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  • Writer's pictureAnita

Ready to Get Dirty with ZZ WARD? "Dirty Shine" - 2023's Most Unconventional Album!

When musical talent, directorial intuition, and an unquenchable drive for self-realization come together, albums capable of changing the music industry are born. Today, I can't wait to introduce you to the charming and bold ZZ Ward and her new, first independent album in her discography titled "Dirty Shine." This is the singer's third album, featuring a collection of 14 tracks that transcend time. They encapsulate the power and beauty stemming from the fusion of multiple genres, ranging from classic alternative music, blues, and jazz to hip-hop. This intricate merging of music genres creates a fresh and contemporary sonic experiment. "Dirty Shine" cannot be described merely as a musical album. It holds the power of visual storytelling as well. ZZ Ward teamed up with her brother, Adam William Ward, to create perfect mini-film music videos that expand and complement the universe of the "Dirty Shine" album. I invite you to grab your best headphones or turn up the speakers and embark on a journey through "Dirty Shine," where we will encounter sincerity, genuine emotions, exposed flaws, and the true fire that paves the way for the best in life.

"Welcome to Dirty Shine" feels like the opening scene of a grand adventure, where the orchestra plays the overture to our life's story. It's like the universe handing us a ticket and saying, 'Get ready for the ride of your life!'. Then, 'Ride or Die,' (feat. VIC MENSA) leads us into ZZ's incredible world. I suggest not only enjoying this track but also immersing yourself in its music video. The mini-movie unfolding before us is like a blockbuster, emphasizing the uniqueness of the artist. An engaging plot and captivating dynamics reflect the shifts in the song's genres. Starting with gentle country tones in ZZ's tender voice, it transitions into a vibrant pop sound in the verses. And just when you think you've fully embraced the sound, an amazing hip-hop element kick in. It's like life – always ready to surprise you with new notes and rhythms!

Then, as if transported through time, the amazing track "On One" begins. A captivating love story set in the wild west with a zombie-in-love protagonist, rejected by the main heroine, reveals ZZ's strength and independence. With every moment of the video and the song, you can feel the incredible energy and talent of the singer. "Slow Hum Hymnal" once again captivates with its cinematic instrumental, immersing us in a dark story that is immediately dispelled by the track "Dead or Alive." Perfect jazz motifs in the vocals blend with a pop rhythm to create a real hit for big stages.

In the track "Forget About Us," the singer creates a perfect and fiery atmosphere, adding sensuality and playfulness to the sound, while the music video, like a flashback, tells us the backstory of the relationship between the wild west heroine and the young man who has not yet turned into a zombie. This stunning narrative, akin to full-length films, reveals this album as a grand and well-thought-out work of art. Absolutely perfect!

I'm absolutely thrilled with "North Bank Blues" and "OverdoZZe." These two tracks are interconnected, and you can't perceive them separately. "North Bank Blues" begins with footsteps and the purest, classic harmonica sound, which "OverdoZZe" (produced by Oscar, GRAMMY, and Emmy-winning composer and record producer Ludwig Göransson) transforms almost beyond recognition, transitioning into a crystalline commercial pop sound. It seems to me that it's in these tracks that ZZ openly expresses her desire to reveal herself, her thoughts, and her life experiments, without fear of speaking about them loudly.

This approach to creating music allows us to fully enjoy and immerse ourselves in the sound of the album "Dirty Shine" while sparking our imagination. In the track "OverdoZZe," we hear a perfect pop arrangement, with rhythmic breaks setting the tone for an adventurous night, and the singer's vocals explore the lower tonalities, giving the track that pop gloss. When we are fully immersed in the album's atmosphere, we encounter the melancholic track "Tin Cups." It's the perfect blend of country with modern elements that sends shivers down your spine. In this track, ZZ collaborates with Aloe Blacc, and I believe this duet is truly enchanting! The perfect shift in emotions and rhythms happens in the final track, "Don't Let Me Down." It's the perfect country tune that not only makes you want to dance but also sing along. A real fire ignites in the soul from this ringing and vibrant conclusion to the album. It's the perfect experiment!


"Dirty Shine" by ZZ Ward is like a musical experience, where every track is a vibrant shard of creativity. It's as if ZZ Ward opened Pandora's box of genres and unleashed a sonic storm that's both invigorating and thought-provoking. It's a journey where you start on the bluesy backroads, but suddenly find yourself on a neon-lit hip-hop highway. ZZ Ward is the fearless driver, and her passengers are her thoughts, emotions, and musical experiments. "Dirty Shine" isn't just an album. It's a reminder that life is a messy masterpiece. It's an invitation to embrace the quirks and contradictions within ourselves, just as ZZ Ward fearlessly weaves blues, jazz, and hip-hop into her unique sound. In a world where conformity often dulls our shine, ZZ Ward's "Dirty Shine" reminds us to proudly wear our flaws and imperfections as badges of honor.

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