Russian EDM producer Zedd has a knack for highlighting female vocalists in unexpected ways, and that’s exactly what he does with Alessia Cara on their new single “Stay.” As the name suggests, the song is about wanting someone in a relationship to stick around a bit longer, but over coasting synths and Cara’s own powerful alto, the message assumes a greater importance. Even if it weren’t for the eerie lyric video, there’s still something markedly dystopian about this song, given its obsession with time and loss.
Most good pop songs are about taking a simple message about love and blasting it all the way up to ten. This song has overtones of Taylor Swift’s “All You Had To Do Was Stay” — actually the words of the chorus are pretty dang similar — but Zedd’s spaceship production is a far cry from 1989‘s immaculate ’80s pop palette.
Perhaps this will be the next hit for Cara, whose early single “Here” is the only thing that has really done well on the charts so far. Her debut album, which was called Know-It-All, came out in late 2015. This is one of her biggest collaborations since then, and considering the success of Zedd’s other most popular track “Clarity,” off his debut of the same name, helped catapult British singer Foxes to prominence, “Stay” is sure to have a positive effect.
Zedd spoke on the difference between his and Cara’s music, and how the song slots nicely right between those two poles.
I think this song is right in the middle between where Alessia is musically and where I am and that’s what’s so exciting about it,” Zedd said in a press release.. “I’ve been trying to knock down barriers around music genres and this is another step for me to walk towards a musical future where I can create any genre I want without people putting me in a box.”
For Alessia, EDM is the same as pop: “It still feels like me, just an elevated pop sound,” she said. “I don’t know that I would be in this bold on my own stuff so it’s cool to try these things with collaborators.”
Watch the dystopian lyric video above and expect to hear this all over the radio this summer, right alongside the new Coldplay/Chainsmokers collab.