The purposely mysterious EDM darling ZHU, best known for the ubiquitous hit “Faded,” (two years old already, it’s true!) returns with a video for new track “Palm of My Hand,” from his debut album GENERATIONWHY.
The track aims for something grand, expansive, portentous. Instead, ”Palm of My Hand” feels rote, empty, a retread of what’s been done countless times; devoid of the pulsating humanity that courses through the veins of the best EDM.
“Palm of My Hand” opens with airy synths and a meandering guitar line reminiscent Joe Satriani at his pretentious, ultra-compressed and plasticine worst (or, perhaps more apt, late '80s-early '90s Santana, when he was coming down from the drug-fueled whirlwind that was his band’s meteoric rise and heyday, and reconnecting with the universe via his new age experimentations). After a minute and a half there’s finally hints of a beat, but when it drops it’s an anti-climactic eight bar program-and-press-repeat exercise in monotony.
And so the song proceeds, not offensive or challenging, but not particularly exciting either. More synths here. Piano there. Generic EDM hook vocals on cue. It’s the soundtrack to a melodramatic epilogue: Tubbs and Crockett looking out over the moon’s reflection on the Atlantic, the air thick with salt air, Aquanet and Soul Glo.
The “Palm of My Hand” video, though, is a bit more ambitious, engaging and the saving grace this time around. It’s a bold endeavor, channeling the striking film noir aspects of Frank Miller’s best Sin City work, but with the slightly anarchic street art aesthetic of Banksy. We’re guided through a dark and mysterious chase scene, brimming with little moments of nothingness, a clever counter to the stark bursts of action and symbolism that string the experimental visuals together.
Long story short, “Palm of My Hand” is a song that feels like it should be number 7 or 8 on an album, a medium where the song’s energy (or lack thereof) would be best suited as a change of pace and palette cleanser before the project turns left and takes the listener on an audio jaunt more fitting to ZHU’s talents. The video, though, is what excels, and is worth more than a cursory glance.