IU
Palette


3.5
great

Review

by Arche USER (89 Reviews)
July 29th, 2017 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The auditory equivalent of dressing in your finest clothes, only to forget to iron and polish them.

Korean starlet IU has rapidly come a long way from being South Korea’s Little Sister (an informality bestowed upon those in the country that are well-known, and generally sweet and lovely). 2013’s Modern Times and now Palette are hardly departures from innocence in the same way as a certain Miss Cyrus (other tearaways are also available); still, they follow a trend towards maturity distanced from cutesy teeny pop, through Modern Times’ swing and bossa-nova to her newest, an exploration of contemporary R&B and delicate ballads. Frustratingly, it doesn’t feel wholly natural yet.

Opener ‘dlwlrma’ suffices as a bridging point between Modern Times and Palette wonderfully, the former's swing influences proving to be the dominating characteristic. From here though, certainly until ‘Full Stop,’ IU embraces her new R&B focus wholeheartedly. The cool downtempo of the title track is irresistibly catchy, while imbued with an urbaneness unthinkable from her earlier works; downtempo is replaced for smoother jazz notes in ‘Can’t Love You Anymore’ (benefitting further from OHHYUK’s soulful contribution), yet its effect is largely the same. ‘Jam Jam’ is subject to some irritating vocals, but its house-y synth section bounces along with such conviction that, ultimately, one still finds themselves dancing away by its conclusion.

It’s unfortunate that Palette’s greatest weakness should be something as simple as its structure, especially considering the ‘offending tracks’ are all beautifully executed when individually assessed. It should never have been the case, but its ballad-loaded rear means it really works better when listening on shuffle. Piano-led ‘Full Stop’ actually comes as a welcome change of pace, her jazzy lilt complementing its movie-credits juxtaposition of peace and grandeur particularly well. The problem is, Palette never picks itself up again; while acoustic ‘Through the Night’ is a gorgeous bittersweet piece, and ‘Love Alone’ is practically auditory gossamer, the modern energy of its first half feels decidedly absent, as though asphyxiated. Spread more generously throughout, rather than lumped at the end, its ballads may have made Palette an extraordinarily good pop album. To be fair, it is – just not in the order in which IU presents it. Listen to it once, and then arrange it to your own liking; it's the spit and polish this album deserves.



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user ratings (13)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
July 29th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A 3.5 feels harsh, but it's the impact that dodgy restructuring can have sadly. Musically, this is honestly a high 4 though, so definitely give it a bash. Any comments, corrections and all that jazz as always appreciated :]



https://open.spotify.com/album/5V8n6fqyAPxvFTibPhQVcp



(EDIT: cleaned it up a bit)

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 29th 2017


2423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the biggest love-heart-eyes to both the review and it's fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine subject

Archelirion
July 29th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dude, I knooooooow

And thank you fella, greatly appreciated from you ^ ^

FullOfSounds
July 29th 2017


15772 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh nice! Agree about the pacing unfortunately

Archelirion
July 29th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I find that putting Full Stop either side of Ending Scene, and then separating Jam Jam and Blackout with Through The Night works a little better, but honestly playing dlwlrma (a very good opener) and then just hitting shuffle is just as effective :]

CalculatingInfinity
July 29th 2017


9092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Guess I'm the only one that likes the pacing of the album :[



Great job as usual Aaron.

Archelirion
July 29th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks my dear ^ ^



Yeah, wish I could enjoy the pacing like you do tbh. Special thanks for getting me on this btw - might try and crank out one for Modern Times at some point

CalculatingInfinity
July 29th 2017


9092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think it all comes to down to this statement really: "Palette never picks itself up again"



I disagree with this. Tracks 7-9 make me want to just stay and bed and be cozy all day, cradling something as I fall asleep and I really dig that. Making her most moody track as the 3rd ballad can turn off some people as too much but I like it since it makes its the album a dark turn despite musically still being a ballad, which in turn makes the final track work in context so well. The solemn piano at the start feels like the sensation you wake up to see the sun shining outside, with the raising piano giving an uplifting feel of gradually arising from a groggy state as you walk out to the balcony. It may not give the big upbeat feeling that people would want by that stage, as you said 'picking the album back up', but I believe it does that in a more relaxed and beautiful way than that. The final chorus of the album is such a climax to me which couldn't have been done better.



Damn writing this has made me like the album more than I already did.

Archelirion
July 29th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woah, that's a pretty neat way of looking at it

I'll try and bear that in mind next time I listen, see if I can hear it a little differently

50iL
July 29th 2017


5260 Comments


It's all subjective in the end anyway
Awesome review too

Digging: Iannis Xenakis - Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001)

Dedes
July 29th 2017


6706 Comments


As usually, quality review Mr.Aaron. I might check this out sometime.

treeqt.
July 29th 2017


16964 Comments


slut btw

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
July 30th 2017


11739 Comments


Great review Aaron, I reckon I'll give this a go in fact.

"dlwlrma’ (which typed into an English/Hangul keyboard yields her real name)"

For those of us who are lazy (me), what is it?

Digging: BABYMETAL - Metal Galaxy

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
July 30th 2017


3042 Comments


Fantastic review, but that's to be expected.

Digging: Lil Tracy - Anarchy

Archelirion
July 30th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@scuro In my haste, I actually buggered up slightly - her name is 이지은 (or Lee Ji-Eun), whereas 이지금 is ijigeum, which is a nickname of hers. So I've removed the offending sentence! Sorry!

Thank you my dears ^ ^ Hope you get on with this



ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
July 30th 2017


11739 Comments


No worries, that was a cool mini Korean lesson I wouldn't have gotten otherwise (:

EphemeralEternity
July 30th 2017


3245 Comments


nice review as per the usual b0ss

Archelirion
July 30th 2017


5869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers b0ss

CalculatingInfinity
November 13th 2017


9092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just keep falling in love with this



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