IU is a soloist with no match in Korea. She debuted at age 15 under Loen Entertainment, and has been a national icon since then. Every time she has released a single, it goes straight to the top of the charts, and skyrockets her fame further. She is one of the most influential and well paid idols in all of Kpop, and her talent is not to to mistaken. Lee Jieun (her proper name) has starred in film and countless advertisements, and “Korea’s Little Sister” was even made an honorary police officer to help combat bullying. She hasn’t released anything for a little bit, so I was interested to check out what her newest release would be this time. I love her ballads, so knowing that “Palette” was going to be slightly different, and feature G-Dragon (of Big Bang fame), I was definitely excited to check it out.
The song opens with the sound of a clock ticking, and the music in the background gradually gets louder, and eventually overpowers it. Given the lyrics of the song are about growing up, and maturing in a way that you didn’t expect, it’s the perfect opening; the sound of time passing but music managing to overcome it.
The lyrics in this can seem deceptively simple, especially given the English chorus (“I’m twenty five.. I’m truly fine”), and can seem like the song doesn’t really make a lot of sense. This could not be further from the truth. IU speaks candidly of the way she has changed as she grew older. Things that she once loved, she no longer likes, and things that she hated have now become favourites, and she doesn’t have a problem with this. It reinforces the idea that we change as we grow older, and even if our personalities and likes change, that’s ok, we can still like ourselves. Most importantly, she speaks to the fact that she doesn’t care if you like her or not, or if you like what she likes, she is older now, and she just doesn’t care all that much. This is such an important idea and one that I think we can all learn from, no matter how old we are.
The song is also a little bit autobiographical for IU. She has been in this business for a long time, and has released lots of work. She sings in this song about how she, and her music, have changed a lot since the beginning. She sings about how she really thought she was beautiful when she sang “One Fine Day”, but that her tastes have changed now.
Then we have G-Dragon’s verse, and at first, it’s a bit odd, as the the song seems to slow down, and take on a slightly different tone when he comes in. But other than that, it fits well with the rest of the song. G-Dragon echoes a lot of what IU is saying in this song, but he talks about it from a different age, as he is older than her. He is addressing IU through the song, and telling her that even though he’s just turned 30, he doesn’t feel any more grown up. He tells her to enjoy her time now, and don’t be scared as the darkness will fall away from around her. It’s a very sweet verse, and the song definitely benefits from having him on it. It gives it a little more bite, more substance, as other than that, the song would be very one dimensional.
This video is a very simple one, in every aspect. There are no elaborate stages, no dance routines, no flashing lights or incredible stories. This is just IU doing what she says she loves to do in the song. We see her sleep, and play games, and even pick one colour over another. We see her play around on Instagram and dance on her own, and it’s beyond sweet. It matches the tone of the song absolutely perfectly, and I can’t imagine another video for this song.
There are some stunning shots of IU, both up close and full body, where we see just how beautiful she is. Whether the lights are darkening her features or making her seem older than she is, all of these lead completely back to the message of the song, and it meshes so well.
The one thing I am slightly disappointed about is that G-Dragon doesn’t appear in the music video at all. The way his section is introduced is very rudimentary (a mp3 player screen being brought up and “play” being pushed), and it’s a let down. His verse contributes so much to this song, and to not have him in the video at all, and him not participating in any of the live stages, feels a little like he did the song, and then disappeared completely. I feel like it was a missed opportunity for both IU and G-Dragon in this.
Sweet song, love the message. Not one that I would turn off if it came on my playlist, but not one I would seek out either. It’s not really my style of song, but I can see why people would love it.
If you want to wrap your ears around more IU, i would recommend “Marshmallow”, “Only I Didn’t Know” and “Peach”