“인사하는 저 여자 / 모퉁이를 돌고도 아직 웃고 있을까”
It really is unfortunate that IU has such jealous and and spiteful netizen haters that she had to be embroiled in such a petty “scandal”. A poorly constructed argument regarding IU’s “lolita” concept on her latest release managed to gain traction because, well, K-pop fans seem to operate with a hive mindset and throw truth and logic out the window in favor of a few articles written by butthurt antifans who are just mad that they can’t be adorable, self-confident, and talented.
Ironic then that IU’s “23” was all about addressing her audience’s perception of her, calling out the fake nature of it all. Is she a smoker? Is she a promiscuous lady who gets multiple Ds every night? Is she obsessed with child pornography and lolita? Nobody will ever know unless they know her personally on a daily basis or are IU herself.
“23” is a very self-aware, playfully critical track that plays around with duality, the duality that IU was inspired by when writing the song that her haters allegedly accused of being all about IU wanting to a bang a boy. The lines alternate between IU acting on what Korean society expects of her as a woman and as a woman in the spotlight and IU’s possible other intentions that are not as accepted by society. To survive, she needs to be a fox that pretends to be a bear that pretends to be a fox.
The song itself is a delight to listen to; funky guitars and some disco strings, “23” is upbeat, matching the playful shade that IU throws at her ignorant haters.
Honorable Mentions: Zezé | B+ | The infamous, scandalous song that was the fuel to the fire is actually a very well-crafted song, borrowing swing piano, psychedelic guitars, and hip hop beats.
Red Queen | B+ | Catchy snaps, driving rock-n-roll beat, and smooth electronic piano backing set the upbeat mood well for IU and Zion.T to do their thing.
마음 (Heart) | B+ | Heartfelt, bittersweet acoustic ballad that showcases IU’s wispy, breathy vocals, accompanied by an acoustic guitar and simple piano accompaniment.
Final Rating: A- | IU throws shade at her haters and her haters got butthurt and got her into a nasty scandal. Typical K-drama plotline.