‘Superstar’ is a tasty synth-pop taster of IU’s upcoming fifth studio album, the much-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s ‘Palette’. On the floor, the only is much faraway from the singer’s normal choices of minimalist pop gems and theatrical ballads. As an alternative, it’s a traditional Okay-pop observe, that includes a shiny house-inspired melody and dancey post-chorus drop. However peel again these layers and also you’ll discover a fairly delicate and bittersweet centre.
On the coronary heart of each IU tune, there may be all the time a message. ‘BBIBBI’ is about setting private boundaries, whereas ‘eight’ – her hovering collaboration with SUGA of BTS – is a hymn to youth and taking life sluggish. On ‘Superstar’, IU encourages followers to embrace their flaws: “A flower can bloom / Between the frozen cracks / Can’t you see how lovely / Tomorrow’s spring is to be?”
In an introductory note, IU (actual identify Lee Ji-Eun) explains that ‘Superstar’ is impressed by a good friend – the tune’s “troubled outsider” – whose eccentricity has made them a pariah. It additionally attracts inspiration from her personal expertise as a pop star; as somebody who has spent half of her life within the limelight, IU is aware of what it’s wish to be always judged.
However as a substitute of turning ‘Superstar’ into one more autobiographical tune, IU flips the script and places the listener within the highlight as a substitute. Right here, IU is the fan and we’re the celebs. “Can’t you see how lovely / A real uniqueness may be? / You’re my celeb.”
The observe, which IU co-composed with a crew led by hitmaker Ryan S. Jhun, is one other demonstration of the singer’s lyrical prowess. IU skilfully plies metaphor and metonym to wrought her message about celebrating variations. “By the earphones the music of my playlist is all minor,” she coos earlier than reminding “You’re a star painted with a left hand.”
However ‘Superstar’ solely turns into a particular IU observe when the upbeat melody lastly melts right into a cinematic synthy slow-mo that ushers within the sentimental bridge. “An autograph written in steps / A drawing sketched in sullen steps / The trail to satisfy you solely / The trail alongside the dotted line,” she whispers.
It’s no coincidence that the tune arrived throughout a interval when most individuals are desperately trying to find a way of belonging, acceptance and reassurance. With the pandemic forcing folks additional aside, the timing of ‘Superstar’ is impeccable, like a much-needed hug from a cherished one. “Written for you / A bygone love poem,” IU beams. “It’s high quality to scowl however I want you possibly can smile, eventually.”
It’s straightforward to overlook that typically we’re the protagonists of our personal tales, however right here’s ‘Superstar’ to softly remind us of that.