[Review] IU’s “Coin” an effective second in the one-two punch of title tracks

IU is supporting her new album with a good old-fashioned double title track strategy. We don’t see double promotions in K-pop nearly enough anymore. I’ve always thought it was a great way to showcase a full album, incorporating more sounds and moods than a single title track can convey. In Lilac’s case, IU chose the two most “commercial” sounding songs to spotlight. The rest of the album veers more toward the wistful balladry and quirky coffeehouse pop we’re used to hearing from her.

I prefer Lilac over Coin, but this is also a solid track. It opts for a brassy funk backbone, complete with sinuous bass guitar and stomping percussion. It kicks up a nice groove, but lacks individual character. I feel like we’re going to hear this style of rhythmic instrumental a lot this year, which is a good thing. But, a song will live or die on the strength of its melody. In this regard, Coin can be a mixed bag.

I’m not super impressed with the chorus, which relies heavily on brassy flourishes in place of an inventive refrain. Luckily, the groove is loose enough that this centerpiece doesn’t simply feel like a drag-and-drop sample. And, Coin’s verses compensate for the hook’s melodic monotony. It’s fun to hear IU rap during verse two, but even before that her performance lends the track a breezy momentum that glides toward a fun pre-chorus. Taken alongside Lilac, I appreciate the one-two punch of upbeat title tracks. Both are well-suited to the optimism of spring.

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