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Anyone who knows me knows my love for Zion.T. The idiosyncratic artist draws various aspects of music together and seemingly effortlessly blends it into something unique and palatable, never losing consistency. For this reason, when it was announced that his latest project, ZZZ, was set to be released, it almost immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of the calendar year. With both the uncertainty and excitement over which style and colour of Zion.T we’d see on display, and a host of clever collaborations announced, when the album was released today, it took me less than a minute to save it and start the journey into what I was sure would be one of this year’s shining examples of good music.
To try to do such a release justice, I’ve taken the pleasure in a track-by-track breakdown of the album.
Coming in at just under two minutes long, this groovy track is a mood-raiser, and flows fantastically well. Instrumentally it’s classic Zion.T, and vocally it is infectiously upbeat. Finishing with a smooth riff and drum-fill, it’s a fantastic introduction and appetiser for the rest of the release. Rating - 9/10
‘Hello Tutorial (ft Seulgi)’
This particular track is the one chosen as the title-track, and one that will no doubt be promoted. It’s slick, smooth and accessible. Vocally, the chemistry between Zion.T and Seulgi is fantastic, and it partners up well with the background instrumentation. Nothing about the song is harsh on the ear, and it’s nice easy-listening. It’s a clever seasonal choice of a release, and it certainly has enough replay value to carry itself as the flag-bearer of the album. Rating - 9/10
With simple guitar riffs and a continuous drum beat keeping everything tight and compact, the other instrumentation takes a more subtle position in ‘My Luv’. This allows the vocals to shine, and the high-pitched chorus is both catchy and charming. Rating - 8/10
‘Sleep Talk (ft OH HYUK)’
With the fore-fronted electronic drums occasionally even slightly drowning out the voice of Zion.T; rather than sound like a production error, it is actually a genius use of the title. It’s almost as if you’re listening to someone sing in their sleep, or for the purposes of sounding clever, ‘Sleep Talk’. OH HYUK’s unique voice adds a different flavour to something that’s already dissimilar to what you’d expect, but that’s no detriment. It’s a truly sublime track, and something very few artists could pull off. Rating - 9/10
Emotional and visceral are the key words here. The rawness of vocals contrast with the piano seamlessly, and both aspects will have you listening intensely. It does add strings as it progresses, but the tone never truly changes. This is an artist laying it all out for the listener, and with the outro even eventually ditching the vocals for one repeating piano chord, it’s a masterstroke of how to finish an album. The vulnerability and simplicity of this track is where the genius is, and following a clever structure helps aid it to perfection. Rating - 10/10
In summary, this album doesn’t disappoint. In longer words, it’s a seven track journey through every nook and cranny of Zion.T’s style. We see all of his various colours, and through experimentation, sticking to what works, and collaborations that are more than just adding names to tracks, it certainly is a release that you can’t do yourself the disservice of missing out on. Intriguing and enticing from start to finish, it may well be the offering of the year.
Rating - 9.5/10