Zeph Presents ARE YOU? Song Review — Stagnation and Contradictions

Zeph ARE YOU?

Within a world full of bright colors and iconic scenes of summer, a girl drags around a mannequin. The music video maintains a bright and cheerful aesthetic, a sentiment echoed in the instrumental choice of upbeat fast rhythms and major chords. However, the lyrics show a much sadder scene:

Have you grown numb?
Did you get used to me?

All the while the mannequin breaks more and more.

Zeph, or Zephani Jong is a singer, songwriter, and producer from Maryland who works with a style of music known as Bedroom pop, an independent and experimental style in which the artist approaches songs from a DIY perspective and with professional equipment. This can employ loops or prerecorded tracks along with regular instrumentals. While she has been making songs independently since 2018, her single Are You? (which came out in 2021) is her debut under her new record label Neon Gold Records.

Zeph ARE YOU?

Zeph’s Lyrics Are an Interesting Contradiction from the Instrumentals

Are You?’s instrumentals are rather fast and upbeat. A guitar sound reminiscent of summer jams plays, while later in the song an orchestral loop plays. Intermittently, we hear xylophone tones with high synths.

In this writer’s opinion, this creates a more positive sound for us, and it would even be one of those songs that we play with the windows down on the highway in a music video — which makes the lyrics all the more interesting.

Are you falling out of love?
Are you running out of time?
Tеll me, do you not care for me anymorе?

The first lines of the chorus are sung very fast as a litany of questions. The singer asks someone if they are still into the relationship.

Our life back into yours and mine
So babe, be honest, are you falling out of love?
And are we running out of time?

The question posed at the end of the chorus is one of fears about a stagnant relationship. It’s a line of questioning that can either lead to a breakup or to communication, but it’s the anxiety that is conveyed through the lyrics that we hear and understand.

Zeph’s Music Video Visualizes the Contradiction

The video includes bright colors like vivid reds, light blues, and grass greens, and it is also set distinctly in summer, including activities such as swimming in a pool, going on a picnic, and eating ice cream. These activities also double as couples’ activities, fairly iconic ones as well. The video is set up like a summer love song with all the tropes and colors to match.

The content of the video however pairs more with the lyrics. For most of the video, Zeph is doing a series of couple related activities with a mannequin which is dressed in simple shorts and a t-shirt but has no face. There are points in this video where Zeph physically carries the mannequin between activities, sometimes even dragging it. While she does this, the mannequin begins to fall apart, losing limbs. In this reviewer’s opinion, this goes along with the anxiety of the lyrics as it looks like Zeph is doing the heavy lifting in the relationship.

Zeph’s Are You? is recommended to anyone who likes a little experimental pop, especially those who are a bit younger.

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Video Directed by Erik Rojas
Sung/Writen/Produced by Zephani Jong or Zeph

For links to the song and video, go to the Are You? website.

Images courtesy of Neon Gold Records

Claire Hooper
Claire Hooper

About the Author: Claire Hooper

Claire likes creepy!  Claire likes weird too!

Whether it’s horror, fantasy or the screenplays and novels now being written in the back of her mind—Claire is drawn to the surreal. The more non-linear a story unfolds, the more Claire expects to love it and linger with it.

Her many friends who eagerly await baker Claire’s next batch of chocolate chip cookies need not fear that the love of horror and thrillers creeps into her sweet offerings. Those are long-held family recipes she safeguards to share with the circle of friends whom she loves to hang out with, whenever is not writing or studying.

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