[Review] IU delivers an expansive, magical encouragement to be metaphorically greedy on “Shopper”

IU‘s first two singles for her The Winning return were a hit and then a miss, though neither song were in genres that resided in my personal wheelhouse. “Shopper” changes that, bringing forth a playful yet expansive throwback electro-pop sound.

Powered primarily by a simple beat, an energetic synth loop, and IU’s bright yet expressive vocals, the comp here would be something like Carly Rae Jepsen‘s EMOTION album, or even a bit of a throwback to IU’s own earlier eras. The verses drive the song forward at a brisk enough pace, culminating with a belting chorus that carries an uplifting spirit with a tinge of magic to it. “Shopper” does lack an immediately memorable refrain — which could become an issue over time and limits its ultimate upside — but the explosion of energy instead of a downturn and the addition of the electric guitar helped add to expansive feel of things, and both kicked in even harder to close the song out.

Thematically, this is obviously not some kind of ode to capitalism or something, as “Shopper” is basically IU’s encouragement for the listener. It encapsulates the moment of self-realization from a person who’s at the point in life where they know what they want and now want as much of it as possible, conveying encouragement to those at a similar point to be greedy without being ashamed or afraid of judgment. I’m not sure many K-pop fans are at that stage yet, but for us hags who have found a direction, it adds a relatable sentiment.

Meanwhile, the music video stars and is directed by DPR Ian, and he provides a whimsical canvas that matches the tone of the song perfectly. While I’m not a lore hater or anything, it’s almost refreshing in that it tells a story that’s just largely as it seems (plus some Easter Eggs), presenting matching magical energy for the uplifting soundscape. The resulting overall package is something that’s at least perfect for certain moods that match this tone. While still mostly short of IU’s best, “Shopper” has so far proven to be an effective 80s-tinged pop track that bucks K-pop trends a bit by providing something to look forward to at its conclusion.


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