1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Snowflake”

Crazy Over You – Zen Arcade

Snowflake - Zen Arcade

Snowflake – Zen Arcade

I don’t know if you, like me, were first introduced to the band Zen Arcade through this little gem, ‘Crazy Over You’, possibly through the 2001 5FM compilation album ‘Showcase 3: Unearthed’. If you were, then probably, like me, you were immediately taken by the group as this is as good an introduction to a band as you could want.

It starts with a broody guitar, drum and vocals and then these are joined by a slightly ominous violin (or perhaps cello, I’m not great with telling the difference), as it gathers momentum, sliding effortlessly from the quieter part into the soaring and aching chorus. This song gathers together a number of vital ingredients – a great vocal, edgy guitars, perfect string instrumentation, measured drumming – and, under the masterful production hand of Neal Snyman, takes these individual bits, which all shine on their own, and counjures up a magical synergy to create a quite perfect six minutes and six seconds of rock.

It is hard to believe that this song is nearly twenty years old as it still sound fresh and alive all these years later. When I first heard this, I immediately put it quite high in my personal top 100 favourite SA songs list, mindful of the fact that new releases tend to enter that list quite high and then slowly sink as repeated listens wear off the gleam. But with ‘Crazy Over You’, the song still remains a firm favourite of mine and still rides high in my all time favourite SA songs list. I guess one could say I’m still crazy over it.

Where to find it:
Snowflake – Zen Arcade (2001), Zen Arcade, ZACD001

Video:

Up – Zen Arcade

Up – Zen Arcade

Snowflake - Zen Arcade

Snowflake – Zen Arcade

‘Up’ by Zen Arcade is a grunge song to chill out to. It has a cascading guitar riff that you can sort of glide around on like going on a lazy Sunday stroll down one of those twirling water slides. You keep expecting the song to burst out of its chill straitjacket but it never does and this creates a bit of nervous tension as the Zensters keep tight control of themselves, never letting ‘Up’ spill over into the noisy splash of the wave pool.

Iain McKenzie’s vocals weave a brittle spell over the song, vying with the guitar riff for centre stage. Neither wins the battle as the listener is absorbed into the intensity of the voice and the beauty of the instrument. The song was taken from the band’s debut album ‘Snowflake’ and has all the suble touch of a snowflake gently brushing your life before it melts off to the fade.

‘Up’ gave Zen Arcade their second number one on the SA Rockdigest charts in 2001. They would go on to score 3 more number 1’s, but never with such a deft touch of a song.

Where to find it:
Snowflake – Zen Arcade (2001), Zen Arcade, ZACD001

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