The Lumineers release deceptively upbeat album “Cleopatra”


Photo Courtesy of Dualtone Records

The woman dressed as Cleopatra on the black and white album cover represents the cheerful/somber paradox presented by the record.

Sophie Herrmann, Staff Writer

The Lumineer’s second album titled “Cleopatra” is the laid-back summer album we’ve all been waiting for. The album encompasses a late summer night driving with the windows down. With a balance of emotional ballads and songs that you have to tap your toes along to, “Cleopatra” is a great success.

The album consists of eleven regular track and four bonus tracks, all of which could’ve easily fit into the standard lineup. The simplicity of the accompaniment, which often means only a couple of instruments per track, allows lead singer Wesley Schultz’ vocal talent to shine through. The lack of back-up singers is what really showcases the raw, pure talent of the band.

The majority of the album’s tracks have an upbeat, sunny vibe, but the lyrics tell a more somber story. ”

— Sophie Herrmann

This is an album best suited for small crowds in quaint venues rather than thousands in stadiums or arenas. “Cleopatra” covers an expansive range of topics: from wanderlust to loneliness, the isolation of fame and even occasional references to mortality. What makes the album such a success is how easily relatable the wide variety of themes are to listeners.

The first single off of the album, “Ophelia,” has already become a major radio hit. Although on the surface it appears to be a love song that strongly resembles the band’s greatest hit: “Ho Hey,” Schultz has revealed that the tune is about the group’s rising stardom and the harsh complexity of fame, a theme paralleled in songs such as “My Eyes” and “Sick in the Head.” The majority of the album’s tracks have an upbeat, sunny vibe, but the lyrics tell a more somber story. This duality provides a layer of complexity that hasn’t been fully seen by the Lumineers until now.

The third track, “Cleopatra,” which provides the title for the album tells the story of a woman who has missed out on her life and wasted away her youth on meaningless love interests. Yet again, Schultz tricks the listeners with a cheery hook and an upbeat rhythm. But with lyrics like “the only gifts from my Lord were a birth and a divorce,” the more somber and complex meaning is revealed. It’s because of this that each song requires several repeats before moving on to the next track.

Overall, the long awaited album is a major success for the band. By simplifying their music and writing heavier, more meaningful lyrics, the Lumineers have honed in on their strengths and proved themselves to be a complex, well-established music group.