It’s like the feeling of returning home. That’s exactly how a select group of people around the world might be feeling right now, as South Korean soloist IU makes a beeline for her grand comeback—her first in almost three years. It might not seem all that long on regular industry time, but it’s a palpable one for the ‘nation’s little sister’, who has carved out an immense career since her debut 16 years ago. Long before she was recognised for her acting stints, the singer-songwriter’s strength has always been the sheer versatility of her expressive voice, oscillating between folk-infused pop, a swing of jazz and her warm, soulful ballads—the latter a genre she’s well known for.
This time around, she’s setting the anticipation high, by starting off with a buzzy pre-release titled ‘Love Wins All’. As if to herald her grand return, the MV is a cinematic watch from start to end—no doubt punctuated by BTS’s V’s part to play in it—with a moving storyline that packs a punch in delivering the emotional power of the ballad. Post-watch of the 322-second effort, here we are, with eight thoughts on the release.
- So first things first, we’re thrown into a dystopian world, IU and V are a couple, they’re (probably) one of the last few humans alive, and there are UFO cubes trying to detect any signs of life? Haunting.
- The first seven seconds of the song were all we needed. That immaculate piano intro was simultaneously spine-chilling and soul-stirring in the best way possible.
- There’s a reason IU’s ballads garner the amount of acclaim they do. Easily switching between a lilting, whispery-soft tone and that powerful, chest-baring voice we’ve come to love, she truly delivers the meaning behind her lyrics with her whole heart.
- A segue to V—there’s no denying the star power of this duo, but it’s definitely a welcome return to the screen for the BTS member whose first rodeo with acting was with his role in popular K-drama Hwarang. Here’s to more when he returns from his military enlistment.
- This music video is truly cinematic gold. Between the hair, make-up and costuming seen throughout the entire video, the numerous visual metaphors strewn throughout the MV, and the way colours are used to reflect the atmosphere, it’s one you’ll entirely expect fans to dive into for endless hours just to glean a fuller picture of the song’s message.
- In this nightmarish world, IU’s deaf and V is half-blind. But they’re able to imagine a mystical utopia when they are both healthy, well and happy after seeing through a digital camera they’ve found in an abandoned store. It might be a curious message about how our world treats our marginalised communities, but we’re also wondering if it’s related to the sorrow IU felt when she first started suffering from hearing issues a few years back.
- The nostalgic mood is undeniable, and a standout moment is definitely that four-cut photo booth scene that really teems with the romance of weddings from the ‘80s. Not to mention she looks incredible with that haircut.
- If this is how IU is teasing her full album, then we can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us. The joy is in knowing that we’ll be able to enjoy the live performances of it all in time to come, as her highly-anticipated world tour kicks off in March.