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Album Review: IU, Lost and Found

December 3, 2008

So I’ve finally decided to get off of my lazy, procrastinating butt and write this mini-album review that I promised to do since I first heard the tracks from the cd. Since it’s a mini-album, I’ll post my overall thoughts and then do a track by track review because there really aren’t that many and it shouldn’t prove to be too difficult. Please keep in mind that this is solely my opinion – I do not profess to be a connoisseur of good music or to know that much about the technicalities of music in general so feel free to agree or disagree with any of my statements. In addition, I have only done one other album review and it wasn’t track by track so please excuse me if it’s lacking in any way. Nevertheless, I will try to keep the review as subjective as possible. Now onto the review!

IU Album Art

IU Album Art

Lost and Found – Release Date: September 24th, 2008

Overall Thoughts:

So as is usually the case with me, I started listening to this album with preconceptions about the kind of songs I would find on it – I figured that there would be a lot of power ballads like Mia and maybe some softer, lighter ballad tracks. I was so wrong. I’m starting to realize that with debut albums (or mini-albums, in this case), the producers or managers or whoever really make an effort to showcase the artist’s versatility by giving each track a different sound and having them explore different genres and I think that IU’s producers did a really good job of that with her. It took me a little while to get used to how different the other songs were from Mia but after a few listens, they really grew on me.

The songs on the album are an interesting mix – they range from pop to jazz to R and B and IU makes an easy transition to each genre. It’s a good album for easy listening – the songs remind me of what you’d hear on Sunday afternoon radio, mid-tempo, fairly upbeat, light, generally nothing too overwhelming. I feel that you never get the impression that she’s attempting something she can’t achieve or that she’s trying to be something she’s not – I think it’s a testament to her training and vocal ability that she can pull off all of these different songs because trust me, just listening to Mia, I would never have guessed that she had this kind of range. I did find myself wishing at the end of it that there was another song like Mia (and more songs in general) on the album just because as nice as the other songs are, none of them have that raw power and strength that Mia has. I honestly would not have minded just one more track like that but I’m not worried – I’m sure her full length album will deliver it since her strength really seems to lie in those types of songs.

(You can take this as a side note: I have to say that as I listened to the album, I could not help being overwhelmed again and again by the maturity in her voice – I was just in shock – I mean, who would believe she was just fifteen listening to ‘Feel So Good’? Like with another of my little stars, I’m really excited to see how she’s going to improve vocally – her voice is already so incredible, it will be very interesting to see how she grows and she’s young now so you know she’s only going to get better. )

So overall, I really like her mini-album – all of the songs are different, they’re all beautiful, they all have their own merits and I would definitely recommend it. I don’t think she falls into the conventional mold and it is becoming apparent that she is not being set up as the usual, idol singer which is, in itself, a reason to check her out. She could help bring some variety onto the K-pop scene and we all want that, right? I do not think that her music is for everyone but I believe that she could appeal to a very wide audience and I certainly hope that that happens for her. I think I’ll give this album a B+ because while I liked every song, I at times felt that some of the tracks were a little forgettable.

Track-by-track: (Go here to listen to the album in its’ entirety.)

1. Miun Ori (Ugly Duckling) – Listen

To be honest, when I first listened to the album, I found this song to be the least impressive and excluding the instrumental track, it was the only song that I didn’t add to my mp3 player playlist. Listening to it again, I am not sure what caused me to have that reaction to it, especially since this song is more along the lines of the type of song I expected to hear on the album.
It’s really a beautiful, simple track – her vocals are very prominent and strong in this one, although not in the same striking way that they are portrayed in her debut song. It’s a much softer sound than Mia but that works here – it shows you that she can manage smoother vocals and an overall sweeter sound. The music is a great asset, particularly the inclusion of the guitar (I know she plays guitar – I wonder if she’s doing so here…) and like all of her songs, the supporting vocals are always introduced at the right time. It is a bittersweet song – made up of equal parts hope and sadness – and IU does a very good job of conveying those emotions in her voice – I really didn’t need to look up the lyrics to get an idea of what the song was about. Overall, it’s a good, solid track and it does well as the opening song for the album, particularly as it’s followed by Mia.

2. Mia – Watch the MV

When you listen to her whole mini-album, it immediately becomes apparent why they chose Mia as her debut single. It’s definitely the most outstanding song on there and while of course, her voice is used to the best of its’ merits in all of her songs, I think Mia gives you the best idea of the strength of her voice as well as her vocal range and capacity. It’s quite an impressive song and it makes you sit up and take notice and with a debut song, that’s what you want, right? In addition, I also think that it’s placed well on the album since the following songs all have much lighter sounds.
The music itself is spectacular – I love the fact that she always performs with an orchestra – and the way that it blends to perfectly suit her voice is something to note. I think this song is really perfect for her and it leaves you with a very strong impression.

3. Itjanha (You Know, feat. Mario) – Listen

I really believe that if they wanted IU to have more commercial success (or exposure), they would have chosen this song as her debut single. It’s very cute and bubbly and fun and I think it would have gotten quite a few people interested in her but maybe for the wrong reasons or should I say, it might have given them the wrong idea about what kind of artist she is. She could have fallen into the heap of cute, bubbly singers that are floating around these days and since they wanted her to stand out (and also establish her as a more serious artist), they did not choose to use this one. It’s a really nice song though – definitely one of my favourites (I’m a sucker for cute things) and it does manage to give you a taste of her vocal ability around the bridge. The melody is infectious, the chorus is catchy and the inclusion of the rapper was a good choice – he adds to the fun and his voice and sound offers a nice contrast to hers.

4. Feel So Good – Listen

This is one of my favourite songs on this album – it’s easily the one I listen to the most, more than Mia even. It’s very smooth, very mellow, very soft but not so much as to bore you or to fade into the background. It’s just really easy on the ears and it flows very nicely, so much to say that I’m often surprised when it’s done. The music is pleasant and compliments her vocals nicely.
This song also includes a rapper – and it’s a bit surprising actually because there’s no indication of a supporting artist beforehand but like Itanjha, they manage to strike a good balance between her sweet voice and his rapping.

5. Every Sweet Day – Listen

This is another song that falls somewhere between pop and r and b, although the maturity of her voice is more apparent here and that takes away from the overall cuteness a bit. I think part of the reason I listen to this one so much is because of the intro (“Hey boy, what you gonna do for me?” – her English is so good, by the way!) – for some reason, once I hear that, I have to listen to the song. I just find it really appealing.
I really like the way that she sings the song as well as how well her voice blends in with that of the supporting vocalists – it produces a lovely, pleasant end result, the whole song is so smooth and melodic and harmonious. Like Feel So Good, it’s just so easy on the ears – honestly it’s a difficult song to dislike, although I did find myself wishing that the sound was not quite as similar as the above track. It’s a very nice song though and great if you want to listen to something soft and upbeat.

6. Mia (Instrumental)

I usually don’t count instrumental tracks as full tracks unless the album’s made up of them but since I said I’m going track by track, I feel I should be thorough and include Mia’s instrumental. The music for this song is really beautiful – sweeping and haunting – and I love how they mixed the sounds of traditional, classical instruments like the violin with the electronic beats created by synthesizers and the like. Despite that, I probably listen to this song the least on the album just because I prefer to listen to the vocal version as, in my opinion, the vocals are the perfect complement to the arrangement. In addition, I find that after awhile the music begins to fade into the background (except when it’s approaching a crescendo) but I think that that’s a result of having listened to the vocal version so much.

Well, that’s it for now. If you want more information on IU, check out her official Soompi thread (it’s almost reached ten pages!), join IUWorld – the very first IU forums, go to IUWorld on Youtube or just browse around here on WP – there still isn’t very much information on her but she’s got a few fans here so I’m sure you’ll find something. For more mini-album info, go here and for the translated lyrics, go here (MUST BE A SOOMPI FORUMS MEMBER TO ACCESS THE LAST LINK). Hope this helps!

Oh, and as a little bonus, here’s a short video of IU performing Corinne Bailey Rae’s ‘Like a Star’ as well as Tamia’s ‘Officially Missing You’ while playing the guitar at ShimShimTapa. See – she’s multi-talented too! And like I said before, her English is AMAZING. Check it out below.

credit: IUWorld

Maki

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2 comments

  1. […] just did a review of IU’s first mini-album, Lost and Found. Feel free to read it here. A new […]


  2. […] By the way, a great review can be found here.   […]



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