Review by Jamie Glenn
“The show’s about to start, don’t be late!”
Zach Callison has finally released his full length EP A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak! After the three leading singles “War,” “She Don’t Know” and “Curtain Call” were unveiled earlier this year, the latest effort from Callison hits listeners with a theatrical, rap influenced, jazz heavy EP that is full of fun on the run.
A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak may be a tongue twisting title, but it embodies the characteristics of a theatrical album and offers fun and emotion for those who listen to it. The opening track, “Phantom Love” asks listeners to “step inside the life of the man weak enough to follow you.” This song emphasizes a desire for another that isn’t felt in return. The upbeat backdrop of this track sets a specific tone aside longing lyrics that play with the ears and minds of listeners far and wide.
“I wanted A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak to be a time capsule of my coming-of-age in the LA entertainment scene. I had a need for a project that recorded the progression of emotions and situations I found myself facing after being set adrift post-love and sans purpose while being under [the] intense scrutiny of public image; the ongoing story that moves with the tracklist was designed in chronological order to mimic real-life experiences. As a result, it’s simultaneously a call for help, a rallying cry, and intensely personal to me,” says Callison.
Every other track on this record is presented as an interlude of instrumentals and offers moments of breathing room for listeners to relax and take everything in. This is where fans will really be able to hear Zach Callison’s strongest moments of growth in between the header hitting tracks of the record. Proving that even though Zach Callison may be new to the game, he does have a few awesome tricks up his sleeve instrumentally.
“Nightmare” comes next in the EP and hits listeners with an emotion that can only be described as a mix between sadness and anger, especially with moments like, “boy versus brain, white noise versus the sane, white noise is the same.” This track could really ring deep for some listeners given its intimacy and subjects of mental illness. The backdrop female vocals offered alongside a drum beat and guitar is beautiful and fearless all at the same time. “Nightmare” is what listeners would want to find in the middle of an action movie sequence, it’s heavy highlighting with raw and humanizing vocals, much like what is presented in the Netflix series Sense8.
Moments in “Curtain Call” allows listeners to hear a Zach Callison that showcases his roots and a beautiful side of himself. This track also offers a layer of secondary vocals for those who may not know the language translations that are sung throughout the song.
Though this album as a whole is good, the track, “She Don’t Know” is where Zach Callison shines the brightest, finding the perfect balance between his lyrical, theater style. Not to mention this track echoes the hunger of love and lust in a way that will have listeners hungry for more. In lyrics like, “They say it all kills with thrills and I hope it does.” This track is the most complete and fun of the batch within the EP.
Zach Callison is the perfect mix between what some may recognize as a “Death of a Bachelor” style Brendon Urie with his theatrical content while managing to still carry a Mac Miller smooth lyrical style with his catchy secondary rap moments. A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak shows a Zach Callison that is the kind of guy you want playing to pick you up or just to have fun when something’s got you down.
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