Singer-songwriter Lee Jieun otherwise known as IU, has returned to the music scene after releasing a music video for her song “Through The Night.” The video was followed by the release of her fourth studio album Palette, which includes ten original tracks – two of which were pre-released as singles. The album since has received great recognition after its’ release from numerous music charts in South Korea and internationally, on US Billboard, which even peaked at number one.
The album first opens with a bright melody on a track titled “이 지금,” which translates into “And Now.” The song speaks about the beauty of life and how this very moment right now is just as beautiful. It’s carnival and festive sound captures and paints a sense of fun and celebration.
In the next track “Palette,” the tempo begins to picks-up the pace. The song carries an upbeat acoustic melody that feels young and free. The lyrics are simply sweet as IU reflects on her likes and life. Even her special feature, G-Dragon delivers a comforting message through his rap, which was suitable for the track and well done at that.
The third track on the other hand, takes us down a path of sentimentals. “Ending Scene” starts with a slow and gentle piano melody, which makes a listener ponder. Here the singer’s vocals completely change to a more somber and softer tone than the on last two tracks. You could even say she’s a bit more lighter in her flow as well.
The album again then picks-up the pace and we return to a more cheerful and bright melody. However, the lyrics tell another story. While the tune is sweet IU confesses that as much as she tries to love this person again, she can not make it work. Singer Oh Hyuk as well tells in his own words that he feels the same. “Can’t Love You Anymore” is a track for that moment in any relationship when you realize things cannot be fixed and it’s time to move on.
The next track “Jam Jam” translates over perfectly. Which begins with a fun and electric beat that blends well with the lyrics of the song. The singer-songwriter talks about how she wants something sweet and fake. The connection here could be made not only to the title of the song but also the beat of the track. It’s a synthetic instrumental, progressed and programmed artificially to your liking. Pretty clever.
Then the following track “Black Out” has a fun and liberating concept out of all the tracks. In the start, IU shares that she if feeling fine and thanks the host of a party with a kiss after a few drinks. Towards the end, we get a dirty and stripped down electric guitar solo that ties-up all the loose ends of the track.
The energy is then brought down again with the soft piano melody of “Full Stop.” This ballad also has most haunting vocals on the album. The singer carries a slow and lengthy tone with each word giving the listener a feeling of sorrow and sadness. As IU songs, she comes to terms that although she misses a person dearly she still never wants to see them again. Which translates well into her previous songs off the album like “Jam Jam” or “Can’t Love You Anymore.”
IU then continues to keep the energy low for the following track, which was also released as a music video as well. “Through The Night” is one of the most refreshing tracks on this album, and timeless too! The ballad expresses this warm and nurturing-love like melody that seems to heals your mind, body and soul. The acoustic strings of the guitar and the singers soft spoken lyrics really captivate your everything.
The next song “Love Alone,” has a airy and whimsical sound. It carries a rather peaceful instrumental as the acoustic guitar simply echos throughout as IU sings fairly faint, which leaves listeners feeling in a dream-like state.
The album then wraps up with a beautiful and upbeat track titled “이름에게” or “Dear Name.” Here we can see elements of soul and acoustics blending together. The singer also picks-up the pitch in her voice, which flows happily and lovely as the album comes to an end.
Overall, Palette is a melodic, poetic, and acoustic masterpiece. While the album has hints of alternative rock or pop, there are a number of ballads and acoustics. The lyrics made you wonder or reflect with every word she said. It also gave the listeners an album with substance, which seems to have disappeared through the Kpop scene and IU delivers. IU is a timeless musician and this has to be her best album. If you like artist like Corinne Bailey Rae, you will like IU for sure! Check out her album if you haven’t heard it already, or miss out the great music.
Review written by Irma