Happy birthday, dearest Pi-chan! ❀◕ ‿ ◕❀

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Dear Pi-chan,

Apparently I’m very late. I’m sorry, it has been hectic. I hope you don’t mind?

So it has been a year since our strolling day in Tampere. I still remember we asked for a small candle in that small vintage cafe and felt sorry immediately after since they had to look all over the place for it. Then we were just sitting there, watching the world, talking about all sort of things that I don’t remember anymore. Random stuffs – our thing.

How are you this year? You’re going nicely along the path you’re choosing I guess, constantly looking for inspirations and striving for the best, as you always do. I’m inspired by you, too, don’t know if I ever mentioned that.

The answers for our questions about the future, I hope in time we will know… I hope you had a great birthday, and your new age will come with good health, new energy, lots of fun and love and laugh and happiness. Wish you all the best, always.

With love,

little Chi

P.S: I was scratching my head to figure out how to design the card for you. Due to my current limited design ability, it didn’t turn out as airy and free as my original intention… but I hope you like it nonetheless :”) I remember you with dandelion : ) ready to fly…

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. I took that photo and it came to my mind that I had a similar photo before. Turned out, it was also a photo I took because of f(x). Last year, when I was obsessed with Pink Tape and became their fan. I miss f(x)…

. Translated a Korean song from English to Vietnamese. Cleaned the bathroom. Hand-washed undergarments.

. “It’s Okay That’s Love” has been good so far. Since I didn’t even want to spend virtual money on kites for Vietnamese subs, I downloaded raws on d-addicts (BarosG version) and English subs on subscene (from riri13). Works pretty well.

. Laughed while reading some comments on netizen buzz. Some people are hilarious, there are some good jokes there. I used to avoid it before, thought of it as a gossip place that would negatively affect my mind. In fact, allkpop is worse and I survive it, while people on netizen buzz actually seem to be more rational. Plus. the person who handles NB gives me the impression that she’s well-organized, neither as biased as allkpop nor intentionally starts fan-war. She simply translates popular comments on Korean sites. Considering the fact that K-netizen has an enormously strong power on Korean entertainment industry, it isn’t bad to know the general opinion from Korea, as well as reading comments from international point of view. It’s pretty fun. When I feel overwhelmed, I just get out. After all, my opinion is my own. I can see other’s and think for myself.

. It has been cooler thanks to the rain. Not too hot that it’s hard to sleep, not too cold that I have to close the windows. Finland at its best. I should go out more. Like Khoa said, to dive in love, heh.

. Breathe.

“You’re slower than others but you’re a bright and positive child. A slow but kind child.”

I heard about Infinity Challenge as the number 1 variety show in South Korea, it keeps its high rating and respect from viewers despite running for 9 years already. So after finishing with SBS Heroes, I started with Infinity Challenge – its Speed Racer episodes. I was never into cars, let alone car racing with so much potential accidents, so I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed watching it. In one of those races, when HaHa raced against 2 competitors who were seen as of higher level than him, he used an automatic racing car which was easier to use but not possible to speed up, but in the end he actually won. For that, he got to be one of four final racers for Infinity Challenge team, who would participate in Korea Speed Festivals with real racers. He said to the car: “You’re slower than others but you’re a bright and positive child. A slow but kind child”. I couldn’t help but thought about myself. I’m like that, too. I’m not talking about competing and finish first necessarily, but about the fact that even if I might be slower than others, I have other characters and it will come handy in time. I’m like that car, I’ll be useful if properly handled. I want to be useful to others, too…

Yesterday I went for an interview for a cleaning job. They were nice, the couple, the dog, and the two cats. I didn’t get the job though, which was a pity, but I didn’t regret much. The transportation cost would be higher than the salary. I like them and I would still try if they chose me, I was also okay when they didn’t. A bit sad, yes, but it was okay. We also recorded a voice over sample in Vietnamese. They had their own company for audio products, and they said they would put my sample there and will contact me if something comes up. I don’t have high hope but it was fun nonetheless. She also said I’m a very sweet person and it was very nice to meet me…

I was thinking of going to eat or watch a movie, but then I just passed by Ruohonjuuri to buy some drinks and cornmeal and then went back. I talked to many strangers during the whole trip already anyway, mostly in Finnish, and I was feeling nice enough I didn’t need more. The bus driver opened… I don’t know what it’s called but it’s a small part at the top of the bus, so that the wind could come in. I didn’t sleep deeply but it was pleasant, with the feeling of the wind flowing gently on my face and through my hair.

When I got back home, a girl asked me whether I would want to help translating a Korean drama from English to Vietnamese. I helped her translated another drama before so this time I also said yes. It seems like I have an invisible bound with words. It’s not easy and I’m not the best one around, but working with it, practicing day after day… There’s a sense of comfort in it.

I’m going to have to renew my visa real soon. I’m so anxious with it. I hope it will turn out okay…

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today I was reminded about my previous relationship

about how I cried and cried so much for such a long period of time

think back about it, although he was the one who tried to make me fall in love but had no intention to catch me, I was the one who knew he wasn’t Mr. Right all along but still stubbornly held onto it

it was the price for being greedy

it was as if I was a child being given a doll,  even if I knew it didn’t belong to me, I didn’t like it to be given to anyone else because it used to be in my hands.

we wasn’t compatible and we didn’t belong to each other, I just couldn’t accept the fact that he used to like me and wanted to show it to the world but it was way too short-lived. I couldn’t accept and therefore couldn’t move on. and he was warm. the warmest hands I ever held. not the warmest and kindest heart though.

if I were there again, there’s a high possibility it would still happen the way it was. I don’t think I could avoid my feelings. sometimes I still wonder what that pain taught me. it didn’t make sense back then, I was too sad to think properly. how is it now? could it be that maybe running a way would solve things if it has to be a way? because it did help. I ran away and I grew better. but again, not everything has to have a meaning. it could just be.

at the right time, found the right place.

days of cooling temperature

sleep so well, like a cat curling up in bed under the blanket, breathing quietly, softly, peacefully

the wind blows through the leaves, the sunlight sparkling

the room  was cleaned up tidy and neat

crying here, laughing here, so comfortably alone

everything is like in a slow motion

nostalgic, airy

.

I wandered across a white space.

at the right time, I found the right place.

The little charm.

Master’s Sun necklace & rose hair-tie.

I bought the Master’s Sun necklace a while ago for 3 reasons.

First, because of Truc who suggested me the drama. I like Master’s Sun, I find all the characters to be super cute (especially Gong Hyo Jin) and they created a very nice atmosphere in it (despite me having to wake up early in the morning to watch due to ghost scenes), but the main reason was because of Truc though. I kind of want to have something tangible to connect us, apart from the beautiful memories we had in Full House in summer 2012.

Second, because of Kim Yuna. She’s the model for J.Estina, the jewelry company that produces this necklace. I can’t afford to buy two separate products, so I decided to combine two occasions into one during their sale.

Third, because of the “sun” symbol. I like the nickname they gave me during Lärkkula, “aurinko Chi”. The people, the place, the things we did, the memories we created and shared. I even like myself back then, with all the possible flaws.

When I first received it, it was smaller than I imagined, but it actually fitted nicely on my neck. I wore it all the time. At home. To my sleep. It was super cute, like a little charm.

It came together with a rose hair-tie. I didn’t like it at first because of the color. I soon got over that fact. “Oh, it’s a rose!”. Later on, I also discovered that it was quite a good hair-tie, firm enough to hold all my hair (which is, a lot) and still gentle enough to not hurt my hand when I tied. It didn’t seem to be loosen easily either (something which often happens since I have way too much hair and normal hairband couldn’t keep up with it for long). For something that was absolutely free, added as a bonus, it was definitely something practical that I valued.

I was thinking about writing this post ever since I received it, but my writing wasn’t consistent for a while despite me being extremely excited every now and then. I won’t say I will fix it. I will just do.

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I don’t feel like talking much these days.

It feels as if it’s noisy enough with all the thoughts buzzing in my head.

The sunny days make me feel somehow restless.

It calms me down when the rain falls.

The rain was pouring down the other day, with thunder and lightning and all. It was scary, but I liked it nonetheless. (Must be because I was safely inside.)

It reminded me of a particular day when I was small. It rained outside. My dad was also home, maybe he was reading newspapers in his room. I made a bowl of hot instant noodle for myself, crawled into my bed (which still had bed net putting up during the day), and read Harry Potter. How cozy and relaxing.

The days with no worries…

I walked outside on another rainy day. It wasn’t rain when I was outside though, only before and after (how lucky). I saw 3 familiar faces that I couldn’t recall when and where I met them. A person even smiled and nodded at me while jogging pass by. I also saw a white cat, absolutely cute on a fence beside a tree. I wish I carried my camera.

I wrote for Jiu on tumblr, I hope she will see it. It took me a while to edit the photo for the post. I thought I knew better but apparently learning is endless. I came out of tumblr and found more resources on deviantART. That page has been around for such a long time. Many people learned from it years ago, I’ve only started. But it’s okay. I can grow at my own pace.

Filmed the rain the other day. My hands weren’t very stable and there’s no evidence of the rain but anyway…

Seems like it’s going to rain later today though? : )

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Was it 23rd May? Named it Greenie Smile.

Was it 23rd May? Named it Greenie Smile.

These days I would watch Heroes and it would make me laugh until tears coming out from my eyes, then I would continue crying until the heavy burden in my heart somehow lifted. Even just for a moment.

Beautiful things made me cry, too. I’m very easily touched.

Most likely I will go to France to visit my nephews sometime soon. I’ve never met them. My mom and my sister told me that Sam loves to kiss on Chris’ cheeks. I already said this on tumblr but wanted to mention it again here. My lovable nephews, my dear dear nephews…

I talked to Mikko K. again after quite a while. Nothing happened, just time passed by. It’s easy to lose touch of people isn’t it.

Today has been really sunny and windy.

A Flower Bookmark – IU.

Earlier I posted an entry mentioning that IU’s newest mini-album was coming out. Since I really liked it, I decided to write my thoughts down.

I think it was my first time ever to really looking forward to an album release. I used to just wait for it to be available while doing all other things, used to think “What’s the rush?”. Then that day on kites (a forum in Vietnamese, concentrating in entertainment, well-known for Vietnamese subtitles for Korean stuffs), many of us Uaenas (IU’s fans) were online, we were talking about the things we wrote for IU’s birthday and naturally I joined in the wait (I didn’t turn to facebook since it’s usually dead quiet when it comes to Korean music, which is such a shame…). When it first came out, I listened to the preview of a minute each song on MelOn (a Korean online music store), and I fell in love immediately. It was heavenly good for the ears, especially the first song named My Old Story which was also the title song for the album. It’s very rare for me to like the title song of any IU’s album, this time was the first.

Before I talk more about the songs, I want to explain a bit about the background of this album. It’s a remake album, not from IU’s previous songs but ones from the last decades. IU personally chose the songs she wanted to sing, and for some she also asked the original artists to help. About the title “A Flower Bookmark“,  IU said:

For this album, just as the name suggests,
it’s like the kind of flower… that people would stick in their books in the past.
Then someday when you’re flipping through the pages, you find the flower again!
In that moment, it’s like receiving an unexpected gift
and memories from the past resurface.
It’s that sort of feeling.

Beautiful, isn’t it? At first I thought it was like maintaining the beauty of the songs from the past, no matter how much time passes it will always be pretty, but it sounds even better with her explanation.

The color theme of the album was purple.

Flower Bookmark teaser image

There were some guesses but we didn’t know for sure since there was no official explanation. My personal guess was that purple was the color of the past (I’ve had this impression ever since I was a child, for reasons I don’t remember). It has quite a nostalgic feeling whenever I think about it. IU’s personal favorite color is yellow. When these two colors come together, they actually fall nicely into places, combining IU’s favorite color and the feeling of the past for the remake album. I kind of have the image in my mind that they all throw in ideas, as it seems to often be like that from the BTS and IU’s talks every now and then.

A Flower Bookmark album cover

A Flower Bookmark had in total of 7 songs. Before I go deeper into each song, I would recommend you to put on headphones and listen to the preview of a minute each song like I did from here (I know it’s all Korean but the buttons are familiar, and actually it should play automatically when the window opens). I recommend this because when you watch the MV, you will be easily distracted by the story-line and the lyrics, and forget about the pure pleasure of IU’s voice and the instruments sounds and the emotions the song itself brings. Please do put on headphones, close your eyes, really listen to the music, and absorb it all.

And here’s the whole album.

The first song, as I said, was My Old Story. I watched a couple of MV reactions. I was never interested in reaction videos, just that this time I wondered whether anyone had the same reaction as I did. Of course it was different I guess, since I listened to the song first before I watched the MV (the album was released at midnight, and then the MV was released at around noon). I had no idea if any of them did it like I did, but from my impression, their first interaction ever with the song was also with the MV. Only one of them had similar reaction with mine. I held my breath the moment I heard IU’s voice.

It wasn’t midnight here in Finland when I first listened to it. Midnight in Korea means 6p.m here in Finland. It was quiet enough here though. Together with the eagerness and excitement shared with other Uaenas (10p.m at the time in Vietnam), it created quite an atmosphere. I was mesmerized already with the sound of the piano at the beginning, then IU sang the first notes and I was breathless, speechless. She had such an angelic soothing voice. I had liked her voice long ago but it had always taken me time to get used to the title song; this time it was just perfect. Her husky voice was soft like wind like air, effortlessly beautiful. I was floating into the gentle sounds and nostalgic feelings. The piano and the accordion blended nicely together, which was tender and brought a deep sense of nostalgia, fitting well with the general feel of the whole song. IU asked Cho Deok Bae (original composer and singer of this song) to listen to her cover and he seemed to be satisfied with the result.

Then about the MV…

My interpretation for this MV was that it was about a girl who liked a person and had the feeling that he liked her, too. However, the boy, for some reason, couldn’t confess to her, so she was wondering whether he was too shy to say it, or he didn’t like her for real. Up until now, she didn’t have the answer.

Without words of love
Days gone by in waste
Did you know about them?

You naive one
You’re taking away
my everything
You cruel one
Maybe you were too shy to say
Maybe you didn’t like me
I still have no idea

One of the Uaenas on kites said that Cho Deok Bae also wrote a song named Letter, about a boy who liked a girl, writing a letter to her but wasn’t able to hand it; so this MV would be about this girl knowing about the fact, telling the boy her feelings on the radio, waiting him through the night but he didn’t come, finally he knew her heart and was regretful.

However, there was another explanation which was confirmed by IU herself in a BTS video. “A guy and a girl miss each other after they broke up so they recall their story”. It explained why not only the girl but the guy was also crying. I personally never regretted any of my breakups, and I was bothered about the guy’s cry which was a bit over the top (which was supposed to be that way, I guess, but still). So at the beginning, I really liked this MV with my own view of the story base on the lyrics and I took the guy’s cry only a bit of sand. Then when I knew the real message, it kind of turned my mood off and what I didn’t like became more significant. It was still beautiful, I especially liked the way they portrayed the story – the guy on the bench, him being hesitated at the phone booth, him being in the car on one side looking at IU’s seat and her being there at different times, the beautiful flowers and the old-style radio mic, his shadow of him trying to write letters to her reflecting on a wall full of old photos,… Everything was beautiful, conveying the feel of longing for the past. It was just me. I still liked it, it was still my most favorite song in the album, I just didn’t share the same feeling with it anymore. For my own peace of mind, I refused to accept its real meaning : p I left it to my own interpretation. When I listened to the song, I didn’t think much about it anyway.

The second song in the album was Flower. It was impressive, but wasn’t my taste. I only liked it more when IU sang it while playing piano in her concert as the opening. I like its lyrics though.

The third song was A Pierrot Smiles at Us. It made quite a confusion when the third teaser for the album was about this song, since the previous two teasers created quite a gentle mood and then suddenly this retro dance teaser came out with the setting as if it was going to be the title song (now we all know it wasn’t, but at the time it created quite a buzz). (Inserting the BTS video since I liked it better)

This song would be very suitable for the title song if she decided to promote this album. It didn’t capture me from the beginning but it gradually grew in me the more I listened to it. Plus, it would be more fitting to perform on music shows since she could dance along. Of course it would be very different with Kim Wan Sun (the one who was considered as Madonna/female Michael Jackson of South Korea, this song was originally hers), but it would be fun nonetheless. I also like its quirky lyrics.

The fourth song was When Love Passes. This song with the sixth song Midsummer Night’s Dream, they took me a while to differentiate. They were both very nice and soothing, it was just a bit difficult for me to recognize them separately at first. I think both of these were composed by Yoon Sang and he rearranged it for IU? Yoon Sang was known to collaborate with IU for a long time already, notably with The Story Only I Didn’t Know.

The fifth song The Meaning of You was my second favorite from the album. It sounded refreshing and harmonious, as if I could even hear the sound of their genuine laughs in there. I thought Flower would be the most difficult song to sing in this album, but according to IU, this song was the most difficult. She had to ask Kim Chang Wan (this song was originally his) to come and help her.

The last song, which was also my third favorite, was Kung Ddari Sha Bah Rah. An Uaena told me the original song was very funny, but my Internet connection went off when I attempt to listen to all the original songs before IU’s album release and my mood for it wasn’t recovered since then, so I didn’t know about that. IU’s version had such a pure feeling to it though, like a folk song. Whenever I listened to it, it made me feel as if I was running on a sunny windy greeny field. It made me want to go out and have fun in the nature. I also liked IU’s slow rap along with Clon (the song was originally theirs, and they lent their voice in this).

Here’s the BTS of the recordings for some of the songs:

Here’s the BTS of the photoshoot for the photobook (it’s so pretty and also fun, like a piece of art iself, I never get tired of watching it):

I kind of got the pattern that IU would release a full album at around the end of the year, then she would release something lighter in May for her birthday. The fact that she didn’t do any broadcast promotions for this mini-album ‘A Flower Bookmark’ was a pity but it didn’t surprise me. Many people were surprised, which was reasonable, considering how good this album was. But even without any broadcast promotions, she gradually achieved all-kill, then certified all-kill, and finally perfect all-kill on Instiz iChart (the chart that combines all 10 charts in South Korea) with My Old Story. Most artists would have chance to achieve an All-Kill (no.1 on 6~7 charts) when they first release their song/album. A Certified All-Kill takes longer to happen, being no.1 on both real-time chart and daily chart on all 10 charts. It will be marked with green badge by Instiz.

Perfect All-Kill (marked with a red badge)  is an Certified All-Kill on weekly chart. Therefore, it’s very rare and hard to achieve. (Since it’s counted for weekly chart, we were a bit worried that she couldn’t achieve it since the album was released toward the end of the week, exactly on her birthday. It would be easier if it was released at the beginning of the week, but we can’t change her birthday just to achieve some charts right : p And she proved IU’s power again. Why worry, huh? ^^)

IU’s My Old Story Perfect All-Kill was also the first Perfect All-Kill of a Korean artist in 2014. Before it was Let It Go by Idina Menzel, and before Let It Go was also IU with Friday at the end of last year. And who says IU’s popularity in Korea was dead? It’s enormous! And not only digital sales, ‘A Flower Bookmark’ also ranked 2nd for physical album sales on Gaon chart (the week of May 18 to May 24). I’m so proud of her!

I kind of want to talk about her concert but this is like an overwhelming amount of information already… Maybe next time, or not, it depends. : p

Just a last bit. I thought this album would only suitable to listen at night, but it’s nice to listen to it during the day as well. Last time I went out for a walk on a sunny day, the wind was blowing the pollen softly across the sky, my mind was fresh and it felt like I was in heaven. (I know it would be hell for people with pollen allergy, but you know what I mean).

Ah, yes, before I forget. This album, to many people as well as critics, marks IU’s maturity, not as an idol anymore but more like an artist. I saw it coming already since ‘Last Fantasy’, ‘Modern Times’ made it clearer, and it was proved in this ‘A Flower Bookmark’. IU never failed to surprise me. Every time when I thought it would be the best already, she brought something else to the table and totally caught me off-guard. She’s not following any trend in K-pop now. She’s making her own path.

#HappyJiEunDay

I’ve abandoned this place and came back to tumblr for a while, but IU’s birthday is coming up, so I think it’s a good reason to come back here.

I’ve been trying forever to write about IU. Sometimes when you have too much to say, you end up saying nothing at all. That’s how it happens to me. There are so many things I want to say about her. I’m afraid the feeling may lose some of its magic when I put it into words, but I will try anyway.

I got to know IU since Dream High in summer 2011 (that scene when Rose and Linh and I watched it in Full House has just flashed back in my head, ha ha). I had heard about her before from one of my friends, she said IU was highly appreciated for her vocal and that she was pretty cute. I didn’t pay much attention back then. I mean, there were so many cute idols in K-pop and they were all supposed to be talented, what would have made the difference? Even in Dream High, I just thought about her as a super cute side-character in a super cute side-relationship. I’m not sure if Linh remembers, but I think the reason why IU got stuck in my mind was all thanks to Linh. Every now and then she would say something like, “the role Pil Suk perfectly matches with IU”, or “she’s extremely hard-working; groups with have different people to do different things and all of them will help to spread out the name of the group, but IU only has herself”, then “IU does everything to please her fans, she learns all the new things for them”. She also asked me to listen to one of IU’s songs and told me that it was quite a difficult song to sing. Last time I asked, she said she didn’t remember what that song was or whether she said anything like that. Oh well : D Anyway. After a while without me realizing it, the name “IU” was already at the back of my mind. When I listened to “Good Day” which was her most famous song at the time, I didn’t like it right from the beginning, but consciously time after time looked it up and listened to it, watched her performances and gradually was more impressed by her ability.

I need to explain a bit here. At that time, I had always thought that every singers would be able to perform their songs live just as good as their studio version. Apparently I couldn’t be further from the truth. Some singers are good at singing live and some don’t. IU belongs to the first category. IU, not only she could sing live, she was able to perform 3 high notes at the end of her 4-minute song. Although she was known before, “Good Day” pretty much made her name to the world, brought her to stardom.

What happened after that was pretty much a blur. If you had known me long enough, you might know already that I’m the kind of person who finds and reads and watches everything on the topic I’m interested in. Consequently, when I absorb too much information, I can’t remember clearly which one I know first and which one I get to know later. One milestone, though, was an episode of a variety show named Win Win with IU as the main guest, with the appearance of her close friends Suzy (who also starred in Dream High) and Yoo In Na (who starred in Secret Garden – one of the Korean dramas on top of my favorite list). From there, I knew about her tough childhood, her mature thoughts despite her young age, how she handled criticism, as well as the friendship she had with people who I also like.

I watched a couple of shows more, including The Crown Princess project from KBS in which she competed with other girl idols and won 1st place thanks to her knowledge. The more I watched, the more she appeared to me as a smart young lady with maturity. I admired her in that sense, and at the same time, she seemed so much down to earth because of her awkwardness. She didn’t always know how to react to other people, she was clumsy, and her laugh was famously known as ‘ajumma’ (aunty/old lady) style. Later on I knew that sometimes she exaggerated her laugh so people would pay more attention to her and she would get more air time, but of course it wasn’t doing good for her throat. She said sometimes people would mistake her to be the first time on the show while she was in it before. Knowing it made me sad. I’m more at ease now because IU of the present is famous enough, she doesn’t need to laugh out of necessity. I hope I will only hear her happy ‘ajumma’ laugh because she feels like it, not anything else. It’s actually pleasant, to hear the happiness in her voice, even when it’s in ‘ajumma laugh’ disguise.

Another thing I like about her is her dance. I know it might sound very weird to some people, because basically she usually just stands at one place and does some movements. But I mean it, I do like her dance. I have some decent amount of admiration for her choreographer. He/she knows IU doesn’t dance very well, plus she has to sing the songs (difficult ones at that) from the beginning to the end unlike people in groups who can share portions with each other. So he/she comes up with the choreography that matches brilliantly with IU’s style. Even so, all of them are distinctive, so her fans could tell them apart which movement belongs to which song when they see the pictures. I have my favorite moments in each, but the one I like the most is You & I.

I still remember I was obsessed with her peter-pan collar black dress with green shoes and white tights (not any less now), and I absolutely adored her eyes, especially the moment at 2:56 (I watched it uncountable times). Oh, and I love this album Last Fantasy – the album in which this song was the title track.

It was late at night and I listened to it again and again. I even had an expectation for her to not only do one title track but for all of them (back then I still didn’t know how the system worked in K-pop, I thought it would be the same as US UK, like some people made MVs and did promotions for most of their songs in an album). I mean, it was that good, the whole album. Then, I’m not 100% sure but I think it was the turning point, when I separated all the decorations apart and recognized IU’s true gift – her voice. I don’t usually say anything as “best”, but IU’s voice is the best to me. I hadn’t liked K-pop before because their voices all sounded the same, I couldn’t realize who sang what, and the music was similar from one song to another (except for some very special ones). Then I knew IU and she kept me interested enough to really listen to her, to her thoughts, to her music, to her soothing voice. What a beautiful voice, what a beautiful soul. She was going through a lot and she had her moments of anger and frustration, but she was determined and she tried really hard. She was eager to learn and she was willing to do anything she could if she found it necessary (I still don’t think her music at the beginning suited her, it was more for the market). She inspires me to no end when I look at her. Watching her makes me want to do more, work more. Listening to her voice and music calms my soul. I was skeptical at times but every time she proves to me there’s nothing to worry about. I wasn’t sure I would like it when teasers of her most recent album Modern Times came out. It seemed to have kind of jazz feeling which I tried but was never a big fan of. In the end, it’s my most favorite IU’s album by far, surpassed Last Fantasy in my heart.

Top 3 songs I like in this album (in no particular order) are “Everybody Has Secret (ft. Ga In of Brown Eyed Girls)”, “Daydream (ft. Yang Hee Eun)”, and “Bad Day” (which is IU’s own composition). I had no idea two husky voices could be so distinctive until I listened to Everybody Has Secret, and it was so good I couldn’t stop listening. Daydream was a nice match between Yang Hee Eun’s deep low voice (which at the beginning made both me and Doina mistook it to be a man’s voice) and IU’s soft as the wind one. Its lyrics was also something I could relate to. I still remember listening to it and Bad Day under the autumn trees on the way to school and from school back home. Good old time, good old time… “50cm/Between the Lips” was IU’s personal favorite song in this album if I remember correctly, “Walk with me, Girl (ft. Choi Baek Ho)” was one that made me feel nostalgia, Havana felt like it was filled up with IU’s smile, Gloomy Clock (ft. Jonghyun of SHINee) was like tip-toeing through time… Oh, and The Red Shoes - the title track. It took me about 4 weeks during promotional time, each week 3 times at least when I watched her performances on music shows, to get used to. I didn’t quite understand why they chose it to be the title track. It made me think every time when the title song came out. Good Day, You & I, The Red Shoes. None of them was my favorite right from the beginning, but in the end I always ended up liking them all. I guess the point of the title song isn’t about one that’s catchy right from the first listen, it is one that just has the power to get people come back to listen to. When The Red Shoes was released, I wouldn’t have imagined one day I would be so glad to listen to it when my playlist was playing randomly, and dance to it even.

IU also does lots of covers (many with her guitar), and one song which was especially meaningful to me was Almost Lover.

I listened to it endlessly in winter 2011. It was one of the darkest periods of time in my life. I still don’t know how I got through it, but one thing for sure was that IU’s Almost Lover cured my soul every time I needed it to. Her voice was like healing water. Her English might not be perfect but it was all I could ask for. This song will forever stay dear in my heart.

It’s been nearly 6 years since her debut, it’s a long journey and it’s hard to name all the things she did, the songs she sang, the shows she attended, the dramas she starred in. I could only mention some of her notable works which had more or less an impact on me.

The Story Only I Didn’t Know is a sad song about a break-up. I’m not sure how to explain the MV (Story Version), but I found this comment from Allie Kim on YouTube which seems to fit quite well:

I think that Park Bo Young, the girl in the video, was in love with a man many years older than her. The man is dead, but she doesn’t accept that fact and ends up in a mental hospital because of a mental breakdown. We see IU in all black, and I think this represents a part of the girl in the video. IU represents the part of the girl that knows the man is dead, but because Bo Young can’t accept that fact, she locked that part of herself, IU, away. Bo Young still misses her lover, as she constantly hallucinates that he’s here when he’s not. I think the man did not love her back and her love was unrequited. That’s why they mention in the song that all he could say was sorry. I think that Bo Young is ready to lock her whole self away mentally, and that’s why we vaguely see her at the water side, as if she was going to commit suicide. However, the man who is already dead is seen in that place, that may be the “after life”, and it’s as if he’s telling her that it’s not time for her to leave her life yet, and that’s why he grabs her arm and she wakes up on the floor, sprawled out. I feel that dream triggered her memories and that’s why she begins crying when she wakes up: the fact that he’s gone has sunk in.

There’s another version that cuts out the story (IU Version), but for better understanding the lyrics (back then LOEN aka 1theK didn’t have the system where they put the translation up together with the MV), here‘s the English translation. My favorite part was “If I had known, I would have cried it all out then”. Together with the soulful interpretation of the music, this song is one of my most favorite songs from IU. Not all of my friends like IU like I do, but they all admit that her voice really captures their hearts here.

Every End of the Day is the MV that was made for IU’s 6th mini-album to celebrate her 20th birthday. The MV features Peach which is her own composition, and Spring of a Twenty Year Old which is a lively song that is suitable for spring. It was filmed in Venice (the place I visited with my family and I’ve always wanted to come back since then). At the beginning of the MV, she was talking a little bit about her hands, that they were small and she was teased a lot about it. It surprised me because I really like her hands. I used to let my nails grow a little bit and use lots of colorful nail polishes, but I’ve turned to like neatly-cut nails without any nail polishes on like her hands now. What an influence. Even my mom wouldn’t be able to convince me about it. I also like her hands movements, I find them to be very cute. And her braided hair was an inspiration. I curled my hair at first because of Im Soo Jung in I’m Sorry I Love You, then it grew out which made perfect timing for IU’s hairstyle next.

IUinspired

Marshmallow is a fun song that was released in 2009. One fun fact about it is that IU’s manager (who was known as Chipmunk oppa) actually disguised as the marshmallow. After knowing it, I just couldn’t stop laughing when I watch Marshmallow performances, imagining him bouncing on stage in that costume.

Well, this has become a long post. I’m sure I could say much more, but this is it for now. IU is going to release a remake album soon, again for her birthday, in less than an hour. It will be a collection of songs from the past decades, she collaborates with veteran singers that made the songs themselves. I’m super excited! IU’s music has changed a lot. She has been making her own path for a while. Instead of following the mainstream music, she has been shaping a new side to it, bridging between the old generation with the current one, leading the listeners and showing them what else there is, becoming truer to her own color, learning to be a true artist herself. If not because of her, I wouldn’t have known so much.

Happy birthday, IU! I’m truly glad I get to know you. You are cute and all the more talented. Your voice is the most beautiful voice I have ever heard. And whenever I look at how you have been doing, I’m inspired to work harder, enjoy life, and be better as a person. Be amazing as always, blooming gorgeously, IU. I wish you good health and that all happy magics will come to you for this new age.