Last year the bluesy pop singer ZZ Ward released an EP called “Love And War” and now she’s back with her second full length album “The Storm” which was released in early July! I didn’t even know she was going to put out another album until this sucker popped up on my Spotify one afternoon! I really do like ZZ’s combination of a bluesy, almost soul sound mixed with pop accents here and there. It’s really interesting!
So we’re going to start this now, track number one is “Ghost” and it starts off just like I wanted it to, very sultry and mysterious. It has a nice mellow groove, goes great with her high-pitched voice! If you’ve never heard of her music before because it’s not overpowering in any of the areas. It’s perfect. Second is “Cannonball” featuring Fantastic Negrito and it is so bluesy and I love it! I love hearing the guitars and faded out piano notes in the background. It’s soft and sexy! I also think this Fantastic Negrito is a perfect addition to the song. That’s another quality I love about blues music is that with the right melodies and vocalists, it will turn anybody on! Oh, and I love the harmonica! I definitely don’t hear that anymore! Third is “Help Me Mama” and I feel like I heard this before listening it for this review. This has more of a gospel-soul sound, which the title indicates that right away! At least it did for me.
Next is the title track “The Storm” and it starts out with a light piano and guitar with ZZ’s voice, though its pretty softer in this song. In fact, the entire track is pretty mellow but it’s not exactly a ballad. You can clearly hear an orchestra in the background and it has a couple of fiddles in there too! It’s very nice! Fifth is “Domino” featuring Fitz and I’m thinking it’s the same one from Fitz and The Tantrums and I was right! This one definitely has more of a pop song vibe to it. I’m fine with it, because I think it’s nice to take a break from one genre to create something else in the other, so it has a good balance so far! After that one is “Let It Burn” and we’re back on the sassy, country-blues sound again! Considering I’m not the biggest country fan, I’m still shocked this gets by! This one has some good bass in it, which freaked me out, but I like it! I hope this gets used on So Do You Think You Can Dance because I think somebody could do great things with this one! That’s all I’m saying!
This next one is called “Bag Of Bones” and it’s very quiet, there’s nothing really to it and I actually like it. She’s letting the lyrics guide you and vibe is allowing you sway back and forth. I really like the acoustic guitar towards the end. It gives it a nice edge. “She Ain’t Me” is next and I was very ecstatic to see that we’d have a breakup song on the album! If there wasn’t one or two on a blues album even I’d be concerned! However it has more of a pop song to it so that part kind of bummed me a bit, but it’s not all that bad. The harmonica pops back into this one but I think I liked it more in the other song.
We’re almost done, the ninth track is “If U Stayed” and we finally have ourselves a ballad! It’s only her with her guitar and piano. It’s a breakup song, but it’s also gentle and very sweet at the same time. Next is “Hold On” and we’re on the upbeat train again, but it doesn’t sound obnoxious like I freaked it would be as second to last songs tend to be, which isn’t a bad thing. I usually like them. The last song is “Ride” and it features Gary Clark Jr. It was also featured on the soundtrack for the Disney animated film Cars earlier this year! That should have been my indication that ZZ was coming out with new music right there! Anyways, it has a good beat, very pop-y and a little bit bluesy. What more can you ask for?
I always look forward to new music by artists and bands, but once I hear a good album I tend to become very picky. Sometimes I want to hear something different from that person(s) because I think music should evolve and I don’t like seeing an artist being held back and stuck in the same genre and singing the same words over and over again. However, there are some were I do love the music they create enough that I don’t want them to change so much. I mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So I think ZZ’s second album is amazing and I think it’s one of my favorite albums to come out this year! If you’re counting, that’s two so far!
Are you a fan of ZZ Ward’s music? Have you listened to “The Storm” yet? What were your thoughts?