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Album Review: ZIAN’s “Burden” is a Swiss gem

ZIAN [/tsian/] might still be unfamiliar to you, but the Swiss singer deserves the spotlight. The 20-something singer from Basel, Switzerland, gained instant popularity with his debut song “Show You” at the end of 2020. He added two other hits to this success: “Grateful” and “Old Again,” in 2021. He released his debut album, “Burden,” in January 2022. 

Given that Switzerland has recognized his talents nationally with two awards and multiple performances, the singer’s international recognition is hopefully only a matter of time. This self-taught singer often uses the piano to support his emotional and meaningful words. ZIAN sings from the heart and finds meaning in every situation. 

Image via Keystone

Let us look at the album “Burden” (Sony Music), which starts off with the short title track. The song hits home for those who have been feeling burdened or excluded by life, society or a specific person. The lyrics flow smoothly and communicate powerful emotions that are foreign to few.

“I saw the world stopped turning / While deep inside I was burning / The life you gave me was a burden / And now I know love keeps hurting,” ZIAN sings.

“Show You” is more of a traditional love song, sung directly to the recipient. The official video, available on YouTube, gives another dimension to the song, showing a battle both against an exterior power and against the self.

Image via Kostas Maros

“Grateful” sounds like an apology and an expression of gratitude at the same time. On one hand, the text shows how the person has hurt and left someone, almost as if they had no other choice. On the other hand, it expresses how grateful that person is for having changed because of the other, and how they cherish those memories. 

The fifth song, “See The Light,” can hit home for a lot of people. It talks about being judged unfairly, but there is a bright side. The song celebrates having one person who will always be by your side, and make you feel better about life. 

“We Need Time” can be about all aspects of life. It can be about love. “I thought the faster she’d be gone / The stronger I’ll become,” the second verse says. – The chorus comments on life in general: “But what if I’m giving up ‘cause I’m afraid / And what if life gives me more than I can take.” The visualizer, available on YouTube, shows the song’s themes, strategy and patience, with a game of chess.

“Goes Up” talks about the the good and the bad parts of a relationship. This song has a great example of ZIAN’s powerful sentences: “Overwhelmed by all the thoughts we never had.”

Copyright: BELA

The eighth song, “Coming Home,” expresses ZIAN’s own story. It is about moving away and coming home. It’s about realizing that you have been away for too long, and about not giving up on the dreams that you had as a kid. It is about coming home (in a literal or figurative sense) and working on those dreams. 

The penultimate song of this album, “Old Again,” is about loss. The visualizer, available on YouTube, and certain lyrics suggest that the song is about grieving someone’s death. However, the song also discusses losing friends, family or acquaintances due to personal, social or distance-related situations. 

The final song, “Betray The Loss,” starts with a spoken knowledge about life. “In the beginning there are questions, by the end we hope for answers,” ZIAN states. It is a song about life, pain, love, acting out of character, acceptance and moving forward. 

Finally, ZIAN’s newest song (that is not on the album) is “Life Of Lies,” which talks about seeing someone who hurt you pretend to be and feel better than they actually are.  

Image via Jens Ries

For those who enjoy watching interviews, unfortunately any interview with ZIAN that is available at the moment is either in German or in the dialect that he speaks. Luckily, his songs are all in English, and the creative music videos/visualizers allow you to interpret the songs in more than one way.