To kick off the first SOTW for November, we’re nearly at the end of the year – and what great music we’ve had from the crazy world of K-pop in 2015! This week, we’re looking at IU who has recently made her comeback with her latest album ‘Chat-Shire’ and the main track that is featured for today is her main track ‘Twenty Three’!

If you haven’t checked out the song, the MV is just below!

  • The Song

There’s finally a song that isn’t fully saturated with the woes of love but instead on growing up. Twenty three does seem to be at a slightly awkward stage in which you’re certainly no longer a child yet not a full grown adult as you’re only just entered the adult years. It’s ironic how some children yearn to be older and perhaps may regret feeling this notion of wanting to grow up too fast and adults who desire to be their younger selves.

Through the lyrics of the song, IU gives off the impression of being conflicted with how she is feeling, on one hand she could look as if she’s happy but on the inside she could feel close to giving up. The other examples that I found interesting was the choices between either being in love or making money and IU asking the listener to guess which one is the right answer. Though, if asked to try and figure out what she is feeling just by attempting to gauge her expression would most definitely prove to be a challenge!

‘Making an opposite facial expression to the heart is really simple’.

‘Actually I don’t know either’.

So from the two sentences taken from the lyrics, it looks as if IU has become accustomed to acting in a certain way that even she cannot decipher her true feelings.

A line from the song that I think pretty mind sums up the view of idols is: ‘Being seen with sunglasses, I’m used to it by now’. It’s a reference to the concept of rose tinted glasses, in which she is just regarded as Korea’s innocent little sister and nothing more. If she does not act in the way that ‘Korea’s little sister’ should act, despite the fact that she is growing up past that stage, then there will be an uproar among the fans (or just people who like to have an opinion of such matters).

See also: [Fun Story OTW] Alice in Wonderland, Rude Mannequins and More in IU’s new MV ‘Twenty Three’.

  • The Music Video

The first few seconds gets me every time as IU drops her head into her birthday cake – as if she’s completely done with being twenty three already. Though, to be fair, I’m always fascinated with IU’s music videos, there’s always a sprinkle of magic and mystery within them.

Inspiration from the MV sets taken loosely from Alice in Wonderland, IU running after a white rabbit, stumbles from a wardrobe to the Mad Hatter’s tea party setting (perhaps to symbolize that she’s always in a world of her own (child like world? doesn’t want to grow up really? But you won’t be able to guess because she’s a riddle and even she doesn’t know what she’s feeling.) There is a split in her attitude in the music video, at the beginning she’s seen to be sitting beside a makeup vanity desk and pretending to be feminine by using crayons for lipstick (probably some young girls would have done the same after watching their mothers or older sisters putting their makeup on) then on the other side of the spectrum, she’s acting the opposite of grown up as she makes a mess of the tea party by throwing the food around like a child.

Seems to be travelling through different worlds, as the scenery changes from her bedroom with IU chasing after the white rabbit and finds herself stumbling into an empty tea party. The general background of each set in the music video is very colourful and eye-catching!

Visual portrayal of the differing emotions that IU could be feeling is executed interestingly, one that I picked up on towards the end of the MV is from the shadows it looks as if she is smoking but once the lights shine on her, she is blowing through a party horn. The lyrics matching to this is one I’ve already mentioned, which is ‘Being seen with sunglasses, I’m used to it by now’ – just another subtle nudge towards being seen through rose tinted glasses – in which there may be a certain exception of her to act in a certain way (i.e. being labelled as Korea’s little sister) thus restricting her in some ways as there could be backlash in future decisions she may make.

For example, it was a while ago that it was revealed that IU is in a relationship with Jang Ki Ha, there are some fans or just general spectators who comment on the situation in a negative way with a few referring to IU as being sly as a fox as she is an ‘idol’ and again there are certain behaviors that are excepted of an well known celebrity.

What are your thoughts on the song? Let us know in the comments below!


About Author

UnitedKpop Writer since 2015, partial to listening to 2NE1 and BLACKPINK.