Saturday, June 15, 2013

Clarity | Zedd

Rating: ★★★★☆

Last year, electronic dance music artists welcomed a new member to their group of producers: Zedd. Before being signed to Interscope Records last year, Zedd was simply making remixes of other work, from artists like The Black Eyed Peas, Skrillex, and Lady Gaga. However, now he's doing his own thing, and released his debut electronic album last year.

For a long time, I really didn't care for a lot of electro-house music, especially that of Calvin Harris and David Guetta, because all of the songs seemed to be repeating the same sounds over and over again. However, it has slightly grown as a genre, and I've really taken a liking to it, including a lot of the tunes that Guetta and Harris are pumping out. Many of the songs still run off of the same formula (which I will talk more about later), but most of them are still relatively catchy.

I first heard a song from Clarity last year when Lady Gaga released her vocal take on "Stache." Over the instrumental track, she shot off lines like "Where's my stache? / Can you feed my love? / Cannabis / Can you feed my love?" and "Where's my stache? / DJ Zedd, Anton turn it up / Let's party, let's get messed up." Without Gaga singing over it, the track sounds empty, (much like how Lazy Jay's "Float My Boat" is completely hollow without Azealia Banks' "212" rap over it), but then again I don't particularly agree with Gaga's weed-related lyrical content, so I'm pretty well neutral on the track. 

The only song that has been getting some love from the radio thus far is the title track, which features a new singer and songwriter named Foxes. The attention that "Clarity" is receiving is definitely well deserved, because it's one of the highlights from the album, in my eyes. I really like Foxes' voice, and the song suits her voice well, as she shouts out heartfelt lines of lyrics like "If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? / If our love's insanity, why are you my clarity?"  The breakdown is on par with every other David Guetta and Calvin Harris song out there, but that doesn't make it a terrible song. Long story short: I love the song and I could listen to it all day.

Zedd also calls in the help of Ellie Goulding, an artist that isn't a stranger to this genre of music. Most of her sophomore album was co-produced by Goulding herself, and contained plenty of electronic dance elements in songs like "Hanging On" and "Figure 8." Now, contributing to Clarity, Goulding sang vocals on the track "Fall Into The Sky." Her vocals are extraordinary as usual, and the overall production of the song is actually pretty fresh compared to most of today's other electronic dance tunes. I like the song a lot, but I really wish more of Goulding's vocals were featured in it. Her inclusion seemed to be cut short when compared to the other collaborations on Clarity. 

Zedd seems a bit overrated within the fan base of Lady Gaga, but he's quite underrated outside of the army of Little Monsters. He was an opening act for selected legs of The Born This Way Ball Tour, and fans instantly began to gush about his music, as if he was the most innovative electronic dance artist to come along. The truth of the matter is that his music is about on par with tunes from David Guetta and Calvin Harris. I love "Titanium," "Sweet Nothing," and "Clarity" all the same, but they all thrive on the same formula: quiet verse, accumulation of energy during the chorus, instrumental breakdown, and repeat. Nothing completely innovative here.

Meanwhile, outside of my favorite community of fans, Zedd is a bit unknown. Sure, people are slowly gaining interest since the commercial success of "Clarity," but when it comes down to it, he's not a household name. He does deserve a reasonable amount of credit for this album, but let's not go overboard. Clarity is a run-of-the-mill electro-house album with some really outstanding tracks. It's not overly innovative or experimental, but it's catchy music regardless.

1 comment

  1. A while ago, iTunes was giving this song away for free and that's when I downloaded it.

    It's actually a good song but I rarely listen to it! :p


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