Photo: Neil Krug
The Zella Day that fans saw on her debut album Kicker represented the intersection of pop culture and outlaw country. At that intersection sat the romanticization of the Wild West that created an entire generation of Western films. Drawing inspiration from her hometown of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, Day effortlessly painted a vast mural of lawlessness and seduction that mesmerized her audience.
Following an album with as strong a persona as Kicker, Day faced the possibility of being boxed into her brand of the modern woman's Americana. However, the songstress makes it abundantly clear with her first two post-hiatus singles that she refuses to be constrained by any label - genre or otherwise.
"People Are Strangers" arrives as the first glimpse at what will be a five-track EP titled Where Does The Devil Hide. The single follows the release of "You Sexy Thing" in October, which was her first major appearance on streaming services since 2016's "Man On The Moon / Hunnie Pie."
Compared to her colorful rendition of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing," "People Are Strangers" manifests a clarity and composed introspection that once took a backseat to Day's unapologetic spirit in Kicker. Having penned the song on her bathroom floor after discovering the "ugly truth" about a lover, Day lets her resignation take the reins as she muses, "They tell you that they'll never tell you a lie / Put you in a spell to get you on their side."
The layered guitar instrumentals thread together a calming soundscape that shines a spotlight on Day's beautiful lilt. The single, which blends trademarks of '80s soft rock with soul's swaying cadence and emotional candor, is a clear testament to Day's ability to transcend the image prescribed to her by Kicker.
The accompanying visual for "People Are Strangers" stays true to the single's somber restraint, presenting a hazy daydream where dancing shadows flicker around Day's mysterious silhouette.
Where Does The Devil Hide is slated for release on August 28th via Concord Records.
Listen to "People Are Strangers" below: