[Review] IU provides intrigue & depth with “BBIBBI”, which is her version of a diss track

IU has returned with the surprise release of a digital single in “BBIBBI“, which she says is for her 10th anniversary. It’s described as alternative r&b and definitely has a hip-hop feel to it at times.

“BBIBBI” isn’t exactly a sound I typically enjoy, as it’s rather downbeat and lacks bombast. That said, IU can use her vocals to carry a mediocre and/or empty instrumental, and the chorus is elevated by rhythm and groove of the delivery, especially when paired with the songwriting.

And it’s probably the lyrics where things are truly interesting anyway. The obvious (and correct) reading is that it addresses her detractors in a sassy manner and basically serves as IU’s version of a diss song. However, it also seems more than that, because given the lyrics, the current environment in Korea, and IU talking about the song, it’s hard not to see it from a gender angle as well.

“The song conveys the message of throwing a cheerful and simple warning at those who have crossed the line. More important nowadays than ever, is to not restrict or decide for others based on one’s own standards, but for equal and independent individuals to have healthy ties. The song tells the story of people living in the modern age.”

Quite frankly, not sure it’s even that subtle. So this could easily be appropriated as a feminist anthem of sorts, used to highlight women drawing a line and wanting it not to be crossed, but almost ironically IU can’t quite say it aloud because some of her biggest antis are from those so-called feminist movements co-opted by extremists.

Regardless, even the imagery in the music video during the especially biting (and quite creatively arranged and harmonized) bridge seemed to make reference to this.

Of course, everybody can put their own meaning to it, but the intrigue for me was definitely her songwriting here.

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If you didn’t like the sound of “BBIBBI”, you’ll find no argument from me, as I kinda understand. But the chorus provides enough intrigue and catchiness to sell me musically, even if the lyrics do most of the heavy lifting. In the end, it’s the message and depth to the song that captivated me, and I think it has a unique quality of being interesting as a point of discussion regardless of the sound.

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