IU has long made a name for herself as one of Korea’s most famous and respected young musicians. With her growing popularity as an actress, some might expect her to stray away from music, but IU has always made it clear that she has a great passion for creating and performing songs. “Love poem” was highly anticipated because it was her first comeback since “Palette” in 2017 (excluding her remake album “Flower Bookmark 2” and digital single “BbiBbi”). “Love poem” is a phenomenally well-produced album, and in a way is IU‘s most vulnerable piece of work yet for she has written the lyrics for all of the tracks. Through this release, we can really see how far she has come since her debut over a decade ago, and once again this album proves why IU has been and still is on top of the music industry.

BlueNose: “unlucky” is a plucky (both in lyricism and music) song about IU facing obstacles with a brave heart despite her bad luck. The track opens with a bubbly piano and the singer’s bright vocal color. It then carries on with that motif until we hear a quick hum and loud “pop” and an “ahh” as if she just took a sip from a refreshing drink. Soon after, a brassy instrument and harmonizations enter the song up until the pre-chorus. The track at that point sounds like IU is down in the dumps about her situation, but as soon as the chorus hits, she quickly lifts herself up—having a bright personality and gaining a positive outlook. “unlucky” is sweetly motivational, encouraging the listener to keep going through lines like, “Just life we’re still good without luck” and “Even if you stumble, keep walking straight”. This is the kind of song that always puts a smile on my face. This track actually reminds me of “Shoes” from her mini-album “Chat-shire” (2015).
Rating: 7.75/10

yooamygirls: This song reminds me of a b-side off the “Chat-Shire” album in that it’s slightly mysterious, childishly playful, and introspective—themes that were prominent in that piece of work. However, “unlucky” fits well in “Love poem” because I think the way IU sings it shows her growth in maturity since her last mini-album. Her voice carries the song by pushing the melody forward. The instrumental itself is mostly piano with percussion, and it adds to the jazzy vibe of the track. This song wasn’t the most memorable, but I think it does its job well as the opener and setting a certain theme. It surely quelled my fears of having an album only full of ballads.
Rating: 7/10

BlueNose: “The Visitor” is a huge contrast to the first piece of the album. It’s darker, moodier, and kind of sexy. Using an acoustic guitar and what sounds like a bass to control the melody, the song uses drums, a piano, and IU‘s sweet vocals to follow the vibe set by the main instruments. The singer tells a story of someone she loves, but it seems like all the person of interest does is lead her on and hurt her. The atmosphere of the track is so strong and gloomy that I can’t help but come back to the song again and again. I believe this track is a bit of a throwback to “Between the Lips” (2013) from IU’“Modern Times: Epilogue” album.
Rating: 9.75/10

yooamygirls: My favorite b-side of “Love poem”! This is so funky and jazzy, and I love everything about it. It sort of feels like a fusion of “Zezé” and “Bad Day” (songs from “Chat-Shire” and “Modern Times: Epilogue” respectively) and is a sort of track that you would hear at a cafe. I adore how clearly you can hear the guitar and how it blends with IU‘s lower register. This song doesn’t really “explode” at any certain point, but the singer’s voice is enough to make the piece exciting to listen to. If “unlucky” reminded me of the “Chat-Shire” EP, “The Visitor” makes me think of the “Modern Times” album, which had a very 70s and 80s type of sound to it. Moreover, I love how she pronounces “why, why still love you,” near the end of the track.
Rating: 9.5/10

BlueNose: “Blueming” is the title track of the extended play, and it takes a few notes from unlucky’s bright tone and continues it. However, it’s a sweet love song this time. With a retro sound yet modern lyrics, IU compares her feelings of affection to the growth of flowers. She wanted fans to hear this “very blue song” and added “ming” to “blue” to make what sounds like the word “blooming” which to her represented flowers being in bloom. I thought it was a really nice detail that she uses the color blue so brightly—utilizing the color to mean something bright and energizing as opposed to something sorrowful. The guitar takes the melodic lead in Blueming and gives it a fun and uplifting aura which really takes off in the chorus. Something about the song really reminds me of her 2018 single “BbiBbi”—maybe it’s the playful energy it has. To top it off, since “Blueming” starts and ends in the same way, its a pretty seamless transition to have on replay.
Rating: 8.5/10

yooamygirls: The moment this song started, I was totally in love. I wished for a bright, bubbly IU that unfortunately, both “Love poem” and “above the time” didn’t have. While I enjoyed both ballads, I wanted the title track to be in a similar vein to “Twenty-Three” and “Palette”. “Blueming” is such a fun song to listen to, and even if it isn’t an outright dance track, it’s hard to sit still while hearing its addicting melody. The singer’s sweet voice suits the lyrics of “blooming in love” very well and I love how she used the color blue—often symbolizing melancholy and sadness—with happiness, love, and excitement instead. The way she sings “I feel Bloom” and “I feel Blue” sounds very similar and highlights her clever lyric writing. I’ve been listening to this track non-stop and have yet to get sick of it. It’s such a solid song from start to finish.
Rating: 10/10

BlueNose:above the time” alters the vibe of the album. With several calls backs in the song and video to IU’s “You & I“, I was so sure it would be “You & I” 2.0, but it’s more like its younger and more carefree sister. Several scenes from her 2011 song have been almost updated to fit “above the time‘s” MV—including the male lead reprising his role. Characteristic of her 2011 hit, this song is focused on orchestral instruments and has a surprising change—a folk-like interlude. This intermission midway into the track is my favorite part; it takes me by surprise each time. Even the last verse’s melody and pronunciation is quite reminiscent of “You & I“. The verses are incredibly catchy to me because of the singer’s enunciation. However, the catchiness doesn’t keep up for the chorus as it lacks a liveliness I think it should’ve had. I don’t like it nearly as much as I love “You & I“, but I think it’s a great addition to her discography.
Rating: 7.5/10

yooamygirls: Not only was this track released with an MV before the album actually dropped, but it was also a sequel to her 2011 song “You & I”. As someone who adored both the song and the video, I was very excited for “above the time”. While I enjoyed the MV immensely, the track didn’t meet my high expectations. It felt like a continuation of “Dear Name” without being nearly as emotional or dramatic. Although this is an enjoyable song, I just didn’t sense the explosion of emotions that I usually feel in IU‘s ballads. My favorite part is probably the odd instrumental bridge section with a throwback to the “You & I” melody, and it’s so out of place but really adds flavor to the track as a whole.
Rating: 6.5/10

BlueNose: Leading into the end of the album is “Lullaby”. With elongated words and a whispery tone, the singer and a simple piano serenade the listener. If “Blueming” is similar to “BbiBbbi” and “above the time” is akin to “You & I”, then “Lullaby” is a lot like “Through The Night” (2017) for me. The lyricism is pretty spot on to what you would think the track is about based on the name. IU wishes a good night and sweet dreams. What the song lacks in vocal prowess like strong belts and high notes, I think it makes up for with a nice structure and the singer’s unique color. She doesn’t attempt to pull off special effects here. Anything more or even anything less would put the track in an awkward position of either being too much that it isn’t tranquilizing or too boring that it actually puts the listener to sleep, so they never reach the end of the piece. “Lullaby” found an almost perfect sweet spot.
Rating: 8/10

yooamygirls: IU has talked about her struggles with insomnia multiple times and has put out tracks to help her fans with their own struggles in daily life and sleep, so I was excited for a song explicitly titled “Lullaby”. Her musical pieces have always been a healing hand for me over the years, and “Lullaby” is no different. It’s such a soothing and lovely track with her trademark acoustic sound—a sound that defines her. Similar to “Through The Night” in the “Palette” album, I really felt like she was singing to me the entire time. IU has that effect with her emotional and vulnerable voice, and I love how it’s amplified in this song.
Rating: 8/10

BlueNose: “Love Poem” is the pre-release song to the album and the final track. The echoing chorus of “I’ll be there!” is the star of the song to me. This musical piece kind of harks back to “Lost Child” (2009). The track does a similar trick as “Lullaby” where IU lengthens her words for impact. My only problem with Love poem is when the male background voices became the pivot of the song. I lose interest in the piece around that point, and I don’t get the high feeling from the track I felt initially unless I restart it.
Rating: 6.5/10

yooamygirls: “Love poem” was the pre-release track, and as expected from the digimon herself has been topping the charts for weeks. This song is powerful and sounds like an older, classical type of ballad that hasn’t been as popular recently, but somehow IU manages to make it modern. This was the perfect pre-release track—it gets people instantly excited for the type of sound on the album and shows the singer’s vocal versatility and technique. The way she begins the chorus with “I’ll be there” sounds like she’s starting to tell a story, and it’s beautiful and moving. IU certainly has a way of moving hearts with her voice, and this track is evidence of that.
Rating: 9/10

Closing Remarks – BlueNose

As someone who’s been a fan of IU for nearly five years now, “Love poem” holds a special place in my heart. Although it is not my favorite album, I can’t help but feel like this body of work is like a time capsule of sorts. Each song takes me back to a previous time in her career and the emotions that came with those past songs. She took a lot time to prepare this album, and I think her effort and quality shines through when you hear it from start to finish. After reading her recent interviews and hearing her concert talk segments, it’s apparent that she wanted to create a piece of work that got others through their day and something that could—in a sense—heal their their soul. Knowing this, I can’t help but be proud of the growth I’ve seen from her since I joined the Kpop sphere in 2014.

Artistic Creativity: 8/10
Vocal Quality: 8/10
Music: 8/10

Album: 8/10

Closing Remarksyooamygirls

IU—the queen of female soloists—has done it again. Her albums always promise a certain level of quality, and “Love poem” follows through. Although she is both a famous actor and singer, it is her artistry that has made me a fan of her, and I love how she wrote the lyrics to every single song in this album. She’s growing as an artist even over a decade into her career, and I couldn’t be prouder of her. “Love poem” was made to listen from start to finish as a whole, and I adore the thematic cohesion of the entire thing. Furthermore, this EP exudes feelings of peace and calmness, and I would recommend everyone who needs some healing to check it out.

Artistic Creativity: 9.5/10
Vocal Quality: 9.5/10
Music: 8.3/10

Album: 9.1/10