ZZ Ward "Til the Casket Drops" Album Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 07:41:51
You can practically smell the smoke rising from ZZ Ward's full-length debut, Til The Casket Drops.
It's not from a gun or a cigarette either. It's from the sheer fire contained in the album's 13 songs. Ward burns down all expectations and boundaries and crafts a collection of alternative blues that's truly unlike anything out there—totally original and yet wholly otherworldly…
Shimmering keys glisten over a muted acoustic guitar at the start of the title track. Ward's soulful croon creeps to the forefront, and she immediately transfixes. She assures, "I'm ready for this war", and you can't help but believe her.
The real majesty of the record emanates from her impenetrable delivery. Ward's voice isn't matched by anyone else in pop right now, in terms of elegance and grit. "Put the Gun Down" swings from swaggering delta soul into a bullet-riddled refrain that will blow you away. Tipping from an electronic hum into a punch-y hip hop bounce, "Blue Eyes Blind" blinks with just the right amount of clever spite. Rap impresario Kendrick Lamar makes an inspired and infectious cameo on "Cryin Wolf", as Ward hits an impressively low register. The 3AM haze cast by "Criminal" is magically melancholic, while "365 Days" marries the heft of "When the Levee Breaks" with the best lyrics Fiona Apple never wrote.
People often complain that there's no one original around anymore. Til the Casket Drops introduces the most original voice and sound in a decade, and it's bound to be a landmark for Ward. It's all about to go up in flames so get a front row seat now because she's going to be one of the biggest stars in the world soon.
Have you heard Til the Casket Drops?