IU teamed up with G-Dragon to basically ensure “Palette” would be a smash hit, and while I seriously expected to dislike the effort, both of them ended up managing to change my mind.
When the song started, if I’m being honest, I wrote it off. To the point that I was going to make this a part of Deep Reviews and had written this out at the post:
“1) It will destroy the charts, just not my kind of sound.
2) G-Dragon couldn’t even show up for the music video? The fuck.
3) WHERE THE FUCK IS THE “JAM JAM” MUSIC VIDEO, BITCH?!”
Makes sense since this definitely isn’t typically the kind of song I’m drawn to, it sounded like another slow-ass bore, and I already mentally prepared myself to like other tracks more just based on her own description.
But a funny thing happened as I kept the track on in the background, as the chorus hit and added a jolt of life to the song. On repeated listens, despite my desire to be lazy and just write a curt review, I couldn’t deny that the chorus was actually addictive as hell. The bass coming in stronger and the “I like this, I’m twenty-five” and “I got this, I’m truly fine” sections are easy to get stuck in your head, something that I quickly found out. I also appreciated the restraint shown by IU vocally, because while this could’ve been belting at some point, it definitely would’ve ruined the sound of the track and her holding back was for the best.
Lyrically it was interesting in the sense that it was referencing her previous single in “Twenty-Three“, in which she says “I’m 23, I’m a riddle” and is generally about not knowing what she is yet. On “Palette” she also speaks about her age, but this time with confidence about her direction, changing the hook a bit at the end to “I got this, I’ve truly found” and saying “now I think I know a bit” throughout.
For his part, G-Dragon managed to not do anything to ruin it and stuck to rapping like a normal human, and his inclusion provided a needed burst of pace and kept things from getting repetitive or stale after two slower-paced verses. GD’s verse segued right back into the hook and then the bridge, which helped provide a quality close to the track.
The music video managed to have the aesthetic down and is likely to make the Tumblr people cum.
The direction was done cleverly throughout with references to her past releases, and it showed that simplicity with some thought into what you’re doing generally ends up best.
If you wanted to go a bit deeper, you could say that when it’s referencing her younger, innocent image the chorus says “I know you like me” but as she goes through the transitions to her newer, adult image the chorus switches to “I know you hate me”. Gee, I wonder what that could be referencing? Sly fox! Sly fox! Sly fox!
I mean, it’s hard not to like a music video that provides an image like this, after all.
Speaking of references, we all know about IU’s love for Corinne Bailey Rae, and she gave her a shout out in the MV (as well as in the lyrics).
Again, I definitely mentally prepared myself to not like this while waiting for the music videos to some of her other efforts off the album, but “Palette” was undeniably catchy to me. One of the problems I generally have with this type of sound is that while they’re pleasant enough, I rarely feel like seeking them out or have the urge to listen again. Well, after over a dozen plays of “Palette”, I can say that replayability isn’t a problem here and there’s a lot of layers to this track. Add onto that the entertaining music video that’s simple but has meaning behind it as well, and the whole package just worked out unexpectedly well.