[#36] IU - "The Day's End"

From: "Spring Of A Twenty Year Old"
Format: Single
Released: May
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Appearances: "기차를 타고" (2009) / #16 -"Rain Drop" (2010) / #14 -"Someday" (2011)

IU is K-Pop's best example of a compromise as far as industry demands go. She's young, she's cute, therefore the obvious assumption would be to put her in a tutu and let her prance around stage, right? She looks the part, sure, and her songs don't ooze sex appeal, but considering her "Marshmallow" and "Boo" days, her repertoire now is a big enough compromise. At least now she sounds like she actually has a voice.

What I like most about IU's "The Day's End" is the fact that even if the song is similar to her previous singles, it's ever so slightly more mature -- she's ever so slightly older.

The instrumental still has that playful, whimsical, "I'm going to twirl around on stage" sound, mainly because of the string section that's prominent in all the right places, as well as the the piano that's under it, but contrasted also by those epic drums in the background. I keep thinking that it's one step away from being a Christmas song, especially at the beginning. It kind of does sound like a Christmas song, but at the same time the elements that make a song Christmassy aren't as prominent or as strong.

The melody complements the playfulness of the instrumental with all these swoops (I like calling them swoops, it's sort of onomatopoetic at the same time) at the chorus, but it's those same elements that bring out the maturity in IU's voice. I guess you can say that there's a point of comparison, since we've heard her sing these sorts of things before but they didn't sound like that -- it makes the subtle changes more obvious.

But I also really like the fact that both the song itself and the way it was mixed makes you notice IU's voice more than the rest of the song. "Good Day" and "You and I" were mixed similarly to this, but their instrumentals were a lot more flowery and elaborate, so IU had to wrestle with everything else to stay audible. On "The Day's End" though, IU isn't fighting for dominance, and there's also a lot of conviction in her vocals, especially in the verses, heightened by the actual melody. You're really made to focus on her vocals.


  1. It's a shame that IU is so hated in Korea now, I think she has such a great voice.


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