Illenium’s popularity increases with every album and EP he has released since he began his career in 2013, having recently won the award for “Best Male Artist” at the 2019 International Dance Music Awards. His previous two albums, Ashes in 2016 and Awake in 2017, have reached #6 and #3 respectively on the US Billboard Top/Dance Electronic Albums chart. At every music festival, it is now common to see fans wearing his signature baseball jerseys and hats. On August 16th, Illenium released his much-anticipated third album, Ascend.
In the track, “Take You Down”, it has tranquil vocals that accompany light guitar strumming and synth drums that described Illenium’s past drug abuse situation. Meanwhile with “Crashing”, Bahari’s soulful singing connected perfectly with the drumbeats, guitar riffs, finger-snapping, and loops that followed. “Pray” is a strong track featuring smooth guitar playing accompanied by Kamerun Alexander’s strong vocals, and bass synths that can make everyone’s emotions “ascend” while they’re dancing to every beat. Currently impacting on commercial radio , “Good Things Fall Apart” with Jon Bellion incorporate melancholic lyrics that mixed well with the soothing guitar riffs. Finally, the collaborative single with The Chainsmokers and Lennon Stella, “Takeaway”, looks like a strong candidate as a future single as the chorus – “I fall takeaway” matched with the drum rhythms and breakbeats stick with the listener.
Overall, the album is proof why Illenium continues to be one of EDM’s leading producers. His integration of multiple genres such as acoustic rock and indie into the tracks of Ascend aims to introduce his music to a wider audience who may not be familiar with him in the past. With Ascend, Illenium succeeds in maintaining appeal to his hard-core fans while showing growth in song production that will surely help continue to grow his profile.