ZICO and IU are Stuck with Each Other in “Soulmate”
Retro seems to be the newest trend in the K-Pop world nowadays, and we’re totally here for it. Since their previous, much more commercial track “Marshmallow,” “Soulmate” is the newest addition to the repertoire of the King and Queen of the charts. Leader of Block B, ZICO has established a name for himself as a solo artist with his singles topping charts for weeks on end. As a fellow regular on the charts and a longtime friend of the artist, pairing up with IU only made sense.
It is clear with tracks like "She's a Baby" that ZICO isn't afraid to play around and experiment with different genres and sounds, this single being no different. Having participated in the writing, composition, and production, “Soulmate” is a retro-infused jazz melody with hints of R&B/’90s pop and an indie, vintage vibe. Snagging a real-time all kill, "Soulmate" is all about the positive and negative quirks of being in love with "the one." Starting off with monotonous elevator music, the sound smoothly merges with the trumpets in the melody. The track speaks of the world of love and commitment and how it previously felt very unfamiliar, though it is now a place cherished most by the artists, and the feeling is compared to not wanting to get out of bed. In a blend of sweet and sour, IU and ZICO’s voices melt together perfectly. Crush’s soulful voice in the chorus and MeloMance’s Jung Donghwan on piano make this a perfect tune to match the lazy haze of summer.
A perfect fit to the song, the music video is tinged with classic, nostalgic colors that make you feel as if you’ve entered into a painting (exactly like the one displayed in the beginning). Add in a grainy filter and you’ve got the faded, vintage vibe that matches the melody of the song. While the idea put forward by the release is pretty cute in itself, it’s the unique setting of the music video that really nails it. The music video features various obstacles that act as a metaphor for the struggles faced by the couple in their relationship, ranging from being unable to meet each other due to a particularly tricky lift to a bunch of obstructive guards and even a pesky devil in the form of Crush. In the end, however, the protagonists manage to find a way around these hurdles and end up “tied” together.
ZICO has long since been viewed as one of the best idol producers and artists in the music industry of the moment, and “Soulmate” is a clear example as to why. The song, while about love, manages to stand out in its own unique way both in sound and through the music video. The release manages to integrate a variety of beats and captivates audiences from the first listen. The trumpets, which give off most of the jazz vibe, are a main focal point, but they are integrated so beautifully that they do not feel overwhelming at all. The quirky concept and smooth transitions of the music video depict the lyrics of the song exceptionally well in a way that isn’t too straightforward or obvious, so it’s enough to keep you hooked until the very last second. Featuring IU on this track was quite a smart decision, as it’s the kind of genre she is really good at, and both the tone of her voice and her singing style complement ZICO’s entirely. And, of course, we can’t forget the highlight that is Crush’s short, but sweet, cameo which added the cherry on top to a very well-baked cake.