude)||0:41|
|17||–ILLENIUM & Chandler Leighton||Lonely||4:30|
Shipping & Returns
You may return most new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. We'll also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error (you received an incorrect or defective item, etc.).
You should expect to receive your refund within four weeks of giving your package to the return shipper, however, in many cases you will receive a refund more quickly. This time period includes the transit time for us to receive your return from the shipper (5 to 10 business days), the time it takes us to process your return once we receive it (3 to 5 business days), and the time it takes your bank to process our refund request (5 to 10 business days).
If you need to return an item, simply login to your account, view the order using the "Complete Orders" link under the My Account menu and click the Return Item(s) button. We'll notify you via e-mail of your refund once we've received and processed the returned item.
We can ship to virtually any address in the world. Note that there are restrictions on some products, and some products cannot be shipped to international destinations.
When you place an order, we will estimate shipping and delivery dates for you based on the availability of your items and the shipping options you choose. Depending on the shipping provider you choose, shipping date estimates may appear on the shipping quotes page.
Please also note that the shipping rates for many items we sell are weight-based. The weight of any such item can be found on its detail page. To reflect the policies of the shipping companies we use, all weights will be rounded up to the next full pound.