I had absolutely no previous knowledge about Zeds Dead before giving Northern Lights a listen. When it comes to electronic/dance music it’s more of a matter of something catching my attention than me actively going out and looking for something new. There’s just so much out there, and just so much that doesn’t do anything for me that a lot gets overlooked. It wasn’t until I heard “Too Young” featuring Pusha T (one of my favorite rappers) that I decided to give them a listen.
“These days burn fast
Got to make a good thing last
But it’s hard when you feel alone
And you came and you let me go”
It’s hard to put a label on Northern Lights. It’s an album that’s all over the place in terms of it’s sound, hopping from one genre influence to the next. It’s almost like an exercise in producing because there’s elements of hip-hop, dance, pop, drum and bass, dubstep, and more; and all in a span of 15 songs. It’s actually impressive, and says a lot about their ability as producers. For an album, however, it can be a jarring listen, as sounds vary so widely from one song to the next. They sacrificed cohesiveness for diversity, and I think it suffered as a whole because of it. The album gets off to an extremely strong start with songs like “Stardust” which has slick guitar riffs, “Too Young” which has an incredible bounce to it, and “Me No Care” which is hard hitting drum and bass. But after about halfway through it starts to lose it’s momentum considerably.
“She like ’em mad rude, talkin’ ’bout cash rules
Takin’ selfies in the mirror
Get the angle, make it clearer
That ain’t perfect, girl, ain’t no perfect world
Why we takin’ life so serious?”
The features on Northern Lights are just as diverse and varied as the production itself. It ranges from artists like Twin Shadows, Atlas, and Dragonette all the way to hip-hop stalwarts like Pusha T, Jadakiss, and Styles P. The latter two being the most surprising of features, and appropriately lacing the most menacing track off the album, “DNA.” All the features do a fair enough job and breathe life into each of their songs, but I think Twin Shadows (who’s highly underrated) stole the show the most.
Have you heard Northern Lights? What’d you think about it? Do you think it’s sounds were too varied? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.
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