With her fifth studio album, L.O.V.E, Zonke gives a masterclass in the artistry of remaining unwaveringly true to a signature sound but dialling it up, with searing confidence, to the heart of the current music moment.
This is evident with Tonight, the chart topping first single off Zonke’s first full-length album in three years. An irresistible slice of late-night sensuality, filtered over bass-heavy grooves and spliced with subtly suggestive piano parts, Tonight is a siren call for those who know that the only moment that counts is the present one.
The rest of the tracks on the album are unmistakably worldclass, starting with album opener, Ndilimpondo, a pristinely crafted song that’s swept forward by Zonke’s astonishingly clear vocals and hypnotic percussion. It’s followed by Uphelelwa Lixesha which combines a percussive groove (that recalls trip-hop’s atmospherics) with a muted electric guitar, in a startlingly inventive mix. Other tracks are as original – and gracious, among them Uyandithanda, a simple declaration of love, while the album’s title track and Best Days Of My Life shine with a freshness that’s a hallmark of Zonke’s current work.
L.O.V.E. has just one featured appearance – this time by Kwesta whose single-minded originality and record-breaking achievements echo Zonke’s own journey. His rap on Soul To Keep moves with cool poise around Zonke’s vocals, never over-shadowing the business at hand: a powerful coming together of two exceptional South African artists in a showcase of love’s complexities.
L.O.V.E stands for Living Out Various Emotions and the lyrics of the album are about what Zonke calls “the craziness and different emotions of love”. “I just went with my heart on this album and my heart wanted me to write about love – sometimes in a very light-hearted manner.
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