Album Review: Ringos Desert

Vlad Voinich, A&E Writer

In April 2018, American musician and composer ZHU released the first part of his new album Ringos Desert. Many fans and critics have been waiting for his complete creation since then. Finally, on Sept. 7, he dropped the full album which was immediately recognized by his followers. Ringos Desert is comprised of 14 tracks, and we are finally able to listen to all of them. Ninety-six percent of Google users who had a chance to listen to the songs, liked this album. So, what makes it so special?

Firstly, ZHU discusses the topic of love on all 14 tracks. Instead of a one-sided view, he presents many outlooks on romantic relationships. This move denounces the perfection and easiness that are often associated with love. The album showcases how versatile love can be, how differently people feel, contrary to stigmatizing it. For example, in “Guilty Love,” ZHU addresses the problem of cheating and how hard it is for people to accept their choices, to overcome them and to live with them. A sad vibe that’s present in the track creates a melancholic atmosphere that’s spiced up by a guitar riff in the middle of the song. In “Love That Hurts,” ZHU talks about unhealthy relationships that can cause pain, both mental and physical. He doesn’t offer a solution to these problems in the song, yet he is able to acknowledge their presence in our society, stressing the importance of talking about unhealthy relationships as away of preventing them from happening.

Secondly, ZHU, as always, collaborated with other brilliant artists such as TOKiMONSTA, Majid Jordan and of course, Tame Impala! “Coming Home” featuring Majid Jordan has the most soothing energy on the album. In this song, ZHU and Jordan were able to create an atmosphere of coziness and a feeling of peace. The line, “I love coming home to you,” is repeated multiple times as a mantra or a reassuring statement, and we, the listeners, believe it. ZHU’s collaboration with Australian Kevin Parker, the leader of Tame Impala, is reflected in “My Life” where the two try to confront those who ask people to silence their problems to disregard them. Parker’s sweet voice tells us to not “tell [him] it’s all in [his] mind,” that his issues aren’t real and palpable. Importantly, this is the last song in the album.

Thirdly, and lastly, ZHU uses multiple musical instruments in this album rather than just sticking to electronic music, and it works out just fine! In “Waters of Monaco” and “Save Me,” the musician uses a saxophone to create melancholic vibes that reflect his persona’s sadness. In “Save Me,” the saxophone part sounds like a cry for help, and in “Waters of Monaco,” the same instrument is used to strengthen a question: what you gonna do when my love is gone? Through integration of guitar riffs and saxophone parts, ZHU connects moods and textures and that are not often used simultaneously in electronic music.