Jeremy Zucker released his debut album, “love is not dying,” on April 17, harnessing his experiences with heartbreak to create a fifteen-track indie-pop record that makes use of simple production and gorgeous lyrics.
Before signing to his current label, Republic Records, Zucker began his music career as an independent artist, releasing his first EP “Beach Island” in October 2015. Since then, Zucker has released seven EPs, 17 singles and collaborated with blackbear and Chelsea Cutler, defining his sound as instrumentally simple but lyrically developed.
Cinematic and lush, “still,” the album’s first track, builds in volume by using bird chirps and street sounds paired with wholesome dialogue between Zucker and some friends. Creating a contrast I enjoyed, Zucker samples an audio clip from a friend asking for silence, all while he crescendos the song’s production.
“we’re f----d, it’s fine,” the album’s second track, layers falsetto vocals with an acoustic guitar, working together to create a very calming tone. The track’s minimal production nicely complements its use of simple lyrics like, “There’s nothing like // Coming home and being in love.”
The album’s third track, “somebody loves you,” experiments with spaced-out high hats and kicks, all while telling a story about the hesitation to fall in love. I enjoyed the light guitar picking paired with descriptive lyrics like, “Spent four hours in the city // Just to see if you would miss me.”
Piano-driven and dreamy, “orchid,” the album’s fourth track, sounds of sorrow and self-discovery. The track builds to an instrumental break towards the end, leaving the listener sentimental about Zucker’s heartbreak.
“lakehouse,” the album’s fifth track, provokes a feeling we all strive to have after being heartbroken: finally getting over your ex. Building the track’s entire production around a conversational sound bite, Zucker describes moving on with the lyrics, “‘Cause being without you is soundin’ okay.”
Melancholic and relatable, “good for her,” the album’s sixth track, is heavy in tone all while lasting just under a minute. Capturing the struggle of watching an ex fall in love with someone new, Zucker uses slow piano and heart wrenching lyrics, “She’s with a new boy now // I know that they’re better off somehow.”
Lighthearted in tone, “not ur friend,” the album’s seventh track, pairs simple drums with witty lyrics, which work together to create the perfect diss track. The chorus’ quick pitch pattern complemented it’s candid lyrics, “Hang up if you ever think of calling // Me up, not afraid to say it, darling.”
“full stop,” the album’s eighth track, sounds similar to its first track, using elements of city noise such as street sounds and police sirens. Both vocally and instrumentally minimal, this track served as a nice break from the lyrically heavy tracks on the album.
One of my favorites from the record, “always, i’ll care,” the album’s eleventh track, pairs a catchy piano progression with triangle notes and lightly played bass. Utilizing synthy chords and simple lyrics, the track delves into the struggle of maintaining a long-distance friendship.
“brooks,” the album’s twelfth track, takes a drastically different approach than the rest of the album, sounding more like improvised stream-of-consciousness than a pre-written song. The track’s strikingly specific lyrics, told through monotone vocals, promoted a strange mood that left me feeling like I was party to Zucker’s wandering train of thought.
My favorite track off the album, “oh, mexico,” promotes a relaxing feeling, blending acoustic guitar and calming vocals that tell the story of someone falling into old patterns and habits. I discovered this track in Aug. 2019 and have many memories attached to it that make it really special to me.
Overall, I loved this album and how it portrayed heartache. Zucker sounds vulnerable at times and confident at others, painting a picture of heartbreak with astounding accuracy. Currently so early on in his career, Zucker is bound to grow as an artist, giving me great anticipation for how his life experiences will shape his sound on future projects.