While writing a review for IU’s Palette album, I found myself going off in a rather passionate tangent about how much I despise the narrative that surrounds IU these days. It’s bad enough with boy groups, but anyway, I’ve digressed from the point. I couldn’t bring myself to post this content (commentary on the lyrics of “Palette”) in the review itself because 1) it’s a huge ramble, and 2) it doesn’t fit my review philosophy to lash out so dramatically against something so trivial in context of the entire album. I still felt like I needed to put it somewhere though, and so I leave it here. (Side note: while I complain about IU’s contribution to “Palette,” I think G-Dragon’s is so bad, it’s not even worth writing a rant on.) That said, I love the song, and everyone should listen to it.
Personally I don’t like speaking on lyrics to the point that the music itself plays second fiddle. In the case of “Palette,” I don’t see a clear musical connection between the musical choices and the lyrics, which would make me even less inclined to speak of them. However, since this is a song where everyone is obsessing over the lyrics, I feel obligated to be a voice of dissent—namely, to state that I find this song pushing self-love square into self-absorption. I’m always skeptical of the “number one” celebrity asking if they lack in things that they are pretty much guaranteed to have as a celebrity, and being loved given the context that she exists in is one of those things. She’s popular. You know it, I know it, she knows it; yet she continues to ponder as though that is a real question to be asked. Anyone with fame has haters, and some even have a lot, but clearly they mean naught if you make millions of dollars a year and reign the charts incessantly.
But really what makes it worse is that the lyrics, no matter how much I try to make them sound like they are meaningful TM is that for even for lyrics about dealing with insecurity, they are pretty shallow and self-centered. She goes off on how wonderful she was when she was younger and how wonderful she is now and just how much she still has to struggle, like what??? Does she even see her colleagues struggle?? Yeah—I mean the ones she probably doesn’t even notice that they aren’t even paid pennies for their work. Moreover, if you can’t be an adult at 25 and wax poetic about your teens when you were more likely than not an idiot, when the hell are you going to be an adult? 40? 50? When you’re dead? And is really the most important thing to you in life having everyone worship you because you say you don’t care about what they think about you? Because that’s what it seems like. It’s hypocritical.
I’ve seen another interpretation go around stating that she no longer has to play to “other people’s expectations” when it comes to her music. This is also completely baseless because she has always sat in a genre that is liked. So how can she simultaneously stay as popular as ever and also “learn to follow her heart”? Like what is she losing exactly? In fact I’d say she’s gotten progressively more mainstream as her albums go forward.
Being Taylor Swift in ego is probably not the best thing to be striving for, but IU is getting really close. So if it isn’t clear by this rant, I hate the lyrics and wish more people had the gall to stop “drinking the kool-aid.” Thankfully or not, Jieun, you probably don’t care. Or do you? I’d like to hope that your songs have given you the armor to deal with me rolling my eyes, though let’s be real, the only reason you’re harping so much on why you don’t care is because you do care. Honestly, Jieun, as an adult who’s younger than you, let me hand you a little unsolicited advice: I’m an ant in your amusement park. You shouldn’t even register me in the first place.
(Images: Loen Tree, via K-Ville Entertainment)