From bubblegum pop princess to mature singer-songwriter, IU has grown to become one of k-pop’s most loved and respected artists. Her output has varied quite heavily throughout the years, and each listener is likely to have an IU sound that they prefer most. Looking at my top ten, I think you’ll see where my allegiances lie! Here are the best of the best.
10. Marshmallow (ft. Zico) (2009)
9. Palette (ft. G-Dragon) (2017)
Moody and sleek, Palette takes the tempo down for an addictively chic rumination on her life and career thus far. (full review)
8. Twenty-Three (2015)
Returning after two years without original material, Twenty-Three reinvented IU’s sound with a newly matured, dance-influence beat and a breezy, string-assisted chorus.
7. The Red Shoes (2013)
Pulling in big band sounds and a free-wheeling, anything-goes structure, The Red Shoes is the rare throwback that feels utterly fresh and engaging.
6. Beautiful Dancer (2013)
Produced by the legendary team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Beautiful Dancer is all lush harmonies and stop/start finger snap beats.
5. You Know (Rock Version) (2009)
Eclipsing the song’s original version, a wall of glossy, radio-rock guitars gives You Know a punchy drive that suits its forceful melody.
4. Boo (2009)
Though not her official debut, Boo marked the first in a string of bubblegum pop singles that expertly married IU’s light, girly vocals to irresistible guitar-assisted hooks.
3. Sea Of Moonlight (ft. Fiestar) (2012)
Riffing off of the immortal synth line from A-Ha’s Take On Me, Sea Of Moonlight is an anthemic slice of summertime pop that sees IU and Fiestar pulling off a credible ode to the 80’s.
2. You & I (2011)
A gorgeously produced mix of classical elements and unabashed, driving pop music. You & I is IU honing her sound and delivering on the promise she’d displayed a year earlier.
1. Good Day (2010)
Transitioning to a more orchestral sound for the first time, Good Day is truly a watershed moment in IU’s evolution as an artist. She’s revisited this sound many times after, but never with quite the same lush, meticulously arranged power. As well as being a perfect spotlight for her charms as a vocalist, Good Day provides a brilliant example of what can happen when artists aren’t afraid to blur genre lines and go big.