Where the Shadow Ends brought a little light into my life

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Starting with a forty-eight second crescendo that crashes effortlessly into the second song, Where the Shadow Ends by BANNERS crashed effortlessly into me.

The album as a whole was atmospheric and uplifting. A positive message can be extracted from every single song; while I am not a die-hard BANNERS fan, this was distinctly different from his past songs such as “Half Light,” one my favorites.

While it begins softer and takes its time growing into the beat, “Got It In You”  demonstrates this nicely. The background vocals mesh nicely with BANNERS’ to create a feeling that mimics the serenity from exhaling after you were too caught up to realize you weren’t breathing. 

The message is simple: you can do this. 

Somehow BANNERS managed to be direct in conveying this message while still using flowery figurative language. In fact, this aspect of his lyrics is seen in many songs including “Where the Shadow Ends,” the album’s namesake.    

This touching song caught me off guard for two reasons: the copious religious nods and its electronic music. While the off-brand electro-pop intrusion is abrupt, if you aren’t staring at the lyrics like I tend to do, the ambiguous allusions could easily slip right by. Additionally, this song introduces an idea that is continually referenced—light vs darkness. 

The following song “Light Up”  was essentially a continuation of all these elements. However, instead of an emotional emptiness, it took on a more nostalgic feel like in “Too Soon.” Moreover, in “Too Soon,” BANNERS shows off the extent of his vocal cords through his lovely trembles and his falsetto. 

Though his falsetto throws a haze over his words, making them more difficult to discern, his vulnerability becomes clear. I think I connected most with the final song “Heads or Tails” because of the contrast between the way he huffed out his lower notes and the way he glided into the higher. It just felt like an ending — resolute, exhausted, and content. 

This final laidback tune is the opposite of the lively beginning songs.

The second song “Rule the World” is another one of those uplifting melodies that cleanses negativity and pessimism from you as the tide of notes gently lap at your legs that you nonchalantly hung off the dock as you stare into a sunset.   

After that embarrassed sun disappears into the neverending blue, the following song “Supercollide” is what you belt out to the moon and stars. Its mixture of a gospel chorus, a quirky yet demanding beat, and the slight growl to BANNERS’ powerful voice is impassioning and addictive. 

“Wild Love” is just as addictive. 

This track immediately raises—no, replenishes—your spirit. As the title would suggest, this tune makes you want to be wild and carefree —there’s really no other way to explain it. It gives off the same warmth and good feelings as when you drank scalding hot chocolate as a child and could feel it sliding down your throat. 

The next song “Safe” is just as fun and freeing. But, the thing about this song that stands out most to me is the way BANNERS matches the quality of his voice to the music. When the music cuts out, his voice is soft and gentle; yet when the beat adds in, his voice grows stronger which prevents the music from overpowering him. 

I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: Where the Shadow Ends is so lighthearted that you can’t help but feel good when you listen to the eleven-track and thirty-six-minute album. Though it deviates from his previous music, I love this new direction.

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