Over the past few years, Zico has been much more prolific as a solo artist than as a member of his group Block B. Though he’s only released two mini albums, both have been stuffed with tracks that served as comebacks throughout the year. Television is no different, compiling past singles with new songs. First up is Artist, which takes the lighter, funkier approach between the two title tracks.
Like many idol rappers before him, Zico has a colorful, diverse style that rests as heavily on charisma as it does the actual song. Artist succeeds because of the force of Zico’s personality, in spite of some production missteps. At the track’s core is a bouncy, jazz-sprinkled beat that balances off-kilter indie sensibilities with the need for a big pop hook. The instrumental succeeds in fits and starts, though I wish it felt more streamlined. The track spends so much time shifting between tempos and styles that it begins to feel a bit disjointed. Just as you’re enjoying the quirky elasticity of the verses, the instrumental plunges into a downbeat mood-killer of a pre-chorus. It would have been better to keep the energy high throughout.
Artist‘s strongest point is its chorus, which is delivered with a sort of throw-away swagger perched halfway between singing and rap. It’s like a more nuanced, enjoyable version of PSY‘s I Luv It (which Zico also had a hand in writing). This sense of liveliness gives Artist an effective centerpiece, even when its surrounding elements may be more hit and miss.