[#47] IU - "Red Shoes"

From: "Modern Times"
Released: October
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2009: "기차를 타고" / 2010: [#16] "Rain Drop" / 2011: [#14] "Someday" / 2012: [#36] "The Day's End"
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Truth", "Fairy Tale"

I have a lot to say about this year's IU album, but the gist is basically that I think 95% of the material on "Modern Times" is not the right fit for her voice. It's not that IU can't sing, it's that the kind of material she has now in particular makes her voice sound a lot weaker than it actually is. She doesn't have the kind of vocals to drive home the point of songs like these. She does other kinds of songs a lot better, like her Japanese EP "Can You Hear Me?" and I really don't understand why Loen can't get her songs that work for her.

"Red Shoes" took time to grow on me, for quite a while nothing really caught my ear. But now I see where it fits in IU's discography, and that it's the link between "Good Day"/"너랑 나" IU and "Modern Times" -- equal parts mature, whimsical and cutesy. It's a strong song, with strong production, and half of the time IU's vocals are good enough. This would have placed much, much higher if not for the fact that whenever I listen to it I wonder how the song would sound like with a fuller, more powerful voice.

It's very well-done though, and that is what has ultimately earned it a place on the countdown. IU's performance on this is good enough, but it's a song that doesn't rely much on her. The instrumental and arrangement are what really drew me to the song, not so much the melody, because there's so much happening in the background. Every time you listen to it you hear something new in the instrumentation or how it's executed. The strings, the brass section, trumpets and all, the mischievous piano line, basically all these fairy tale-worthy instruments, and that percussion line that's intriguing for the most part and quaint for the rest -- those are the focal points of the song. Add the fact that they're not all thrown to you at once, that they're brought in a few at a time with their own little explosions, and listening to "Red Shoes" is entertaining at the very least.

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