Palette

Thursday, May 11, 2017



As a human, we are struggling with our identity every time. In other words, no matter how old we are, no matter how long we have lived in this world, we are undergoing an identity crisis. In my humble opinion, I think people who say that they know what their identity is and not having any anxiety or confusion about it are mistaken “identity” with “social role”. Identity is not a social role. Identity is fluid and constructed; it is what defines the purpose of the social roles we have (Castells, 2010: 7). People can understand their identity, but it is a never ending process. However though, there are times in life when the identity crisis is at its peak. One of those times is in our mid 20s. Hence there is this term “mid 20s crisis”. For me personally, I can say this because I’ve been through my mid 20s, though I can also say that it is a never ending process since I’m still asking about my identity to myself (and I am late 20s now). However, yeah, my 25 was amazing for me, in a term that there were many discoveries I found for myself. At that time, I began to know what I want in life while wondering how to get there. Even now, though I am an adult, I still feel like a child sometimes. I realize that I know nothing just when I think that I already know everything. There is always something new. Indeed, life is just like a palette of colors, with every age stands for every color; together they define who we are as ourselves.

I prefer short bobbed hair over long hair, but still, I did look beautiful when I sang ‘Good Day’. Why is that? I like things that are out of style. Rather than paintings, I like colorful palettes, diaries, and times spent sleeping.” –IU feat. G-Dragon, Palette

The song I would like to discuss today is titled “Palette”, performed by Korean singer-songwriter IU. The soul R n’ B song was released as the title track taken from the singer’s fourth studio album of the same on April 21st 2017. For this song, IU collaborated with G-Dragon of BIGBANG who also co-wrote the lyrics with her. The music arrangement for “Palette” was conducted by Lee Jong Hoon, while IU composed the music by her own. An official music video was premiered on the same day of the album's release on SBS MTV. Lyrically, the song defines IU’s mid 20s identity crisis as she wonders the life she has so far as “IU” on stage and as “Lee Ji Eun” (her birth name) off stage. Through the song, people are able to understand the mind journey IU has in her way of growing up from a kid into an adult. She is in between now, and she enjoys the process, though it cannot be denied that she has some anxiety and insecurities about it. It is all depicted well in the song. For me personally, “Palette” kind of reminds me of Britney Spears’ “Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” and “Overprotected”. However, IU story-tells it in a more delighted and exciting way, though it does not decrease the depth and emotional meaning behind the song. It is a self-defining track penned by the singer herself, and I have to say, she does it great this time too.


"Palette" album cover | source: en.wikipedia.org

The struggle of identity that people undergo is different for every person. For Lee Ji Eun, who has lived under the persona of her stage name IU, she personally finds it odd when she likes modern high technology in music (she refers to the auto-tunes and EDM) that can make things easier, while at the same time she still likes simple yet sophisticated traditional music from Corinne Bailey-Rae. She wonders too why unlike any other girls at her age, she prefer to choose dark purple rather than hot pink for her color, and short hair rather than long hair. She feels different and she wonders why. And she realizes that she has changed a lot since her debut. “Strangely, I like things to be easy these days, but still, I like Corinne’s music. I prefer dark purple over hot pink, what else do I like? Pajamas with buttons, lipstick, and mischievous pranks. I prefer short bobbed hair over long hair, but still, I did look beautiful when I sang ‘Good Day’. Why is that? I like things that are out of style. Rather than paintings, I like colorful palettes, diaries, and times spent sleeping.”
Amidst her wonders in questioning her identity, here comes GD who shares his experience as an older brother. He had been there hence he can say that though things are rough right now, all she needs is just being herself. He says not to waste the youth just because the happiness is just momentary. No matter how old people are, they still have a lot of things to learn in life. “Things are hard because you’re young, everything hurts because of the nagging; you’re a child who always used to get scolded. You just barely got past your early 20s, the joy didn’t last long; they say it hurts because it’s youth. Hey Ji Eun, let me tell you, I just turned 30, I’m not ready but I’ve become a grownup. I still have a lot to learn and I’m not there yet, though I’m only five years older than you are. Above 20, under 30, in between around there, right there, you’re neither a grownup nor a child, you’re just you. That’s when you shine the most, so don’t get scared even when darkness falls around you. You are so beautiful, you will bloom like a flower, you will always be loved, you.”
Life, indeed, is a never ending learning process. And somewhere along the way, we define and redefine our identity. There are always people who like and who hate, yet do not make them as an obstacle to let us find ourselves. People will always judge no matter what we do and what choice we make. Hence do not make them as an obstacle to let us be ourselves. She feels that she is no longer a child hence she does not need other people tell her what to choose and do. She understands that she needs to experience it for herself in order to be able to learn and find herself. She knows that there will be ups and downs, but those all are just a process for her to be able to understand herself better; that way she embraces her mid 20s crisis. Therefore, being an adult is not something to be stated, but to be felt and experienced instead. “I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you like me. I got this, I’m truly fine, I think now I know who I am a little, still have a lot to say now. I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you hate me. I got this, I’ve truly found, I think I know a little bit about myself now.”


IU in the "Palette" music video | source: 1theK

Life is interesting. Take a look back to yesterday, some things could have changed already. Take a look back to some years ago, many things must have changed. Actually, they did not change; they just transformed instead. And transformation is the essence of life journey. It is okay if we are different now from then. It is also okay if we are still the same as before. It’s all part of transformation. And it’s all process of learning. There is no such thing as “right” or “wrong”; it is all just a social construction. Hence there is no such thing as “weird”; it is just “uncommon”, that’s all. It is okay to like things that are weird. Just because things are uncommon, it does not mean that those things are not right. It is okay to be different from most other people out there, but it is also okay to be the same like most people. It is okay to go against the stream or go along with the flow. Just because we follow the main stream, it does not mean that we cannot stand for ourselves. As long as we feel comfortable in a way that we do those things as our own choice, then every way is okay.

I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you like me. I got this, I’m truly fine, I think now I know who I am a little. I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you hate me. I got this, I’ve truly found, I think I know a little bit about myself now.” –IU feat. G-Dragon, Palette




이상하게도 요즘엔 그냥 쉬운 좋아 하긴 그래도 여전히 코린 음악은 좋더라
(Isanghagedo yojeumen geunyang swiun ge joha hagin geuraedo yeojeonhi korin eumageun johdeora)
((Strangely, I like things to be easy these days, but still, I like Corinne’s music))
Hot pink보다 진한 보라색을 좋아해 뭐더라 단추 있는, pajamas, lipstick, 짓궂은 장난들
(Hot pinkboda jinhan borasaegeul deo johahae tto mwodeora danchu issneun pajamat, lipstick, jom jisgujeun jangnandeul)
((I prefer dark purple over hot pink, what else do I like? Pajamas with buttons, lipstick, and mischievous pranks))

I like it, I’m twenty five, 좋아하는 알아
(I like it, I’m twenty five, nal johahaneun geo ara)
((I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you like me))
I got this, I’m truly fine, 이제 조금 같아
(I got this, I’m truly fine, ije jogeum al geot gata nal)
((I got this, I’m truly fine, I think now I know who I am a little))

머리보다 반듯이 자른 단발이 좋아 하긴 그래도 좋은 부를 예뻤더라
(Gin meoriboda bandeusi jareun danbari joha hagin geuraedo joheun nal bureul ttaen cham yeppeossdeora)
((I prefer short bobbed hair over long hair, but still, I did look beautiful when I sang “Good Day”))
그럴까 조금 촌스러운 좋아해 그림보다 빼곡히 채운, palette, 일기, 잠들었던 시간들
(O wae geureolkka jogeum chonseureoun geol johahae geurimboda ppaegokhi chaeun, palette, ilgi, jamdeureossdeon sigandeul)
((Why is that? I like things that are out of style, rather than paintings, I like colorful palettes, diaries, and times spent sleeping))

I like it, I’m twenty five, 미워하는 알아
(I like it, I’m twenty five, nal miwohaneun geo ara)
((I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you hate me))
I got this, I’m truly fine, 이제 조금 같아
(I got this, I’m truly fine, ije jogeum al geot gata nal)
((I got this, I’m truly fine, I think now I know who I am a little))

어려서 모든 어려워 잔소리에, ‘서러워 꾸중만 듣던 철부지, ‘
(Eoryeoseo modeun ge eoryeowo jansorie, ‘mae’ seoreowo kkujungman deutdeon cheolbuji, ‘ae’)
((Things are hard because you’re young, everything hurts because of the nagging, you’re a child who always used to get scolded))
겨우 스무고개 넘어 기쁨도 잠시 어머?! 아프니까 청춘이래
(Gyeou seumugogae neomeo gippeumdo jamsi eomeo?! apeunikka wen cheongchunirae)
((You just barely got past your early 20s, the joy didn’t last long, they say it hurts because it’s youth))
지은아 오빠는 말이야 지금 서른인데, 나는 절대로 아니야 근데 어른이
(Jieuna oppaneun mariya jigeum mak seoreuninde, naneun jeoldaero aniya geunde mak eoreuni dwae)
((Hey Ji Eun, let me tell you, I just turned 30, I’m not ready but I’ve become a grownup))
아직도 한참 멀었는데 너보다 다섯 밖에 먹었는데
(Ajikdo hancham meoreossneunde neoboda daseot sal bakke an meogeossneunde)
((I still have a lot to learn and I’m not there yet, though I’m only five years older than you are))
스물 , 서른 아래, ‘고맘때’ right there 애도 어른도 아닌 나이 그저
(Seumul wi, seoreun arae, ‘gomamttae’, right there, aedo eoreundo anin nai ttae geujeo ‘na’il ttae)
((Above 20, under 30, in between around there, right there, you’re neither a grownup nor a child, you’re just you))
가장 찬란하게 빛이 어둠이 드리워질 때도 겁내지
(Gajang chanranhage bicci na eodumi deuriwojil ttaedo geopnaeji ma)
((That’s when you shine the most, so don’t get scared even when darkness falls around you))
너무 아름다워서 꽃잎 활짝 펴서 언제나 사랑받는 아이, you
(Neomu areumdawoseo kkoccip hwaljjak pyeoseo eonjena sarangbatneun ai, you)
((You are so beautiful, you will bloom like a flower, you will always be loved, you))

Palette, 일기, 잠들었던 시간들
(Palette, ilgi, jamdeureossdeon sigandeul)
((Palette, diaries, and times spent sleeping))
I like it, I’m twenty five, 좋아하는 알아
(I like it, I’m twenty five, nal johahaneun geo ara)
((I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you like me))
I got this, I’m truly fine, 이제 조금 같아 , 아직 말이 많아
(I got this, I’m truly fine, ije jogeum al geot gata nal, ajik hal mari manha)
((I got this, I’m truly fine, I think now I know who I am a little, still have a lot to say now))
I like it, I’m twenty five, 미워하는 알아
(I like it, I’m twenty five, nal miwohaneun geo ara)
((I like it, I’m twenty five, I know you hate me))
I got this, I’ve truly found, 이제 조금 같아
(I got this, I’ve truly found, ije jogeum al geot gata nal)
((I got this, I’ve truly found, I think I know a little bit about myself now))

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