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Music Review: Zach Callison’s New Single “War!” Declares A Diss-track Battle With Lost Love

Most people know Zach Callison as the voice of Steven Universe on Cartoon Network’s hit series of the same name, but music has always been a huge influence on him. As a kid, he watched his father play rock music in the blues bars of St. Louis, an experience that lives on in the sounds he creates today.

He’s been featured on a number of soundtracks including the Emmy-winning Sofia the First and Steven Universe Soundtrack: Volume One, the latter of which hit the number one spot on the iTunes charts. No stranger to the stage, he’s performed in massive musical theater productions at the St. Louis Muny Theater and with cover bands throughout venues in Los Angeles, before eventually shifting his focus to songwriting.

Despite sharing his vocal talents on Steven Universe for some time, Callison has just released his first ever single, “War!”, which will be featured on his upcoming EP, A Picture Perfect Hollywood Heartbreak, due out later this spring.

“War!” is a stand out song that combines indie pop/rock with rap and jazz horns. It’s energetic, clever, stylish and adventurous. Its hook will remain in your head even after the song has stopped playing – although it’s one of those songs you don’t want to stop playing!

The song is a challenge to an old love, Juanita, whom he’s still obsessed with, despite threatening to outshine her musical career. He sings, “This is war, isn’t that what love is for?” and talks about the “trenches in our hearts.” It’s a “revenge” track, a “diss-track,” a song that is primarily intended to disrespect someone. This kind of verbal vengeance is now commonplace in the hip-hop genre, though the phenomenon was first fueled by rivalries within its community.

It’s clear that Zach is also heavily influenced by rap, as “War!” features verses that are rapped. Additionally, Zach is inspired by blues rock, theatrical storytelling and jazz. The track features horns, electric guitar, a strong bass line and lively piano (played by Zach himself). It’s truly an earworm, in the best meaning of the term.

Give “War!” a listen on Soundcloud and Spotify. And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our own Bryna Kramer’s recent interview with Zach for more information about him and his upcoming EP.

Readers, give us a shout out in the comments below and let us know what you think of Zach’s latest endeavor!

Written by Arlene Allen

Hello, my name is Arlene Allen, and I love all things nerd: genre tv and movies, books, loud rock and roll music, kittens, conventions, books, graphic novels and superheroes, RPG and tabletop games, and did I say books? Oh, yes. I spent 25 years as a librarian (nerd) mainly working with youth (creating nerds), a number of years as a teacher (more nerd indoctrination). I have my own spawn, leveled up to 22 and my partner in nerdiness. As a nerdy writer, I have found a home at Talk Nerdy With Us.

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