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Clarity by Zedd
Album: ClarityReleased: 2012Charted:
Anton Zaslavski is a Russian-German producer and DJ who records under the name of Zedd. He broke through in the US in 2012 reaching #38 on the Billboard 200 with his debut album, Clarity
, as well as co-producing Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj's hit single "Beauty and a Beat
The album's title track found Zedd hooking up with a relatively unknown singer called Foxes. He explained to Digital Spy
: "I really like working with unique and unknown artists as they usually bring something fresh to a song. For 'Clarity', I was looking for a certain type of singer as it's a very difficult song to sing. She nails it."
The collaboration came about after Zedd complimented Foxes on her track "Youth" over Skype. The Russian-German producer then offered the singer the chance to take on this EDM tune. "If someone had said to me, 'Sing this dance song,' I probably would have said no," Foxes admitted to Billboard magazine. "But I heard the song, and it was really emotional, and I felt like it was not too far from what I was about... I remember first listening to it and thinking, 'I'd be so stupid to not do this.'"
This 128 BPM, synth-driven Dance hit has an unusual structure, with the short, but memorable chorus showing up four times in the song. An instrumental break occurs early in the song, and is squeezed in between the first two repetitions of the chorus. There are just two verses, but they run 30 seconds each - an eternity in the Dance genre - with the song dipping to near silence before the second one. This is followed by the third chorus, which around the 3-minute mark goes into a chanting bridge as the beat builds. Another break follows, with Foxes singing bits of the chorus lyrics ("Why are you my clarity...") until it resolves with that last chorus.
All this content pushes the running time of the song to 4:31, making it one of the longer Dance hits of its time.
Zedd wrote this song with Matthew Koma, Skylar Grey, and the producer/DJ Porter Robinson. Koma can be heard on another Clarity
track, "Spectrum." Grey's composed parts of the T.I. song "Castle Walls
" and the Eminem/Rihanna collaboration "Love The Way You Lie
." Her talent for writing impassioned lyrics is apparent on this track, which finds Foxes singing about a doomed relationship that she can't leave behind.
This won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Both Zedd and Foxes received gongs for their contributions. "Receiving a Grammy is very strange," Foxes reported to Q magazine. "They take it back off you straightaway, then it arrives in the post a few months later. When mine turned up I thought it was a package from IKEA."