Thursday, May 25th, 2017

IU ft. G-Dragon – Palette

Continuing the tradition of making Jukebox editors feel completely ancient…


Ryo Miyauchi: Self-aware and self-referential yet not too self-critical, there’s a chill in “Palette” that this soon-to-be 25-year-old wishes to adopt. This being IU, it isn’t without the twee: the meaningful relationship that fades in this easy-going world is her preferred hair style. But as much as she chops off her hair for a modest bob to welcome a new age, she proudly looks back at her long-haired past — a phase Twenty-Three IU would’ve locked away for good through a much more dramatic makeover. While 23 was a year of still being “happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time,” 25 seems to be a time one finally can embrace their multitudes not as a clash of contradictions but simply a part of a whole. And to face such a year head-on, no pair of lyrics can be a better gift than “I got this: I’m truly fine.”

Iain Mew: “Palette” is quietly remarkable; it conveys such a sense of calm mid-20s self-acceptance that its mood even survives an inspirational lecture from a 30-year-old.

Alfred Soto: A lap pool disturbed by faint ripple of disquiet. G-Dragon is the equivalent of a teen cannon balling into it.

Thomas Inskeep: This is the sound of a twentysomething finding and figuring out her place in the world — and accepting who she’s become/ing. IU’s had to grow up in public, so that makes this all the more poignant, especially paired with a soft, gently bumping melody (a little less major-key and it could almost be trip hop) and an encouraging rap from G-Dragon. “I got this/I’m truly fine,” she sings, “I think now I know who I am a little.” And now, we know her a little more. There’s a real universality to “Palette,” as well, whether you’re in your 20s or 40s; this is a truly lovely single.

Micha Cavaseno: I appreciate that it’s a follow up to “23” in many ways (which I loved) but whereas the soft-disco and mild-temple-rubbing sensation of the previous installment worked wonders of being so dizzy, here on “Palette” IU is kind of trying to give herself a lot of breathing room. To the point that the record is so low-key and drifty, it can feel boring as hell (I blame the invocation of Corinne Bailey Rae). Regardless, the call for serenity has unmistakable charm speaking to IU’s insistent need to find the spaces nobody else in her field tries to claim.

Will Adams: Maybe it won’t click until I reach that age in September, but IU’s calm contentment at being 25 seems unreachable for someone who feels like they’re at threat level orange at all times. What might be blocking it is the song itself, a pile of buttered electric piano noodles, breathy (though admittedly lovely) vocals, and unsolicited advice from G-Dragon, the latter being far less helpful than what Verbal Jint provided Taeyeon.

Mo Kim: “Twenty-Three,” IU’s sharp left away from the doe-eyed image of her adolescence, resonated with the college sophomore busy swallowing their trauma and alienation in snarling, expansive anger hungry enough to eat entire days away. I’m turning 22 today, though, and one of the nice things about being older is being increasingly at peace with who you were then and are now. “Palette,” like its predecessor, brims with clever (and well-earned) meta-commentary about young womanhood and the strange experience of growing up under a spotlight, but its lips drip with a newfound honeyed compassion. It’s hard to explain. It’s seeing yourself on the screen when you’re fifteen, sighing but remembering you sure were pretty. It’s not just letting go of the young girl who became Korea’s little sister a little too soon, not just circling back around: somehow it’s both. It’s liking the “simple things” these days but still being able to jam to “Corinne’s music” (Corinne Bailey Rae, whom IU presumes we’ll know is still one of her favorite artists, after all, we’ve known each other for years, haven’t we?). It’s “I know you hate me” and “I’m truly fine” learning, finally, to sit in the same room. The uncertainty is still there (it’s still “I think I finally know something” because that’s the closest to knowing anything you can get), but it’s not a pair of glitter-studded gloves shielding your face anymore, not rejection of your past but reckoning fully with your present. It’s not “a picture” you need to curate but a “palette,” a range of possibilities as colorful as a rainbow. All of which is to say that I love this, and I’m so glad it exists and so proud of the person behind it.

Reader average: [8.6] (25 votes)

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One Response to “IU ft. G-Dragon – Palette”

  1. G-Dragon’s rap is alright, sympathetic enough, if not all that necessary –
    — but I preferred when she re-wrote it and performed it herself for TV appearances: