In a recent interview with Mashable, Russian-German EDM artist Zedd was quoted as saying, “To me, certain things sound a certain colour,” and when listening to True Colors, an album of many flavours, this perception becomes obvious. However, the variety and breadth of musical styles has culminated in an incoherent piece of work, particularly in its second half. While the diversity of the album allows most of the songs to stand on their own, they don’t mesh with each other, and the result is disjointed.
One of the highlights of Zedd’s wildly successful debut album Clarity (2012) was its fluidity, and the 25-year-old producer has seemingly lost this aspect with True Colors in an effort to cover multiple styles within the EDM genre. The best example of this is the grunge-influenced song, “Transmission”, featuring rapper Logic and alternative rock band X Ambassadors. This experimental track doesn’t fit well with the album’s electronic vibe, and is awkwardly sandwiched between the EDM anthem, “Beautiful Now”, and a signature Zedd track, “Done With Love,” leaving the listener disoriented after what was initially a promising start.
However, despite the album’s shortcomings it is impossible to ignore the superb marriage of vocals and musical arrangements in each song. The standout tracks, “True Colors”, followed by “Daisy”, are both breath-of-fresh-air moments, but the latter is supremely short-lived, clocking in at less than three minutes long. On the other hand, “Bumble Bee” highlights the mediocrity of the album as the experimental progressive house collaboration featuring Botnek doesn’t come close to the quality of Zedd’s previous work.
Though it’s unable to live up to Clarity, True Colors is a decent album within 2015's music scene. Fans of Zedd will undoubtedly find a few treasures within; for the album’s mix of colours, however, it’s hard to feel anything other than one confused, unmemorable shade.