There was something alluring about Zedd‘s 2012 debut, Clarity. If you were at the landscape of electronic music at that time, Clarity was able to show that an electronic artist can formulate what would be considered a complete “album” (which would also be tested by Avicii). The album was tied together almost like a singular composition starting and ending with a ticking of a clock and also gave the huge hits like the title track and “Stay The Night”. This showed Zedd’s knack of making complete songs centered around electronic music. Since that, Zedd, the stage name of Anton Zaslavski went on to work with stars like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. One would have to think that these collaborations would influence his second album True Colors for the better. Well, yes and no.
Parts of True Colors actually take us back in time to pre-Clarity Zedd. “Addicted To A Memory” combines the airy buildup combined with vocals from girl group Bahari before it breaks down into a symphony of prototypical synth play. The next song, “I Want You To Know”, featuring Selena Gomez, is one of the tracks where the pop and electronic world of the album collide at the right point. Listening through the whole album, what will stand out is that most of these songs are well-structured. “Bumblebee”, which is one of the only songs that do not feature a singer, is vintage Zedd, with an appearance of the Clarity clock. It’s almost if that was an outtake from that particular album.
There are some parts of the album that almost play it a bit safe. Both tracks, “Done With Love” and “Straight Into The Fire” have identical drops which muddies up the listen through. “Beautiful Now”, featuring John Bellion, is the quintessential festival track. I can see the fireworks scorching the sky as I type this sentence. The reason why I scoff at these types of these songs is because of the musical potential that is also present on this album. The title track which is beautifully led in from “Done With Love” highlights some faint guitar chords over a big chorus that serves as a proclamation of the whole project. “Papercut” features Zedd’s piano playing throughout the slow build track that is over seven minutes long, but as it progresses, you don’t even notice because the track sucks you in.
One can say that Zedd’s “true colors” were shown on this album, no matter how varied they were. If you have gotten a chance to hear his iTunes Sessions (as you should), you get the sense of his musical knowledge and prowess. This is why you want to hear more of that. Not to say that this sophomore release is not complex, but there are some songs that placate to the standard EDM ear. Where Clarity was more electro, True Colors is a more diverse musical palate to which perhaps we think that the many brush strokes on the canvas is Zedd. The picture is still being formed and as Zedd grows, I believe his craft will grow as well.