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Zedd ‘True Colors’ – Album Review

Interscope (2015)

A virtual unknown at the time of his 2012 debut, German-Russian producer Zedd has since won a Grammy Award, been invited to work his magic on records by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and become an unlikely tabloid favorite thanks to his relationship with former Disney tween-queen Selena Gomez. Expectations, therefore, are much higher for his second album, True Colors.

Adhering to the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach, the follow-up to Clarity follows a similar template as its predecessor – pumping beats, minor chord synths and epic pop choruses delivered by an array of guest singers.

Of course, featuring a slightly flat vocal turn from his current beau and a co-writing credit from hitmaker Ryan Tedder, recent single “I Want You To Know” has inevitably attracted the most attention. But there’s plenty more generic EDM-lite anthems where that came from, whether it’s the video game soundtrack vibes of opener “Addicted to a Memory,” the Swedish House Mafia-esque “Beautiful Now” or the Daft Punk-inspired robotics of “Done With Love.”

However, the 25-year-old occasionally shows signs that he’s capable of elevating himself above the usual generic Vegas superclub headliners. “Papercut” is a lush chill-out affair featuring YouTube star-turned-credible alt-R&B crooner Troye Sivan. “True Colors” is an intriguing blend of tumbling drums, church bells and angsty female vocals which could have escaped from a 90s banshee classic, while closer “Illusion” combines the sultry tones of Echosmith’s Sydney Sierota with a twinkling Balearic backdrop perfectly designed for watching a Mediterranean sunset.

True Colors might not reinvent the wheel, and there are times when Zedd is quite clearly cruising on autopilot; but it’s another solid, if unspectacular, attempt to conquer the dance floor which should maintain his new-found superstar status, for now at least.

About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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