Since being announced at Red Rocks in 2020, before a global pandemic was a blip in anyone’s mind, we’ve been waiting for ZHU’s next album. Finally, after more than a year of waiting, DREAMLAND 2021 is here — and was it worth the wait? Absolutely.
The album begins on a stellar high note with “Lost It,” a brilliantly hard and unapologetic intro with a crushing rhythm and atmospheric guitar chords and synths that serves as a perfect introduction to the album. It’s followed up by “Distant Lights,” which builds toward reckless, ecstatic abandon. In the final moments, ZHU murmurs a few lines that serve as something of a mission statement for the LP: “I don’t believe that music, dancing, the freedom of expression will be suppressed for much longer. They can’t—that’s against human nature.”
The tracks that follow build on this idea, in both the primal spirit of the instrumentals and the desperate yearning of the vocals, which come from ZHU and his collaborators.
Those collaborators include Channel Tress on “How Does It Feel,” Yuna on “Sky Is Crying,” Arctic Lake on the recently released “Yours,” Tinashe on the first single of the album, “ONLY,” as well as partywithray and Kota the Friend.
DREAMLAND 2021 follows up ZHU’s previous album, RINGOS DESERT, another brilliant album in its own right. On today’s release, ZHU shows that his sound can remain constant and recognizable while still being elevated to yet another level and continuing to evolve and grow.
Check it out below,
Photo via Joey Vitalari