If you went to sleep last night wondering if the current electronic dance music craze has finally run its course, the answer is no. And this movement that’s largely been fueled by European DJs and producers such as David Guetta, Avicci, Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia can now add another Continental contributor to that list: Zedd.
Zedd—whose real name is Anton Zaslavski—was born in Russia but grew up in Germany. Though he’s relatively new on the scene Stateside, he’s already pocketed a Grammy (in 2014) for Best Dance Recording (“Clarity”). And he’s attracted notice from some high-profile collaborators, namely Selena Gomez and OneRepublic’s omnipresent Ryan Tedder, who together wrote “I Want You to Know” with Zedd (along with one other contributor named KDrew).
As is often the case with EDM, it’s not the top-credited band or performer whose voice(s) we hear on this song. It’s Selena’s that swoops and soars as Zedd supplies the stabbing, dance-ready synth beats surrounding her.
What does she sing about in that sonic swirl? “I Want You to Know” is a simple, straightforward and mostly upbeat song on which Selena declares her faithfulness to a soul mate with whom she shares lots of common ground. “I want you to know that it’s our time,” she begins. “You and me bleed the same light.” That’s followed by this promise: “I want you to know that I’m all yours/You and me run the same course.”
For Gomez, resisting her guy’s charms is futile, and she’s quick to inform us, “I’m slippin’ down a chain reaction/And here I go, here I go, here I go, go/And once again I’m yours in fractions/It takes me down, pulls me down, pulls me down low.” Still, she seems to characterize the romance as a shared refuge, singing, “Honey, it’s raining tonight/But storms always have an eye.” And she tells her man, “I’m better under your reflection.”
The only lines that arguably imply something cloudier come when Selena sings, “Tell me you’re covered tonight/Or tell me lies, tell me lies, lies.” It’s the lone moment that suggests something darker than the earnest, bubbling optimism we hear pretty much everywhere else.
The video focuses almost entirely on Selena, who is a whirling dervish on the dance floor. Distilling the essence of the dance club phenomenon quite effectively, Selena is sweat-drenched and her slightly intoxicated-looking visage radiates passionate ecstasy as she loses herself sensually and rhythmically in Zedd’s pulsating beat. It’s an experience, the images inadvertently suggest, that’s about as close to transcendence as many people are capable of getting these days. And the whole thing is structured around Selena occasionally going to the restroom, oddly enough, where she always checks her look, kisses herself in the mirror, and returns to the party wearing increasingly revealing outfits.
A postscript: It seems Miss Selena Gomez is finally putting her famous ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber fully behind her, with many entertainment news outlets reporting that she and Zedd are now officially a couple. She recently told MTV, “He’s this cute little German, and he’s got really beautiful eyes, and he’s very sweet and funny.”
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.