20-year-old, Arizona native Zella Day (born Zella Day Kerr) just released her first full-length album Kicker, and I have to say, I am blown away. Zella’s sultry and cryptic sound is unlike any other, and I am fascinated by her individuality and creativity. Kicker is an incredible album full of unique and fully engaging tracks.
The album’s first song “Jerome” is a haunting and ethereal track with a wild west theme quite similar to that of the album’s lead single “Hypnotic”. Zella sings with an effortless tone but still manages to sound passionate and full of emotion. Following this track is “High,” one of the more percussion and bass-heavy tracks on the album. This track is a gateway into the sheer power in Zella’s voice and lets the listener hear the rawness in her vocals as well.
“Ace of Hearts” and “1965” are two of the most mellow and relaxed songs on this album. They both emanate Lana Del Rey vibes, and the listener feels like he or she is drifting through time when they are listening to these tracks. Next up is “East of Eden,” a fun song aided by some of the best lyrics on the album. Zella sings “Tiger on the prowl / East of Eden / Coming for you now / Keep me from the cages under the control / Running in the dark to find East of Eden” and I am instantly transfixed. This track is definitely one of my favorites on the album.
Another one of my favorites is the album’s lead single “Hypnotic.” After discovering this song on iTunes’ free downloads, I immediately fell in love. “Hypnotic” has a strong western-theme, and Zella can even be seen driving through the desert in the music video. Zella’s voice truly hypnotizes the listener in this song and makes it the perfect single for this album.
The seventh track “Mustang Kids” (featuring Baby E) has an interesting acoustic vibe to it, aided by a synthesized clapping sound. Baby E’s verse and harmony with Zella in the chorus add an extra depth to this song and make it truly intriguing. Named after the 1976 movie of the same name, “The Outlaw Josey Wales” makes several references to the film and connects the person of interest in Zella’s song to the main character of the movie, Josey Wales. This track has a heavy trumpet influence, which separates it from the other songs on Zella’s album.
“Jameson” is an acoustic track, in which Zella’s voice is only aided by the plucking of an acoustic guitar. The rawness in Zella’s voice seeps through once again in this track, and as she sings, she offers up her soul for the listener to see. “Shadow Preachers” also showcases the raw and untouched side of Zella’s voice. This somber track is perfect for the near end of the record because it starts to wrap everything up and tie up all the loose ends.
The second to last track “Sweet Ophelia” employs the use of unique instruments that sound almost like wind chimes mixed with doorbells. The slight shakiness in Zella’s tone is showcased in this track, and it fits perfectly into the vibrant chorus. The album wraps up with the twelfth track “Compass,” which couldn’t be a better fit for the end of the LP. It includes lyrics such as “Compass points you home / Calling out from the east / Compass points you anywhere / Closer to me / If we make it out alive from the depths of the sea / Compass points you anywhere / Closer to me / Where you are, I will be / Miles high, in the deep / Where you are, I will be / Anywhere, in between.”
Overall, Kicker is an extremely diverse album that has something for everyone on it. Each and every track is unique, and Zella’s voice sounds incredible on all of them. I definitely recommend this album to everyone who loves pop, indie, or alternative music, and I can assure you that you will love it.