Charming, layered and dreamy, the latest single from this starry-eyed balladeer might be his most impactful yet.
With a rich roster of influential artists like Bon Iver, Michael Kiwanuka and Matt Corby, Zed, The Dreamer has a wide and varied well from which he draws inspiration and these influences reveal themselves quite clearly across Zed's young, bright discography. The style of the previously mentioned muses can essentially be reduced to an initial representation of the broad genre of folk music, however, they all individually decide to expand beyond that folk core by enriching it with their own individual styles, experiences and personalities. This is a skill that Zed has adopted in full-effect.
A notable element of Zed’s style is his subtle embrace of lo-fi aesthetics. Before, this has materalised as some unfiltered-out background fuzz in tracks like ‘Comfort (Not Love)’, but Zed's latest track takes this raw, casual sentiment to a further level as he uses it to almost reinforce the heart aching messages that he displays in ‘i died too’. The track whirs to life like a tape machine accelerating to the right speed, instantly giving off a warm, analogue tone to the track. The sudden click to silence after just a second of guitar also contributes to a feeling that this is an impromptu recording, straight from the heart, to the microphone.
As more elements are introduced, this nonchalant façade crumbles and Zed’s ballad blossoms into a polished and astonishing chorus of love. Intricate and symbolic lyrics aren't needed for the confessional “Baby, I love you” chorus, because the verse has already provided poetic details into the relationship.
Interestingly, after the first chorus, Zed doesn’t use its natural momentum to maintain the energy, but instead, he brings the composition back down to where we began with an interlude of radio-effect conversational samples and background ambience that replaces the full, lush textures that we just heard over the chorus. Once back down to the ground, Zed’s forlorn vocals begin to slowly levitate the piece once more with the next verse. The second verse consists of simple guitar-tapped percussion, rumbling bass and shimmering chords, all ornamenting Zed’s gentle acoustic guitar and crooning vocals which creates the folk centre of the piece.
The second verse much more seamlessly feeds into the second chorus which now professes the title of the piece, “I died too” in replace of “I love you”. This heartbreaking variation to the chorus is such a clever story-telling device. It’s not often that a chorus is altered to reveal an entirely different side to an emotive narrative, it adds a stunning amount of weight behind an already compelling single. The piece winds down one final time as a more distant and mournful "Baby, I love you" is heard underneath auto-tuned vocalisations and a self-comforting "It's alright, now" repetition. This extended ending at almost a minute long is a beautiful finish to an already unorthodox song structure. A final, pensive guitar chord rings out to finish the piece with one last poignant resignation.
Zed, The Dreamer will be performing at Victorious festival this August (26th-28th) so be sure to check him out if you have tickets!