Pretty Lights – A Color Map of the Sun

Posted by on July 3, 2013



There’s no beating around the block here that Pretty Lights’ latest album, A Color Map of the Sun falls nothing short of a masterpiece. This album is less about unveiling new music than it is showcasing years of hard work and artistic innovation atop the highest, most deserving pedestal. I am firm believer in the theory that if you apply yourself beyond all measures, then you will be rewarded in double the amount. Derek Vincent Smith has turned a vision he had in 2011 into a reality and even without the prior fame or promotions, or limited designed t-shirts and vinyl records, the craft that went into this album can stand alone and is almost as astounding as the actual songs produced. I could sit here and rave about it for a while, although many already have (and in a much more poetic manner), so I’m going to jump straight to the music.




Remember the first time you heard Pretty Lights? Remember how blown away you were, and then how intrigued you were, and then how you fell in love with every single one of his songs right after that? Well this album is like that. Every time you play it. Seriously. ACMOTS is the epitome of everything you ever loved about Pretty Lights and more. There’s the dark, twisted songs that strike a deep, artistic and angst-y chord deep down (“So Bright”), the happy songs that sound the way watching moving clouds feels (“Yellow Bird”), and then the bangers that knock you on your ass when you hear them live (“Let’s Get Busy” and “Prophet”).

Most importantly, there’s the standout track that brings music lovers of all types together with an inspirational line we can all sing along to, with enough instrumental breaks to give us a chance to dance along and appreciate the track before the next chorus arises: step down, “Finally Moving,” and allow me to introduce to you, “Around the Block (feat. Talib Kweli).”

Lastly, there’s what separates good artists from great ones and that’s experimentation. Songs like “Vibe Vendetta” and “One Day They’ll Know” offer curious electronic sounds and stylistic choices that aren’t textbook Pretty Lights tracks and are successful for that reason. Look, Pretty Lights made a niche in the music world and with tracks like these, he proves this niche has no boundaries and infinite possibilities.




I don’t want to take away from Smith’s spotlight about he produced, recorded, and then remixed every track on the album (creating some sort of mind bending Pretty Lights inception-collage), but I think this gives way to a much greater issue at hand: the direction of EDM. Electronic music was headed to a questionable place to which we were all wondering: will we ever be able to bring it back? There has since been a pivot, seen most notably with the return of Daft Punk, that is slowly weeding out the producers, subgenres, and other manipulative players in the game that wanted the right things for all the wrong reasons. Smith’s creative process is commendable, artistically speaking, but also for the reason of being a role model and demonstrating to the infinitely ranging (in size and age) audience of EDM that success is built upon passion, perseverance, and inner confidence. Music, namely electronic, is no longer a trend, a song you rip from YouTube because your friend told you it was cool. It is returning to its roots a respectable art, and the most delectable art at that.

I encourage you to download (but really, if you can, purchase) and appreciate ACMOTS for the thousands of reasons that it’s worth.

At times I feel, like a literal color map of the sun, Pretty Lights has the power to see things in life that us mere mortals cannot. Listen, you’ll see what I mean.

Download A Color Map of the Sun

Click here to see tour dates to experience Pretty Lights for yourself


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