Karen Zoid - Drown Out The Noise

Karen Zoid. (Photo: Morne van Zyl)
Karen Zoid. (Photo: Morne van Zyl)

What we thought:

Karen Zoid needs no introduction. Synonymous with Afrikaans treasures such as "Afrikaners Is Plesierig", "Engel" and "Deurmekaar", she has cemented herself in the Afrikaans music industry since the release of her debut album, Poles Apart, in 2001. And now, she is back with her first English album in seven years, Drown Out The Noise.

Filled with powerful rock ballads, poppy tunes as well as emotionally moving songs, Drown Out The Noise is a musical feast. Karen’s maturity shines through in the musical arrangements; it’s big, full-bodied and musically sound. And of course, it also features some hardcore, kick-ass rock!

Tapping into her darker side, Karen touches on some issues close to her heart. On familiar album opener "Drown Out The Noise", Karen emphasises how important it is to sometimes just switch off from the information overload we have to deal with every day: When you drown out the noise you become still, you become whole / When you drown out the noise, I know you will find your way home / Because you are the ocean.

The gutsy, angry "Justice Justice" was written in memory of 17-year-old Anene Booysen, whose rape and murder shocked the country to its core. Karen, never being one who shies away from the truth, sings: Lock away the rapists / And throw away the key / Justice! Justice! / Come to thee!

Having made waves with the song and video for "Toe Vind Ek Jou" on Francois van Coke’s debut album, Karen teams up once again with Francois on "Smile" – a poppy, catchy love ballad that can totally pass as the soundtrack to the next big Hollywood romcom.

Other standout songs include the pure rocking madness that is "Secrets and Lies", the Madiba inspired "Troublemaker" featuring Freshlyground’s Zolani Mahola and the heartwarming ballad "Nightingale".

Karen singing in English may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but she sure makes a compelling argument with Drown Out The Noise.

Best track:

"Smile" featuring Francois van Coke. This song is just one of those songs that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Worst track:

"Where There’s A Will". The intro is almost identical to the theme song for CSI: New York, which is The Who’s song, "Baba O'Riley". It just seems like all the parts of the song don't fit together that well.

Sounds like:

Karen Zoid in 2015. Nothing less and nothing more, this is Karen Zoid alright!