Album Review: Little Dragon’s Season High

by Ayanna Jacobs-El

Swedish electronic band Little Dragon has been making one-of-a-kind music that has appealed to a wide audience for over 20 years. This April the group released their 5th studio album entitled Season High. The album is filled with intricate and engrossing electronic production and lead singer Yukimi Nagano’s signature, soulful vocals. In addition to releasing new music, the group has continued to tour and perform at huge festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands.

Initially, I was drawn to Little Dragon’s music because I had never heard a group like them before and I enjoyed how experimental their songs were. Some of my favorite tracks off of their previous albums are: “Constant Surprises,” “Twice,” “Ritual Union,” “Recommendation,” and “Feather” to name a few. The group has been featured on numerous other artist’s songs like SBTRKT’s “Wildfire,” Odesza’s “Light,” Gorillaz “Empire Ants,” and Kaytranada’s “Bullets” to name a few.

Much of the group’s latest album utilizes an 80’s pop sound, intertwined with modern production. The album starts out with “Celebrate,” a funky, danceable track that is filled with Nagano’s falsetto singing during the hooks. The song also has a trippy, weird, and colorful music video to go along with it. I enjoyed this opener track because of the fun atmosphere it creates, the catchy riff that happens in the hook, and the climactic guitar solo.

Unfortunately, a few songs on the album don’t develop enough to hold the listener’s attention. An example of this happens in the second track of the album entitled “High.” The song features a strong melody but it stays in the same mellow mood throughout the entirety of its 4 minutes and 16 seconds, which causes it to seem too monotonous and languid. Another song that is lacking on the album is “Butterflies.” Even though the beat is very active and evolving the lead vocal failed to draw me in or build to any sort of interesting climax.

One of the standout tracks on Season High is the energetic track “Sweet.” According to Nagano “Sweet” is, “A song about being addicted to a certain feeling of high, not necessarily drug-related, but anything that makes you feel high.” The hyperactive and upbeat nature of the beat and Nagano’s falsetto singing definitely push the song’s idea of feeling high, and the repeated lyrics convey the idea of addiction.

Should I” resembles some of Little Dragon’s earlier songs like “Ritual Union” and “Constant Surprises” by featuring a rhythmically interesting drum beat that is rounded out by active percussion. I like how the track experiments with electronic textures and grows to a spazzed out and choppy version of itself towards the end.

Season High is an album that the band seems to have had a lot of fun crafting. As a result, some songs seem to drag on too long or lack a refined nature because the group is jamming out over extended endings. Where the album lacks it makes up with great tracks that help showcase the entire group’s creativity and talent.

ARE YOU A LITTLE DRAGON FAN? LET US KNOW YOUR FAVORITE SONGS IN THE COMMENTS!

About the Author

Ayanna Jacobs-El
Ayanna Jacobs-El is a composer, producer, songwriter, singer, alto and baritone saxophonist, and DJ dual majoring in Contemporary Writing and Production and Professional Music with a minor in Writing for TV and New Media. You can learn more about Ayanna and hear her music by visiting www.ayannajacobsel.com.