Review: Palette by IU

Palette by IUIU is definitely obsessed with age, or at least growing up. It’s a theme she’s tackled in many of her albums. Her last single starts with the words “I’m twenty-three”; her new single has a hook that goes “I’m twenty-five”. But don’t take that as proof that Palette is a rehash. IU has made changing sounds seem natural rather than a knee-jerk reaction, from her slightly dreamy early releases, to the bubblegum pop of Growing Up, to the overblown swing of Modern Times. This time she jumps from her last full-length’s embrace – traces of which were still around on her last release, the mini Chat-Shire – and goes urban and low-key. The title track, which features G-Dragon, captures the sound: understated, modern, and, well, grown-up. (The reference to Corinne Bailey Rae on the music video to “Palette” is not a throwaway one.) IU resisted the urge to indulge her whimsical side – or, perhaps, decided it’s no longer the time to do so. Apart from the last few tracks being more straightforward ballads – and “Jam Jam” being that one concession to her pop side – the record reveals a new, or perhaps unrevealed, side to the singer. “I’m twenty-five,” as she would say. [NB]4/5

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