Music Review—Element

Artist: Louise Burns
Album: Element

Vancouver producer-songwriter, Louise Burns, has released her fifth studio album, Element.  The album is available for streaming anywhere you get your music.

Of the album, Burns says, “For me, there is nothing more radical than being joyful despite what you’re going through.” She adds that her new album is about “creating a world in which you can find peace when the real one ain’t deliverin’.”

Burns pieced Element together over a two-and-a-half-year span between home and Mexico.  Through its earliest writing sessions in the spring of 2020, Burns—a professional traveling musician since the age of 15—found herself grounded in British Columbia for the longest stretch of time since the early ‘00s, and she was experiencing anxiety and an artistic wanderlust because of it.  “I had never in my adult life stayed at home for that long, and I’m just talking the first three months of the pandemic.  That was a really interesting feeling,” Burns says.  “Just by default, I started writing music to create a sense of escapism for myself, choosing a more atmospheric and airier sonic aesthetic to create a sense of movement, despite being stuck in one place.”

Element consists of nine tracks: I Don’t Feel it Like I Used To; Let it Die; Bloom; Kids; Industry Creeps (Interlude); Element; Play Pretend; Hot Girls; and See You.  Music videos for “Bloom” and “I Don’t Feel it Like I Used To” are available on YouTube.

Louise Burns’ dreamy, ghostly electronic sound and vocals remind me of a variety of 80’s artists such as Kate Bush, Madonna, and Celine Dion.  Her music videos also give serious 80’s vibes, with Louise looking like she is channeling an ethereal, mystical elf queen (think Galadriel from Lord of the Rings—absolutely stunning).  Not to mention her vocals have a haunting, surreal quality that makes them super unique.  According to Louise, she worked with a vocal coach and spent a ton of time working on fine-tuning her voice, as well as re-singing almost every song two or three times to make sure that the emotive performances she was trying to capture also complimented her tone.

As a whole, the album feels upbeat but incredibly chill—the track “Play Pretend” weaves the soothing sound of literal humpback whales into its digitized snare hits.  Still, the song lyrics certainly pack an emotional punch.  My favourite track on the album is definitely “Kids”, which is about reconnecting with a person from her past.  Of the track, Louise says: “There’s a sadness about time wasted, but also an appreciation of what we currently have.”

I also love the song “Don’t Feel it Like I Used To”, which is hands down my new breakup anthem.  Louise sings, “Something’s gonna happen and I don’t know when/Baby when it happens we’ll be strangers again”.

Overall, I really enjoyed Element, and you can check out Louise Burns on TikTok.