It’s very rare that an album will capture your attention the second it comes out nowadays. As music consumers (I hate that word), we have so much new content thrown at us every day. This week alone, seven albums from artists that I love came out. That means at least seven hours of listening to brand new material and trying to determine what works for us and what doesn’t. While I love it, the process of absorbing it all can be overwhelming.
Then comes True Colors. The moment that the album finished, there was no doubt in mind: this will be one of the biggest albums of the year. Every song on Zedd’s (full name Anton Zaslavski) sophomore effort is seamlessly constructed and memorable. The synths used on each track are gritty, implementing that electric-buzz saw feel as needed, while still maintaining an aura of cleanliness. The biggest aspect of Zedd’s music that separates him from many other producers in the game is that he is a musician. He writes the songs on the piano, playing them in their purest form, before any synth plug-ins are implemented into the DAW (acronym for digital audio workspace)
True Colors begins with the anthemic (and my personal favorite) “Addicted To A Memory”. A ticking clock (an element that seems to be a staple in many signature Zedd tracks) permeates the background, layered with a lightly plucked acoustic guitar. After the drop, the song pulsates through an intense five-minute electro-house odyssey. “I Want You To Know”, the first single to be released for the album earlier this year, blends together with the album particularly well after this first track. Vocalist Selena Gomez’ voice has grown immensely since her Disney Channel days, and Zaslavski’s production really showcases this. He uses certain robotic effects over her voice, but still allows for moments where her voice isn’t lathered with auto-tune, showing that she really is a very talented vocalist.
The biggest anthem comes in the form of “Beautiful Now”, the third track, which will surely be a staple in future Zedd sets come this fall when he embarks on the True Colors tour. “Transmission” shows Zaslavski exploring new territory as he collaborates with alternative rock band X Ambassadors and rapper Logic for a very energetic track. Structurally, “Done With Love” is one of the most complex songs I’ve heard from Zedd, and he makes it work incredibly. The bass guitar lines mixed in throughout the drop really complement the synth and work.
The tone of the album changes immensely with the title track that follows. I know that it was revealed through his incredibly clever marketing campaign for the album that Zedd has a corresponding color for each song. For the title track, he thought of the color red. For me, I think of a very dark blue. The song has such a trance-y feel. It’s far different from anything I’ve heard in the world of electronic music recently, and it’s the song that has been stuck in my head the most.
The energy is then instantaneously brought back up with the powerful “Straight Into The Fire”. “Papercut” brings the tone back down, but just enough that we can still dance to it. The most insane track comes from the Botnek collaboration entitled “Bumble Bee”. I saw Zedd play this when he performed in San Jose a few months ago, before this album was even unveiled, and I’ve never seen a crowd erupt with that much energy over an electro-house drop.
Beautiful orchestral strings flow through the air with the track “Daisy” before bringing the album to a close with “Illusion”, featuring a guest spot from up-and-coming indie rock act Echosmith. The piano fades out over the last twenty seconds of the track. The journey is done, and the only thing left to do is press play and do it all over again.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.