‘Television': Zico Broadcasts His Soul on Solo Comeback (Review)
It’s been two years since Block B’s Zico released Gallery, his first solo collection. And on Wednesday (Jul. 12), the artist finally released his second mini-album, titled Television.
The six-track album showcases the singer, rapper and producer getting candid with his audience while collaborating with some favorite familiar faces from the Korean underground scene.
The album opens with the aptly titled “Genius (Behind The Scene)," a song in which honest lyrics take home the gold. Zico admits to listeners that the finely polished work he puts out masks the difficult creative process of actually making the music. Frank statements such as “I’m not a genius” and “I’m also normal” imply that Zico's success is due to being a hard worker — though one could argue that his hard work only proves his talent further.
The production on “Behind The Scene” is nothing special, but it’s not the main focus: the more production-focused fans should have nothing but respect for Zico's focus on sincerity rather than elaborate sounds.
The “Artist” music video is a vibrant affair, with color schemes and choreography restlessly changing in each scene, matching the frenetic nature of Zico’s upbeat rapping. It would be an understatement to say that the video falls on the obnoxious side of the spectrum, but honestly, that just might be the point: the track is about getting listeners excited and freely expressing themselves — and the music video is a further extension of his message.
“ANTI," which also features G. Soul, was written from the perspective of an anti-fan and, as Soompi reports, Zico admitted that it was easy to roast himself while making the track. The video for the moody track begins in black and white, ridden with turmoil as depicted first through lightning-adorned skies before switching to full color as flames surround Zico, providing more metaphorical context behind the song. G. Soul’s chorus line provides a smooth contrast to Zico’s assured lines, and their dynamic is impeccably on point.
“Fanxy Child” features the recently formed hip-hop collective Fanxy Child, comprised of DEAN, Crush, Zico, and Penomeco. (Talk about a power group.) Originally a cypher created on the televised rap competition Show Me The Money, “Fanxy Child” was included on “Television” as well, and acts almost as a teaser for what the collective has to offer in the future.
Mellow, tender love single “She’s A Baby," originally released back in April, reappears on Television, contributing to the album’s diverse nature sonically and genre-wise. Zico’s earnest vocals showcase the artist’s singing abilities, and the song is a nice indie-acoustic moment from the otherwise more hard hitting hip-hop infused songs on the album.
Television ends on a bang with “Bermuda Triangle," a collaborative track featuring the talents of fan favorites Crush and DEAN, who frequently collab with Zico. This track drips in the shameless swagger and confidence of three very talented, well known artists. The music video is further proof that when these three ‘92-ers come together, the stuff they cook up is always going to be insanely addictive.
The track does feel a bit less weighty than the others on the album, and the theme of the three artists’ ability to rise high above competitors because of their talent feels a bit more like a trope rather than an insightful glimpse into Zico's life. However, it’s one of those hype singles that shouldn’t be taken so seriously. Plus, it’s an incredibly solid way to end a solid album.
From leading a popular K-pop group to venturing into the more underground hip-hop/R&B scene in Korea, Zico is unquestionably one of the most versatile and innovative artists in Korea at the moment.
On Television, Zico has made sure that his listeners get a full feel for his musical versatility, and for the many sides of himself as well — whether that be the insecure, the self-examining, the caring, or the ingenious.
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