IU‘s “Twenty-Three” was a joy to watch and listen to, if not for the song itself, than just for the message it sent.
Musically speaking, “Twenty-Three” started rather slow, but it picked up pace considerably leading to the chorus, which included an instrumental riff that sounded familiar but am unable to place. Either way, I liked it a lot, and I liked even more how the song didn’t really slow down again, instead building off the chorus along with the tone of the songwriting.
And speaking of the songwriting, that’s where “Twenty-Three” excelled, as it was basically 3:54 of her telling people to fuck off. I was about to write that the only thing the music video didn’t do was give the middle finger to everybody, but then the doll literally gave her the middle finger.
The best part is that it’s not subtle at all who she’s asking the question to and what the response from the doll represents, but it’s done in this snarky and “sly fox” way throughout the song that’s just amusing to see unfold from somebody like IU.
And oh yeah, speaking of that “sly fox” shit.
Directly confronting labels of her duality and then re-framing it in a way to remind people that even they can’t make up their minds about her personality is a “sly fox” way to bring about the point that human beings are dynamic. And that “choose one forever” for a human’s personality is not a valid option.
She also questions whether the people doing the judging of her “split personalities” are any less fake than celebrities like her.
It’s like IU took the “suck it” crotch chop and molded it into a pop song.
The music video and lyrics also combine to work perfectly, showing exactly what she means by growing used to being viewed from certain lenses and how perception changes everything.
Doesn’t get more explicit than that.
The impressive part is that IU isn’t complaining about the “haters”, which is awesome because it would be far too simple and cliched. Rather, she’s taking all the crap people have given her and reformed it to her advantage via a snarky anthem with a general message of “I’m gonna do what I want since nobody can make up their minds about what they want out of me. Oh, and by the way, you’re all hypocrites.”
Even if you didn’t find the song refreshing, certainly the tone of the track was, and I think that’s what makes it so appealing in the end.
“Twenty-Three” is an eminently listenable song that I can see lasting a while, but the real strength lies in the songwriting and the usage of the music video to complement it perfectly. IU didn’t need to prove anything in order to let me know she was here to stay, but if there was any doubt, I think this track puts that to rest. And the fact that she did so while putting so much else to rest in this song is what really made it an enjoyable experience for me.