Erin Rae – Lighten Up

Erin Rae - Lighten Up



4.4/5 Pros

  • Very versatile album
  • Nice, fragile songs, really intense listen

Erin Rae is releasing her third album Lighten Up on 4th February 2022. Her previous pop-country works have been very highly rated and received remarkable streaming volume, so that her new release has definitely been one you look out for. I have been really curious about her new songs.


Erin Rae – About The Artists

The history of Erin Rae is a bit of confusing, as in fact it started as a band, Erin Rae & the Meanwhiles. The trio consisted of Cori LeCain, Graham Bechler and the name-branding lead, Erin Rae McKaskle. The band has been founded in Nashville in 2012 and released their debut album Soon Enough in 2016. McKaskie, who is a Tennessee-origin from Jackson, is nowadays branding her music as a solo artist. The 2018 album Putting On Airs has already been only having Erin Rae as the artist name. Wild Blue Wind has been a huge success, with almost four million streams on Spotify only.


Erin Rae – Lighten Up – Track by Track

The twelve song album lasts 42 minutes.

1. Candy + Curry

The starter into the 2022 songs by Erin Rae is a very slow, dreaming song, which is also full of fear and uncertainty. Erin in fact wrote this track in the early pandemic days. The track feels very simple, but also direct – you nicely connect to the artist and her story. Definitely a nice first one.

2. Can’t See Stars

The second song of the album is having a nice and much more present vibe. Despite the piano main melodic line, the song feels much more country music-alike than the song before – not only due to Spencer Cullum on the pedal steel. Another nice feature of Can’t See Stars is the beautiful vocal collaboration with Kevin Morby, who is the background singer of this track.

3. True Love’s Face

In this song, Drew Ericsson is adding the special touch with beautiful organ lines. I love Erin’s vocal performance in this track, which is very fragile, but also very present – again, this leads to a nice connection between the artist and the listener.

4. Gonna Be Strange

The most present instruments in this track is the acoustic guitar and the rhythm in the background. I am just emphasizing it to show how versatile and different these first four songs are. The song remind me of some Sarah Darling songs in a magical way. Nice listen.

I’m gonna be strange without you
I know it for a fact
But there’s no goin’ back
I’m gonna be changed
I doubt you
Will recognize me then
When you run into your friend

5. California Belongs To You

But because I would not be true
Gotta find other things to do
California belongs to you
It belongs to you

California Belongs To You is a beautiful break-up track. Who does not know this feeling of suddenly being in “enemy territory”? Erin Rae transforms that feeling into a lovely melody somewhere between country, folk and pop.

6. Cosmic Sigh

Erin Rae wrote this pre-release during winter in Nashville. Indeed, this song somehow has a “Christmas and snow” feeling to me. Slow, emotional, very present strings. A very different sound again. Enjoyable.

7. Modern Woman

After the winter feeling, the rhythmic and very pop-ish feeling Modern Woman is quite a contrast, especially if you listen to the album for the first time. The chorus has a nice country-Americana touch and a very catching melody. The track nicely creates its own spotlights, its own focus. It stays in your mind and somehow feels special.

8. Drift Away

Drift Away is a nice song, but it does not feel as intense as quite a lot of the songs on the album before. Technically nice, but it is just lacking the special touch.

9. Enemy

Wait a minute
I’m gonna wise up
Gonna rise up to the occasion
Don’t turn away
I was just chasing my demons

Enemy is one of the most magical listens of the album to me. I also love how organ sounds (Drew Erickson) and bass lines (Jake Blanton) give a very nice and wide sound. The song creates a lot of presence on the instrumental side during its second half.

10. Mind/Heart

The (excellent) press kit states about this song that the song was written reflecting a typical relationship question: “is this a healthy love? Or is an escape from myself?”. The result is a very atmospheric track, which is working with some special instruments alike an harmonium or a Solina string.

11. Lighten Up and Try

Lighten Up and Try comes with more ease – I definitely appreciate that after some very deep listens. A very uplifting, motivating song.

12. Undone

The less than three minute closing track uses some a bit of exotic instrument setup including the resonator guitar or an electric and acoustic bass in parallel. This leads to a very special sound of the track. The song stays in your mind – what could be a better statement about the farewell from the Lighten Up stories?


Erin Rae – Lighten Up – Spotify

Here is Lighten Up on Spotify:


Erin Rae – Lighten Up – My View

Lighten Up is an album full of beautiful memories and angelic stories. I really love to listen to Erin Rae in her 2022 edition of songs. Her team is also having a nice touch in arranging the tracks in a way that they simply have to spread some magic. I just have to smile while listening – the album definitely makes it to the Top Pick! rankings. about Memphis

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