[Review] Minseo’s soundtrack-esque “Zero” truly soars behind orchestral instrumental

While I’m quite a bit late on Minseo and “Zero“, my excuse is that I have never heard of this person before. Fortunately, I did stumble upon this song while going through a list of releases, because it’s something that instantly appealed to me and has only gotten better with multiple listens.

“Zero” basically sounds like something meant for a soundtrack for an anime or video game, and while some in K-pop confusingly now use this as a pejorative — ironic since many who became K-pop fans in my generation cite an OST song from an anime as their gateway, but I digress — I rarely ever use it that way because the theatrical scale is usually appealing to me. That definitely applies here, as I love how dramatic it feels throughout.

The song’s atmosphere is grand, set by the orchestral-like synth-heavy instrumental and backing choral vocals, but even the simpler moments help make things interesting. The verses are rather calm in comparison to the chorus, but it never loses momentum or interest thanks to things like bursts of violin and a constant foot-tapping underlying beat. Still, the highlight is undoubtedly the soaring chorus with its surprisingly memorable refrain that’s definitely not a hook-y pop thing but just an overall complete product. The uplifting effect of Minseo’s voice makes this pleasantly vibrant, like it’s a burst of energy in itself but never feels quite like she’s screaming at you or anything.

Late in the song there’s an instrumental break that legit sounds like something out of a ‘Final Fantasy‘ soundtrack, which endeared it to me even further. But even if this type of song isn’t quite your thing, the surging pace of “Zero” and Minseo’s performance should be more than enough to make it appealing. And for those of us who do love these types of efforts, it’s just a standout thanks to all the different elements coming together nicely for a true epic.

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