ZZ Ward - The Storm

by Kevin Wierzbicki

While "The Storm," the title cut from ZZ Ward's new album, does actually make reference to seriously bad weather in its lyrics, make no mistake; the song and the better part of the entire album is about the kind of tempest that only occurs when hot love has run its course, leaving those involved with nothing but cold ashes.

Fortunately ZZ can speak to this type of situation extremely eloquently and she makes it a blast here for the listener to wade through relationship detritus. The album begins with "Ghost" where Ward hum-sings a brief and wordless intro that gives the song a similar vibe to her earlier hit "Put the Gun Down;" she hasn't picked up the gun but she's pulled the trigger on a relationship that soured because of infidelity on the part of her ex, and she pointedly signs off with the line "We're ghost, and I'm dancing on our grave."

As sure as the music here is excellent, the happiness factor is out with the trash; Fantastic Negrito plays the part of a hesitant lover as he duets with Ward on the slinky "Cannonball;" Michael "Fitz" Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums likewise duets with ZZ on the catchy "Domino" where the aura is so bouncy that it belies the fact that this relationship too has/is about to come to an end. Ward coos and howls through the gospel blues of "Let it Burn" and even points the finger of responsibility at herself ("From the moment I failed you…) but the song is a sort of turning point in the album; now she's reveling in the aftermath.

There is no animas involved in the tender and acoustic "If U Stayed" either; Ward merely offers one last expression of continuing love to an ex, hoping that as the two go their separate ways that she's occasionally thought of, and fondly.

Closing track "Ride" is designated as a bonus track, probably because it differs in subject matter from all the heartbreak that precedes it; the song ostensibly is about a carefree and slightly careless ("Yeah I don't stop just cause it's red…") joy ride but it is really a metaphor for a relationship, one that is just beginning and going great guns for the moment.

Ward's sultry voice and her knack for catchy vocal phrasing makes The Storm an enjoyable listen all the way through for all comers, and those who happen to be recently heartbroken will find a hefty cathartic here too.

Get your copy here.


ZZ Ward - The Storm

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