Album Review: Zion T – “OO” (South Korea, 2017)

With seven tracks and at just over 23 minutes long, Zion T’s OO is short, but succinct.

OO is the Korean RnB and funk disciple’s second record and first release after signing to YG sub-label, The Black Label, in 2016.

Following his RnB fueled debut Red Light (2013) and funky yet European folky EP Mirrorball (2013), OO is his most consistent release yet.

As always, Zion T’s vocals are charming, shifting from smooth serenading to almost spoken word. He even raps some clean bars here and there, most notably on the record’s first single, ‘The Song’.

The vocals, regardless of form, weave in well with the record’s sophisticated production especially noted in the trap accents on ‘The Bad Guys’ and’ Complex (ft G Dragon)’ and the laughter on the opening of ‘Comedian’. Infused with his customary funky basslines and killer organs, this crafts a loungey, mellow vibe, reminiscent of summer nights, rather than straight funk or RnB.

This vibe flows nicely throughout the record till the last song, ‘Wishes (2015)’. Though a solid standalone ballad, with country inclined guitars, organs and even whistling, it doesn’t belong to the record.

However lyrically, it is in line with Zion T’s customary contemplative sentimentally, noted in songs like ‘Yanghwa Bridge‘.

This reflective theme is also seen in ‘The Song’, ‘Complex’ and ‘Comedian’. While ‘Cinema’, ‘Sorry (ft Beenzino)’, ‘The Bad Guys’ all deal with love.

These two themes in OO are very much in line with Zion T’s typical themes, but with his clever song writing, we’re not hearing the same things over again.

On OO Zion T clearly knows who he is as an artist. His second full length effort is a coherent dose of his quintessential funky charm. Yet taking the vibe down a notch, he puts a new spin on what he does best.

Listen: Cinema

OO by Zion T is available now on iTunes Australia.