IU – Palette (song review)

I am aware of IU’s existence despite my now-limited knowledge of KPOP music, and that is something amazing in itself.

When I first learned of IU five to six years ago, she was this beautiful Korean with pristine angels’ chimes installed to her vocal chords. She was singing this cheesy KPOP song, but her singing made the experience tolerable. Her looks and singing were a divine combination that would probably be better if experienced in the flesh.

IU

Cuuuuuuuuuuuuuute.

Unfortunately, the songs she was singing then weren’t really my kind of jam. Most of her hits that made Philippine soil were basically bubblegum songs too sweet for my tastes.

She soon fell out of my music radar with this certain prejudice I had about her attached to her neck.

Then came April 21, 2017.

YouTube suggested this certain IU video. I haven’t heard from her in a while and I didn’t had anything better, so I decided to give it a spin.

Boy, was I surprised by the ear candy she gave me.

There aren’t any official translations of the song as of publication, so I’m just going with the experience the song took me through.

***

The A E S T H E T I C thing she’s going for in the video’s really nice. It’s a smorgasbord of imagery: IU had a field day looking artsy, edgy, kooky and KPOP-y for the song’s visuals.

What shook me the most is the instrumental. I hope Lee Ji-eun herself decided to push for the open, dreamy instrumentals, because this creative decision is a stroke of genius. The otherworldly synth combined with 90’s-styled percussion and her uber-sweet vocals make for a delectable listening experience. It was so easy on the ears, my earworms were full enough to last a week.

IU’s vocal performance is worth of praise. While her singing is still sweet as fuck, her voice gained this maturity and sensual allure that isn’t easy to duplicate. This song exhibits the great growth she went through as an artist through the fickle world of Korean stardom. If I have to pull out an American artist for similarities, it’d be Mariah Carey.

GDRAGON’s feature is on point, too. The Big Bang leader has such an overwhelming voice that he can easily outshine IU’s gentle tones, but he managed to walk the fine line between expressing himself fully and helping the main artist shine without even breaking a sweat. His presence in the track helps in raising the experience for the listener.

***

The song’s been on repeat for about thirty minutes now and I’m still to find the song exhausting. This project made me do a double-take on IU and become interested in her newest album. If the rest of her songs are as eclectic and soothing as “Palette”, then I may find myself becoming an IU fan.

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