You’re likely to find more experimentation and original thought in a fourth grade science fair project than Lifehouse’s latest album “Smoke & Mirrors.” For all intents and purposes, the album is simply an older Lifehouse album with a new title. There are no new tricks, no sense of innovation and nothing that can really excite the listener and make them actually want to listen to the songs.
You’re getting exactly what you’re paying for when you purchase this album. “Smoke & Mirrors” is what you would expect from a mainstream, radio-ready pop-rock band. “Smoke & Mirrors” is not really good and it’s not really bad, but it’s not worth your time to contemplate and evaluate the quality of its songs.
This is not to say that Lifehouse hasn’t had some good singles in the past. There is a reason why most people can still sing along to “Hanging By a Moment” off their 2000 album, “No Name Face” and why “You and Me” was the ninth best-selling single of 2005.
“Smokes & Mirrors” is conspicuously lacking the same potential and vivacity that their previous singles possessed. One tracks is actually one of their older songs, “From Where You Are,” which was released in 2007.
As if plopping a three-year-old song in the middle of the album wasn’t bad enough, the only attempt they made at refurbishing the song was by adding a slight echo effect here and there, which only makes you wonder if they’re just lazy or if the album was produced with a severe case of writer’s block.
The tracks simply don’t have what it takes to inspire and captivate. It makes you wonder whether any real artistic intent went into creating these tracks, or if they were just created by some sort of musical assembly line with the sole purpose of making songs that will be aired on MTV and hit music stations, if that.
“Smoke & Mirrors” is modern day elevator music. It’s true that once you enter the mainstream music world, there are a number of constrictions that hold you back from true artistic expression, but bands like the Fray, Train and Dave Matthews Band prove that there is room for individuality if you actually try, which seems to be the main problem with this album: a basic lack of effort.
Emily Lake can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.