I have a weird and completely unexpected soft spot for IU. Her music and persona are definitely not a style that I tend to fall for. I’ve historically filed her under the ‘talented but not my thing’ category in my brain and moved on. But when she appeared on Infinity Challenge and was all goo goo over Hyukoh, I had to take a second look. She seemed to have good and interesting taste and therefore maybe there was something else in there for me to get attached to. AND THERE IS.
It turns out that I actually like a number of IU’s songs…not typically her solo stuff, but when she has featured artists that I like independently of her. Her albums are like a vehicle for otherwise uptempo artists to do a cool ballad duet. Not to mention, I don’t hate her acting. At all. She’s tiny and cute, but she has this rod of steel running down her spine that she shows off with just a tiny glint in her eye. I love that. I adore the subtlety. She had chemistry with every prince in Scarlet Heart Ryeo. I swear. I wanted to attribute that to the acting chops of all of those fine young gentleman, but that just isn’t statistically possible. She. Is. Lovely. And she can carry a scene in her own right. She doesn’t need all of those stupid flower boys. For realz.
There have been several singles released building up to her latest album Palette. One of these, a beautiful back and forth between her and Oh Hyuk (one of the most interesting voices in the Korean music industry) is lovely. It’s not the best IU song I’ve heard. It’s not the best Oh Hyuk song either. But man, it’s charming. I can see me throwing that on while I’m working. I can see it because I’ve done it.
And I like the title song even better. Palette is a kind of personal anthem IU is singing to herself with GD along to provide just a little more emotional support through rap. The lyrics are essentially IU saying I know you all love me as an artist, I know you all hate me as an artist, but I’m 25 now so I’m on my way to being a grown up and have learned a little something about myself during all of these trips around the sun, so it’s all cool. In her advanced years, she’s taken a liking to pajamas, lipstick, more muted colors, and short hair. True signs of aging. My biggest complaint about the song is the number of times she says “I’m 25” because that dates the song and she won’t be able to sing it for longer than a few short months…can you sing “I’m 25” when your 26? Can you?
GD jumps in with his nasally, perfect rap and is all “I don’t know when it happened, but I’m 30 now and a full blown adult and I’m here to say that it doesn’t suck so bad. You’re good girl. We love you.” So sweet. Oppa is looking out for his little sis.
The video, though, is soooo pretty. It really is the many, many bored faces of IU hiding what she is feeling. Like, look at me bored looking at people disparage me on social media (I’m hurting inside), look at me bored liking things that are out of style (don’t judge me, please). Look at me being bored with long hair (my god my fans will freak when I cut it short). I’m bored…but really, really not. I love that stylized glimpse into her reality.
So, though I certainly won’t be social media stalking her, and though she isn’t my fav of anything per se, IU is someone I do and will continue to keep an eye on. I’d like to think we are buddies in an alternate dimension. I think we sneak wine dates once a month and are really catty about other people while looking super sweet over brunch.
IU, Palette (ft. GD)