Friday, October 26th, 2018

IU – Bbibbi

Korea’s sweetheart continues to impress…


Alex Clifton: I don’t think I’ve ever heard a “hater” song quite like “Bbibbi.” It’s confrontational but feels polite; “hello stu-P-I-D” sounds silly but also like a tremendous insult coming from IU’s sweet voice. It’s not out for blood, like “Look What You Made Me Do” was, but it’s not a colossal finger to the world, either. Nor is it a self-empowerment song like “Roar,” where IU has to build up her confidence. This is a song delivered by someone who knows exactly who she is and where she’d like others to stay around. Instead it’s firm in asking for boundaries, a serious message wrapped up in cutesy packaging. I don’t know if this is IU’s best work, but the novelty of the conceit and her flawless-as-usual vocal delivery are enough to hook me.

Iain Mew: “Bbibbi” is a sequel in the best sense, returning to the best aspects of “Palette” (the unfeasibly relaxed groove) and taking them somewhere new. So instead of G-Dragon 30splaining, we get a bit where IU brings the playfulness to the fore, turns the song inside out, and for a while anything seems possible.

Ryo Miyauchi: From the minimalist R&B beat to the direct reference to her own biography, IU cuts “Bbibbi” from a very similar cloth as “Palette.” The chorus includes catchier hooks, and more bells and whistles accent the production. Yet “Bbibbi” gets even more self-indulgent than her birthday song as it marks another milestone: IU’s 10th anniversary since her debut. She’s not so thrilled to celebrate, but more fed up about her place in pop as she draws a line between artist and the media. It comes off not angry nor too passive, instead simply calm yet honest: exactly how a warning from IU would sound.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: IU the Korean national treasure, the established brand, asserting herself over IU the artist. The result is a track that displays a performer getting a bit too comfortable with all the sonic hallmarks expected in her music; A pity, because the harmonic dynamics hinted at something far more interesting. 

Ramzi Awn: “Bbibbi” does all the right things but fails to intrigue. Yes, it makes you want to shimmy your hips. Yes, it has an uncanny sense of melody. Yes, it throws everything but the kitchen sink into a slinky, fun, sickly sweet single, but no I don’t ever need to hear it again. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: At this point, producer Lee Jong-hoon is as crucial in defining IU’s career as Lee Min-soo was. I’d argue, though, that Lee’s work on “Twenty-Three,” “Palette,” and now “Bbibbi” is even more noteworthy because it’s the rare aesthetic turn that feels both natural and highly personal. But for all that “Bbibbi” is able to do in presenting an understated but firm toughness, its coffee shop-friendly instrumentation is more conducive to providing pleasant diaristic musings than a memorable song. The melodies here are consequently recognizable but unable to stick. Still, this feels like another important step in IU’s continued maturation so it’s hard to get too upset.

John Seroff: Bouncy, compulsively replayable R&B froth on a par with anything off the Insecure soundtrack. If IU records an English version, I’m having a hard time not seeing this dent the US charts.

Reader average: [4.16] (6 votes)

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One Response to “IU – Bbibbi”

  1. thanks for mentioning “hello stu P-I-D,” Alex. i really love that part of the chorus, but i didn’t know how to fit it in my blurb, so I was hoping someone else would comment on it.