Lido’s ‘Everything’ is an ambitious, exhilarating debut [Album Review]
If there’s one thing that we’ve all come to expect from Peder Losnegård, the Norwegian singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist better known as Lido, it’s that he refuses to be bound by convention.
After making a name for himself with unorthodox remixes for artists like Zhu and BANKS and the spectacular I Love You EP, Lido has continued to evolve through collaborative projects like Superspeed, The Passion Project, and experimental remixing like The Life of Peder. So, when he announced his debut album back in April, and its ambitious title Everything, fans were understandably quite excited to see what Lido would do next.
Fans can rest assured, the production on the album is some of the most adventurous and exciting of the year. A gifted pianist and drummer, Lido’s uniquely blistering musicality is on full display in Everything. The album’s arrangements are as complex and layered as an orchestral score, full of so many variations, shifting motifs, and flourishes that one can listen to these songs a dozen times and still pick out details they missed the last time.
The producer’s ingenuity is on full display and aspects of Everything–the introductory verse of ‘Citi Bike,” for example, which is made up of dozens of different vocal cuts and clips, all pitched and panned around–strike the listener as the kinds of things that no other producer would even think of attempting.
Lido’s manifold influences, from gospel to hip hop, R&B to electronica, blend beautifully on the record. The opening strings and chimes of “Angel” drift back and forth into ethereal R&B before crashing headfirst into a titanic future bass climax of piercing synths and crunchy horn stabs. Not one piece is dissonant or out of place. It gives the album a sound that’s at once familiar and refreshingly singular.
Songs, like the spectacular “Murder,” are built around tried and true elements: 808’s, chopped-up and pitched-around vocal samples, shimmering sawtooth synth chords, but all are filtered through Lido’s eclectic sensibilities and augmented with a persistent, alluring sense of rhythm and forward movement which imbues them with new, exciting life.
With Everything, Lido utilizes the album as a form. From the screaming synths of curtain-raiser “Catharsis,” to the bombastic fireworks of “Crazy,” to the haunting organ flutters and gentle groove of standout track “Only One,” the energy and dynamics of the album shift from moment to moment with ease. Samples and melodic ideas are employed across multiple songs, taking on new and layered meanings in their changing contexts like repeated lines in a villanelle.
That an album as ambitious as Everything should fail to achieve the full scope and promise of its title is nearly inevitable. Described by Lido himself as something of a concept album detailing the fallout of a nasty breakup, the album is full of emotional turmoil. This turmoil manifests itself most evidently, and at times, most exhaustingly, in Lido’s lyrics, which aim for vulnerability but often fall somewhere between the melodramatic and the downright absurd (“I would die if you would dye your hair”).
This tendency pervades the LP. It lurks in the background, corroding its strengths, particularly on the near-preposterous five minute piano and vocal solo “You Lost Your Keys.” The album is also problematized by the narrator’s persisting sense of ownership of the female character. The narrative does little to make her seem like more than a canvas for the speaker’s projections of desire and angst.
It’s an album that has its share of rough edges and messiness, and perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps Everything uses its moments of self-indulgence to communicate the fracturing and irrational nature of heartbreak. And underneath all the lyrical reaches and technical virtuosity, there are real moments of emotional intimacy here, moments when it transcends its premise and achieves genuine greatness. It is enormously exciting to see an artist willing to bend the rules and take risks the way Lido does with this album, and, for the most part, he triumphs in grand fashion.
Lido’s ‘Everything’ is available to stream now on Spotify.