Lily Lambert, born in England, is perhaps one of the few (if even only) musical artists who have graduated from law school, with honors at that. So Far is her sophomore album, to be released in November, following her debut, Life of Lily. Sounding at times like Taylor Swift, her lyrics feature a curious mix of almost childlike innocence and realism, an acknowledgment of the stark situation of the world and a hopeful view of the future. These lyrics are placed within mostly peaceful, smooth, and gentle, even upbeat melodies which, interestingly enough, underline rather than stifle her sometimes defiance with regards to accepted societal norms.
The album’s first track captures well these various flavours. The guitar-driven pop rock of “Pop Culture (Who Cares)” sounds like Swift in her earlier days, and discusses how undeserved attention and importance is given to pop culture. From the beginning, it hits you how young Lambert sounds, almost like a preteen asking her parents honestly about the dichotomies and hypocrisy she sees around her. She might sound slightly defiant, a little aggressive, and somewhat angry at times, but in a way that compels the listener to think about the reasons behind these emotions.
This mixture appears again in the following track, the folky ballad “Fly” and by the third track, “Lead Me to You”, the listener has settled into Lambert’s style of an innocent but precocious child gently but unequivocally demanding answers. Even in “Miss You”, a beautiful, piano-driven and violin-supported track, which could have gone the way of typical love songs, remains true to this style, as does “Cruel World”.
Other associated emotions are weaved into some of the songs. “Help Me Up” captures a child’s hope as demonstrated by his or her eagerness to stand right back up and try again. “Karma”, the first song to not just have a country flavor but be imbibed in it, makes one think of a child, a victim of someone’s cruelty, shrugging their shoulders and walking away, strong in their belief that justice will be served in the way karma does. “So Far”, a soft rock ballad, tops off the album perfectly what with the recap of sorts of Lambert’s life, acknowledging both the good and the bad and ending on a positive note.
In So Far, Lily Lambert showcases her talent and blends together folk, rock, and country. Many of the songs have a certain sing-along, even anthemic quality, and therefore some of them are decidedly memorable and even sticky. This highly listenable album features lyrics that strive to contribute to an important discussion on how to look at the way the world is and contribute decisively to its advancement, with the belief firm in our hearts that things will work out. It is neither for the bitter, nor cynical ones, nor for those who are in denial about the state of the world. This is an album for those of us who clearly see how the world is falling apart but also shine with hope from light at the end of the tunnel.