German pop songstress Zoe.LeelA describes her music as “New Plastic Soul,” and to be honest I can’t think of a better category to put it in.
This 6-song EP, appropriately titled Queendom Come, is a bold statement of feminist energy and sexual tension. Zoe already has quite a following in Germany and France, but it remains to be seen whether her very European sound will translate well across the pond.
Zoe sings in English, which could mean that she’s aiming for an English-speaking market with this release, or she could just be leaving her international options as open as possible. Either way, I think she’s done a good job balancing radio playability with her unique personality traits. Occasionally there are synth sounds reminiscent of mid-’80s Depeche Mode, which is a good thing in my book, and yes, there’s a touch of Lady Gaga in there, as well. But the mixture is not derivative – it’s just that this is an artist who enjoys wearing her influences on her sleeve.
Zoe does not have the strongest singing voice I’ve ever heard, but then again, neither does Madonna, and look where that career ended up. I think the key here is a strong sense of self and of direction, and it certainly comes across that Zoe knows both who she is and where she wants to go. If anything, this collection of songs might be a bit too personal for some casual pop listeners, and if she’s ever looking to sign with a major label, I’m sure the first thing they’d do is ask her to rein it in a bit. For my indie-label tastes, though, I like her style right where it is.
The actual Queendom Come download is impressive for several reasons. For one thing, the mp3s are high quality 320mbps, and it’s clear that whoever mixed and mastered these tracks has done net releases before. There’s also some promotional information included with the album, as well as a folder of high-res promo photos, perfect for wallpaper. Too many net artists seem to think that since they’re not shipping a physical disc, they don’t need to bother with nice packaging or even complete tags on the song files. That Zoe has put this pretty-and-polished set together so well shows that she means business. I expect we’ll see much more from her in the future.
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