Korean starlet IU’s second Japanese single11 July, 2012 by Mus
Continuing her expansion onto Japanese shores, IU will be releasing her second Japanese language single on the 18th of July. This time, the single will be YOU & I, the leading track for her second Korean album, Last Fantasy. Will this be the release to give IU the boost she needs to get into the Japanese mainstream, or will it prove to be a tougher-than-expected nut to crack?
YOU & I charted at the top of Billboard Korea for 5 weeks in a row, quickly becoming the song many people associated with IU. This was further solidified when she went on stage at the Blizzard Cup (which played host to the GOM Starcraft League finals) to perform it. IU performed not just for the Korean viewers at the event, but for thousands from around the world who were watching the event on stream.
Much like her previous single Good Day, YOU & I has a characteristic sound that can only really be described as cheerfully poppy. The mainly string-instrument driven melody distinguishes it from both J-pop and K-pop hits of recent times. However, it manages to avoid the kitschy feel that a string driven melody might sometimes convey, through clever mixing.
The music moves in and out of the background seamlessly, allowing it to drive the song forward without needing to overpower IU’s vocals. A great example would be in the last quarter of the song, where it drops to just a few notes on a piano, as it ramps up to a powerful chorus.
However, in the end, YOU & I remains just another straight adaptation from Korean to Japanese. While IU’s own Japanese ability is passable, the song still sounds like it’s in Korean, partly because of the need to have similar enunciation in order to replicate the sound.
While this is no doubt a little disappointing, it’s understandable that IU’s entry would be spearheaded by releases that were tried and tested already. Hopefully, the next releases will feature songs written natively in Japanese.
Nevertheless, YOU & I is one of IU’s best tracks; while it should have little trouble beating Good Day’s sales of 20 thousand copies, it remains to be seen if the Japanese public thinks the same.Click here to search CDJapan for YOU & I and other related items.
Writer who also doubles as the photographer during event coverage. Mus' interests in Japan lie in the language, literature, popular culture and underground rock bands. Having an academic background in Japan, Mus is also particularly interested in the study of Nihonjinron.