Release Date: May 19, 2015
Record label: Interscope
In between his 2012 debut album Clarity and this sophomore release, dance music producer Anton Zaslavski, aka Zedd, went from a mere EDM superstar to tabloid fodder thanks to a brief relationship with Selena Gomez. Sounding not at all shaken by it, his 2015 album True Colors is further proof that he's the most level-headed DJ ever to headline a festival. This crafted and cool LP repeats most of what was good with his debut, plus it is confident enough to have exes over, as Gomez appears on the highlight and single "I Want You to Know" belting out romantic words co-written by Ryan Tedder ("I want you to know, that I'm all yours/You and me run the same course").
When it comes to EDM, Zedd is the star that the scene needs. He went from being courted by Skrillex on MySpace to the title track from his debut album, Clarity, thrusting him into the limelight. He’s out to preserve the “music” in Electronic Dance Music, and is on track to achieving that goal, even if that means that his sophomore follow-up, True Colors, does more in the way of revisiting those heights than taking us on exciting new adventures.
Blame it on the self-perpetuating myth of the “sophomore slump,” but massively successful artists have more to lose on their second effort than their debut. In the case of Russian-German DJ/producer Zedd (born Anton Zaslavski), however, the opposite seems to be true. Speaking to SPIN earlier this month about True Colors (the dense, orchestral follow-up to 2012’s Clarity), he emphasized the risky intention of the album’s notably drop-free, spaghetti Western-themed title track.
With Zedd behind the boards, even Tom Waits could make a feel-good summer hit: Everything the 25-year-old German producer handles, from his own 2013 smash "Clarity" to Ariana Grande's "Break Free" last year, turns to candy-rave gold. True Colors, Zedd's second LP, includes songs about love, breakups and seizing the day, but the real subject is always his enormous beats. Opener "Addicted to a Memory" drifts toward industrial noise, then introduces nuclear-meltdown sirens and prog keyboards.
In 2013, Anton Zaslavski—who records as Zedd—went from "Who the fuck is Zedd?" to a household name thanks to two ubiquitous singles. First was "Clarity", the aural equivalent of standing under a fake waterfall at Tomorrowland, and the brain-invading Hayley Williams feature "Stay the Night". This was skyscraping stuff, and it’s a sound that the 25-year-old producer had made his name on behind the boards for artists like Lady Gaga (Zedd contributed three songs to Artpop) and Justin Bieber (Believe’s surging "Beauty and a Beat").