American desert pop stalwart Zella Day has released her third single of the year, the bubbly and slow-burning ‘Girls’.
Slightly pop, slightly noir, and completely fascinating, Day is one of those artists who never does the same thing twice. ‘Girls’ comes with incongruously fuzzy guitar lines and live drums that sound like they were recorded in the worlds largest echo chamber, contrasting with the fairly low-key strut of the track’s mellotron buzz and sultry vocal lines.
“Earth angels born from the muse,” Day explains about the songs genesis. “‘Girls’ is a mentality or an embodiment of feminine spirit available to all through the communication of self-expression. To be beautiful, sensual, feminine is not exclusive to one’s sex but a universal power that all humans can experience. This song is a celebration and an invitation to be GIRLS.”
Around her, Day has assembled a goddamn all star team of hired hands to bring ‘Girls’ to life. That includes country rock producer extraordinaire Jay Joyce behind the glass, co-writer John Paul White, best known for his work in The Civil Wars, bassist Daniel Tichenor, taking a break from his day job with Cage the Elephant, and drummer Carla Azar, who you might know as an absolute monster musician with the likes of Jack White and Autolux.
If I had one complaint about ‘Girls’, it only came after I learned who was playing on it. Azar murders drum skins for a living, possessing so much earthshaking power and technical prowess that she could honestly stake a strong claim as the rightful heir to John Bonham. That’s all to say that she doesn’t get much to do in ‘Girls’, just a few fills and some steady rhythm, which is held off until the song’s second half. Obviously, it’s all great arranging, meaning to serve the song rather than highlight the player, but damn if it doesn’t feel like a missed opportunity.
But that’s just me quibbling, because ‘Girls’ is a great track that plays to all of Zella Day’s strengths as an artist. Bizarre and unconcerned with appealing to the mainstream, but always happy to throw in plenty of hooks and harmonies to reel you in, Day is sun-soaked major label artist that actually has substance and true artistic talent. Better yet, she proves it with each new single she releases. ‘Girls’ is only the latest in a nearly half-decade hot streak.
Check out the video for ‘Girls’ down below.