SA’s Queen of rock is strongest when she just tells it as it is. Karen Zoid is known for her clever and penetrating lyrics; her distinctive voice and ability to write brave and delicately rendered songs.
Thematically the new album comments on the “destructive seduction” of the information overload that we have to deal with in the modern world. Karen comments: “Times are hard. But that doesn’t mean that we must withdraw. We need to find our way back to ourselves. We must be able to be quiet before knowing what to say and what to do. And from there go wholeheartedly for what we want in life.”
“Drown Out The Noise” was written and recorded over a period of a year. It is her first English album in seven years and Karen absolutely loved being back in studio with friend and producer Theo Crous.
Every track adheres to robust song writing principles. The tone switches dramatically between classic rock arrangements, powerful ballads and deeply moving compositions. Karen says that she wanted to make a full bellied album with bells and whistles and grand arrangements. She comments that it was important for her to make an effort to write and record a proper album. “It will be sad if everyone just records singles. It doesn`t allow for a complete story to take shape.”
The songs on the album touch nerve and heart. The gutsy emotion and pop-defying delivery offers an album that sounds like nothing in the world right now. “Justice Justice” was written in memory of Anene Booysen. Zoid was deeply disturbed by Anene`s story. She comments “Crime in this country is a topic we all are concerned about. The rape statistics in our country are exceedingly high. It troubles me greatly. We need justice.”
“Troublemaker” is a special Madiba song, co-written and recorded with Zolani Mahola, lead singer from Freshlyground. Zoid says that they have been working together on projects for a long time, but this is the first time that they have written a song together. It was a special time in studio, as well as very emotional for them, because Madiba died during the week that they were busy creating this song. Zoid says that she loves the 100 year old chant that Zolani worked into the end of the song. It is a traditional Xhosa chant that calls for the revealing of the next Troublemaker/Peacemaker.
Karen also collaborated with Francois van Coke on the track “Smile.” Their Afrikaans single “Toe Vind Ek Jou” that is featured on Van Coke`s solo album has had more than 250 000 views on Youtube, in less than a week and is was the first South African song to debut at no.1 on the Kia Top 40 SA with iTunes chart on KFM and Highveld Stereo.
“We`re all gonna die Someday.” is a dark tongue in the cheek song. This title ties in with the overall theme of the album. Karen hopes that the album will encourage people to go back to find the spark within, “that still place from where we can all dream big again.” She adds: “Stop being so hooked in by the noise of the world. We are fuelling the fire of mass hysteria. You have one life. Live it from your gut, not social media.”
“Drown out the Noise” is a lovely jolt of energy-punching tunes that will fill you with exhilaration. A refreshing album that will stand out because of Karen`s unapologetic, raw take on things. A must have for your music collection.