On July 22nd, ZHU dropped the visualizer for his new single, “Monster,” featuring John The Blind. Coming only a little over two months after his new album, DREAMLAND 2021, “Monster” is a “departure from ZHU’s dusky signature sound.” Where most of ZHU’s work is dark and hazy, “Monster” is “a sparkling, straight-up celebration of unconditional love.” This is not only reflected in the lyrics but also in the sound.

Take a track like “Distant Lights” off of DREAMLAND 2021. The sound is reminiscent of a dark basement house party in the year 2019, full of smoke and strobe lights. Later on the same album, “Good4U” sounds like The Weeknd’s My Dear Melancholy, EP. In fact, this track could be considered the sister track of “Call Out My Name.” It has similar energy, similar chords, and similar production. This was just released earlier this year. 

In stark contrast, “Monster” sounds like a rooftop party circa 2014. The pulsating house chords, the airy synth pads, and John The Blind’s vocals sound like ZHU is trying to emulate the dance pop music of Avicii instead of the dark, sultry R&B music of The Weeknd. He still throws in some of his signature elements, like the synth line in between the chorus and the verse that seems to throw the audience a little off-kilter, but it seems like ZHU wanted to make a more uplifting track than anything off of DREAMLAND 2021.

Artists should be praised for branching out and trying new things, and ZHU should get the same treatment. Especially since he did such a great job with this track. Not only did he do a 180 stylistically, but he still made sure it sounded like something he would make. While I have made comparisons to other artists, these are just touchpoints. There are intricacies in ZHU’s production that make his music uniquely his, and those are all present in “Monster.” Give it a listen and watch the visualizer above, and check out DREAMLAND 2021 below! 

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