While there may have been some concern about how an IU release would be received by the public after her recent scandal, ‘Modern Times’ is proof of the singer’s strong grip on the hearts of her fans, having achieved an all-kill on Korean charts upon its release on October 8th. The album takes a jazz and swing direction, with collaborations from other famous singers, some of whom include BEG‘s Gain, SHINee‘s Jonghyun and singer-songwriter Choi Baek-Ho.
Speaking personally now, I can’t wait to buy this album. It manages to be soothing and calming, yet uplifting at the same time. The spread of mood between tracks is done so that you’re never left feeling melancholy for too long; for instance, after the dramatic (in a good way) ‘Bad Day‘, happy bossa nova ‘Obliviate‘ swings right in. (Wasn’t ‘obliviate’ a Harry Potter spell?) The album allows you to indulge any moodiness while picking you up off your feet. The genre specifics for K-pop are blurred, though hearing new music styles in K-pop is refreshing, and nobody is complaining.
IU has already achieved music show success with promotions for ‘The Red Shoes’, which is based on a fairy-tale of the same name by Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen. The big-band track features brass sections accompanied by jazzy bass riffs, all over seen by IU’s sometimes ethereal, sometimes powerful voice. Undeniably catchy, this song has a story to tell and a mark to make – you’ll be at least tapping your feet, if not singing this song for months to come.
Tracks like ‘Havana’ and opening song, ‘Love of B‘, transport the listener to exotic sunny settings with intricate guitar sections and a warm sound, whereas ‘Between The Lips (50cm)‘ and ‘Daydream‘ (feat. Yang Hee-Eun) are more likely meant for meandering in the rain.
Title track ‘Modern Times‘ leaves nothing to be desired, an effortlessly happy track. Easy listening in its prime form. Penultimate track ‘Wait‘ offers a similar jolly feeling, but it has more of a dance route and the soft vocals create a mysterious atmosphere. Perhaps a perfect tango accompaniment. Bonus track ‘Voice Mail‘ acts as a lullaby to softly bring the album to its end, hushing the previous chaotic collection of songs thrown together.
Does IU’s latest offering to the K-pop scene come as a refreshment? Or do you think ‘Modern Times’ is just one of many new releases that have branched out from pure pop recently? Let us know what you think of this album in the comments below!