It was 5 years ago that pop superstar, Sam Smith, stepped up to the plate and showed the world that love songs don’t have to be heteronormative to be beloved. Smith came out publicly, stating that he wanted to be clear on what his album was about. “It’s about a guy and that’s what I wanted people to know.” He was also completely aware of how important his success is to the public narrative. Hearing your humanity represented and validated by pop culture is important, and many LGBT supporting musicians have since been stepping up to share their experiences. The freshest in line, is award-winning Pop/EDM recording artist Martone, who recently released his 17 track album “Erogenous Zone”. Two years in the making, the album has been submitted for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, for Electronic Dance Album, Pop Solo Performance for “Inside Out”, and Dance Recording for “Love Out Loud”.
“Erogenous Zone” is a coming of age recording, for both the listener and the performer, as Martone takes stock of love, life, and personal freedom. The album retains the inherent danceability and pop sensibilities Martone has built his success on, but adds to it a deeper, heartfelt lyricism.
He uses the uplifting power of pop music and encourages his audience to have fun and be themselves, while also using the medium to deliver essential messages. His voice, imbued with honeyed R&B textures, coos sensual lyrics in “Erogenous Zone” which is honest, compassionate and dynamic, with a handful of standout songs that will be dominating the genre’s “best of” lists, throughout the rest of the year.
“Werk” featuring rapper Khristophe, quickly adds an urban flavor to the proceedings, after the sensuous opening of “Erogenous Zone – Interlude”. “I Gave My Heart to You” instead, brings a powerful romantic aura to the album.
This is followed by the up-tempo, self-discovery theme of “Inside Out”, and then the album’s centerpieces, and inspired empowering anthems, “Love Out Loud” and “Rip The Runway”. This section of the album can probably be considered its apex, musically and thematically. But for those who love the groove there is still plenty more to come.
From the cover of “Fever”, to the title track, “Erogenous Zone”, and “Splendid Thing”, Martone never lets up, keeping the adrenaline and emotions flowing. “All Through The Night” launches the final section of the album which decidedly turns its focus towards dancefloor rhythms, dropping two mixes of “We Go Down”, before closing down the show with the banger, “Love You I Do Auoo”.
The ideas and emotions that unfold over the album’s rhythms and melodies, are the product of Martone unravelling and assimilating life’s lessons over the years, becoming the person he always wanted to be.
In an outstanding act of courage and community, Martone shares his own life and love throughout “Erogenous Zone”. Its endeavors like this that helps reshape the pop and dance culture in an LGBT-friendly way. It shows a kind of passion, acceptance and respect that is contagious. Martone is honest about his experiences, and his music on “Erogenous Zone” will empower fans from all walks of life.