IU’s Twenty-Three revels in IU’s own identity crisis

IU and I exist in this strange place. She exist, and I don’t care about her. Of course though, she is fun to watch. She is moving away from the idol restraints, but still, by all pretense and purposes, is a pop star. She remains a part of the public awareness, but as time moves on, not under the idol label. It’s interesting.


Twenty-Three relies heavily on the assumption that one must experience the entirety of it whole. The song, the video, the lyrics…I had to consume this completely in order to appreciate it. The song’s strengths are in it’s lyrics, and the video. The song itself…it could be better.

Ultimately as a listener, I have never quite gotten the appeal of IU. I think she is cute and all, but as a very casual listener, I found her to not be a thrilling singer. When listening to her, I barely registered her, instead focusing the music itself, which reminds me heavily of another song (the funky fun vibe, with the strings in the background).Ultimately I lose an important part of the song (the lyrical meaning) when I can’t focus on what is being sung.

The song itself is about the duality of growing the fuck up, and how one is perceived (aka your identity). For IU…this is kind of a on the nose subject because her entire image had been all but shattered after her little…incident, and not only the rebuilding, but the thriving on an entirely new level. Like I said, I am an extremely casual listener of IU, but the way she has gone about her career seems to be like she is moving as far beyond where she started as possible. She no longer is nations little sister, so pure and sweet, but an extreme conscious female pop star.

The lyrics, even in translation are really good. Once again the whole idea of what being an adult is addressed. And to be frank…it’s a mess.

*Note I am not a Korean speaker so this is all nebulous anyway*

The video having a lot of Alice In Wonderland imagery seems little . Two very prominent themes in Alice In Wonderland is growing up and identity, both of which are the sole points of Twenty-Three. Instead of IU being a child, she is an adult and is very aware of it. Yet she doesn’t completely feel she is there just yet, and wonders if she is able to turn back. This is lamented throughout the song, but most notably when she talks about how she wants to be a baby forever, but then goes on to say her desire to be a “moist” woman (in the video she drops her innocent looks and dumps milk onto the head of a raggedy barbie doll). Unlike Alice who is a child in the word of bewildered adults and customs, IU seems more aware of her surroundings and embraces them. She is embracing, her adulthood. The question is how though.

The second theme of identity is discussed in the way of how others perceive her. Through sunglasses is a comment used in the chorus, and in the video she has a moment that features her “smoking” when actually she is holding a party blower. This idea plays a lot on the adult vs child part. IU  can be an adult, but how will she define it?

The fact that I wrote all of this, based off of a video shows how interesting Twenty-Three as a whole is. While I might not care for IU as a singer, to watch her tackle her own identity (through both her eyes and the eyes of the viewer), and her own adulthood (not just the concept itself, but her’s and how it relates to her) was more than worth it. The video is well crafted, the beat funky, and the lyrics are great. IU won this one in the long run.


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