With Illumination, Earth Wind & Fire does something in a vaguely similar direction to The Promise, yet also novel. This album continues with a more modern feel (and a produced sound), and for this reason I mentally group it together with that album more than any other. I find the beats and overall structure and direction of the song though feel less monotonous, and this may be that the songs seem to put the jazzy flair of the band's horn section, as well as the soulful vocals, more at the forefront.
This album is also packed with guest artists, which I think adds to the variation in sound and style, and imparts greater novelty than on The Promise. At the same time, the variation in style and sound leaves the album feeling like a bit of a hodge-podge. Whereas with The Promise I tend to like all the songs roughly equally, and enjoy listening to the album as a coherent whole, Illumination is an album where I tend to like individual songs, and often like to put those songs on specific playlists with other songs that match their style; I don't like to listen to this album start to finish.
My favorite songs are Loves Dance and This Is How I Feel, both high-energy, upbeat tracks that make me want to dance, but I also like Show Me The Way and some of the other slower tracks.
This is one of my favorite albums by Earth Wind & Fire, but it is also one of the least typical and most divergent from the band's classic sound or style. More so than their other album, I recommend listening to a handful of songs from this album before committing to buying it. If you're like me, you'll love it, but I also think that this album may appeal to a slightly different audience from the people who like the old sound of this band.