Recommended Tracks: “Baby,” “On My Way,” “Only You”
Artists You May Like: Benny Sings, Phony Ppl, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
When you think of a “night out,” what comes to mind? Is it romantic, full of sunsets or moonlit strolls around town? Is it more fun and carefree, involving glow sticks and night clubs and cozy bars? Maybe your night out is up to chance, where you let the people and places around you decide where the evening will go. On City Talk, the latest album from halfnoise, Zac Farro sets out to create a project that feels “like a night out.” Its songs serve as a fitting soundtrack to those alone or surrounded by close friends and new lovers, immersed in the comforting glow of neon signs or streetlights, and seeking mysteries that are found around each bustling city street corner.
There is a fair share of love on this album, starting with “Cool Cat.” Have you ever been completely blown away by someone’s words or style? So much so that you can’t help but be impressed by this person every time you cross paths? With “Cool Cat,” Zac voices his amazement and admiration for someone who embodies such coolness, singing, “You’re so cool / Look at you / Such a cool cat” and “Well, I’ve never found a girl that could rock my little world / Like you.” This fascination goes deeper on “Baby,” where Zac can’t imagine being away from that special someone. Sweetly, he reveals, “I don’t wanna go to sleep / Even if you’re in my dreams / I don’t wanna be without baby,” making it a simple and summery love song. On “Love Fire,” Zac gets more intimate. The slower vibe of the track suits it well, creating a sensual and moody atmosphere that best fits the lyrics. Over the distorted bass lines, he shares his love and devotion with, “Believe me / You got what I need, you could free me / I’m set on fire by your love” and “You won’t ever be without me / You don’t have to scurry, baby,” completely invested.
While these tracks have a lightness to them, there are a few other tracks on City Talk that contain a little more weight. We sense some closure on “The Dove Has Flown,” as Zac is reminded about how much his life has changed after meeting someone. Between the saxophone and dancing flute work, he sings, “You gave me what I didn’t know I needed” and “You lit a fire in me and now I can see,” saying goodbye to his old life for good. He continues to touch on change with “On My Way.” The tone of the track is weary and blue as Zac describes what it is like to get older and move on with life. He sings, “One day you turn around / And you’re not the same” reminded of the past. But as we hear on “Today,” it is essential to keep progressing. Drifting along to the sound of scattered beeps and pings, Zac second-guesses his actions in a relationship. He criticizes with lines like, “Is it me? / I never know / Could it be?” and “I hate it when my words cause a full stop.” However, he doesn’t “wanna give up” in the end, hoping for a breakthrough someday.
For those who want the tracks that fall in the middle of pure praise and moody introspection, Zac gives us “Love & Affection,” “Snip Snap,” and “Only You.” From the zany effects, tight hi-hat, jubilant piano chords, and fun flute riffs on “Love & Affection,” we step into a dreamy world. He is craving the love that is felt on tracks like “Baby” and “Love Fire,” singing, “Come on, baby / I’ve been dreaming of your love and affection / Hold on, baby / I keep searching for your love and attention,” wanting more. The vibes are just as dreamy on “Snip Snap,” where Zac also asks for “more tender touch.” As he declares, “Snip snap / I need you back,” eager for that connection, the tropical beats and twinkling piano prevent the track from getting too desperate. There is also “Only You,” which brings attention to unwavering support and trust. The spunky riffs give the song character and keep things afloat as Zac sings, “Only you can help me survive,” putting someone very important in his life on the spot.
On the whole, there are so many ways to summarize City Talk. It’s lively, hip, sharp – traits that make it a worthy member of the contemporary scene. Still, Zac is careful to keep it a contained project in that the special effects don’t get out of control, refrains don’t get tiresome, and the vocals don’t get too elaborate. When making a nostalgia-infused album such as this, where there are melodies and grooves that are reminiscent of songs from the past, it is easy to get too playful and creative. Sure, the instrumental tracks “Thank You Hollywood” and “Coconut Island” let the creativity run wild, yet Zac’s experience as a producer, photographer, multi-instrumentalist, and overall brilliant creator pays off as each musical element serves a purpose throughout the project. Zac has really captured the feeling of being out in the city in the end, sharing with us thoughts and emotions that could occur while winding through streets alone or nestled in a cool diner with good friends. Whether you are in total awe of the people you are with or experiencing sensations that are a little more subdued and reflective, City Talk has you covered.
You can listen to City Talk on platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.