Review

Song Review: IU – Eight (ft. Suga)

The global K-pop fandom lost its collective mind upon the announcement that IU would be collaborating with BTS’s Suga. And true to grouchy form, I received the news with a shoulder shrug, imagining the dull hip-hop ballads that usually result from these high-profile pairings. However, Eight (에잇) sounds nothing like I’d expected, and I say that in the best way possible.

Though Suga will understandably receive the bulk of the behind-the-scenes attention, I hear more of co-producer El Capitxn’s influence in Eight. He was responsible for tracks like Sunmi’s Noir and TXT’s New Rules, and Eight carries some of that same driving energy. Right from the start, the verse is underlined by strong percussion that quickly blossoms into a brisk pop/rock beat. The instrumental gains depth during Eight’s chorus, steadily building energy rather than upending it. This is a classic, unfussy pop arrangement, but its simple potency feels like a revelation in 2020.

Suga drops by for a brief second-verse rap, which feels a little extraneous but not jarring. I’m not sure that a track like this required a rap at all, but it’s nice to hear him put his stamp on a song he helped create. Eight’s melody unfolds like an aural version of a self-help book, comforting and enveloping. Even as its lyrics suggest otherwise, the chorus surges with a sense of open-ended optimism, which is really what we all need at the moment. Nothing about the track feels novel or boundary-pushing, but that’s not what Eight is trying to do. At just under three minutes, it wafts in and out like a pleasant visitor, though I suspect its stay on the charts will be much more permanent.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

19 thoughts on “Song Review: IU – Eight (ft. Suga)

  1. Colour me surprised — I expected you to give this song a good 6/10. The song sounded super generic to me, and it didn’t feel like it had any character or soul to it. Mellow is the word I’d use to describe this release. After a long time of reading your reviews, I thought I had learned your preferences in music and style, but I guess not (and I mean this in a good way)!

    On second thought, I guess I should’ve seen this coming given how you rated IU’s “indie-esque” songs significantly lower — “Eight” is the right amount of normal and plain that doesn’t try too hard to be coffee-shop-sounding I suppose.

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  2. I love this song. I have always loved IU’s voice..her songs always remain fresh to me even after a long time and this is no exception.
    The song is beautiful and with that mv.. A winner for sure.
    I liked Suga’s part, it blends nicely.. as u said not necessary( although I think it does a nice job maintaining the freshness of IU’s voice after the rap part) and that’s why I appreciate him keeping it nice and short.
    I have already listened to it a lot and I am satisfied.

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  3. .

    It’s OK. Neither here nor there for me. Pleasant. Radio-friendly.

    IU affects a 90’s Lillith Fair aesthetic here with 00’s vocal tics. Suga shows up for the unnecessary 10’s rap cameo a la Taeyeon “I”.

    It seems really short, only 2:45 for a Korean ballad (which is mid-tempo for the rest of us. KBallads are twice as long people! Surely they could have added another verse, a super long bridge and another rap cameo?

    Here is where I get grouchy annd go on a rant: I wouldn’t really call this style a duet, more like each of them did their part from different studios. There aren’t even ad libs over each others part. I know this is not the only song to do this at all, but it is the one I am listening to today. Despite all the social distancing, they could have at least attempted to sound like it is actually a duet. I am spoiled by binge listening to outstanding kpopera Forestella where they practiced the shit out getting every No NO NO NO in Bohemian Rhapsody perfect in 4-part harmony, live. (Having a counter tenor and a bass does wonders for the arranging possibilities.) This song by comparison is phoned in. We all know IU and Suga are going to perform it together live precisely once on some year end award show just before they get the award for best duet. rrrahrrahrhrrhrhr OK, back to kpopera, rant over.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lol this comment was so spot on, especially the end. I wonder if they can one up the awkwardness that was Suzy & Baekhyun’s “duet” stage where it seemed like they were meeting each other for the first time lol. At least the short length of it makes for easy stage planning… just segue it in along with Suga’s solo stage on whichever network pays the most for another BTS gayo mini-concert.

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  4. I had zero expectations for this track and expected the usual ballad.
    Before I even listened to the song I expected Nick to give it a 6.5 at best.
    After listening to the song I thought it was a pleasant surprise, kind of like NCT U’s Coming Home. Personally I would give it an eight as well and enjoyed the track quite a bit. Though as MYMAGOOGLE said the chemistry wasn’t anywhere to be found.

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  5. 8.5 for this? Hmmm, it sounds nice but will I listen to it after a month? I doubt it while Blueming (which is rated lower) is on my permanent playlist. Suga’s part as short as it was felt a bit out of nowhere and even slightly grating to me. Actually while I was writing this I listened to the song a couple more times to get a better feel for it. And the more hear it the more I grow out of it instead of the usual opposite.

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  6. Lyrics aside, I think the production of the song is super generic and deserves a 6 at most. There are ways to make a generic EDM track interesting in parts (Cue- Irene X DJ Raiden The Only) but the song is too safe to allow that. This could very well be a side track on Suho’s album and no one would notice.

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  7. This feels like the generic, vaguely-house-influenced radio pop almost reminiscent of tracks like EXO’s Bird or D&E’s Growing Pains.

    I thought both performers showed polish, and it’s especially refreshing to hear IU tackle this sort of synthpop.

    Of course, the track’s trump card is its lyric– the song sounds optimistic but the lyrics are anything but.

    Certainly not musically adventurous but it’s not meant to be. And a collaboration between two of kpop’s biggest stars is guaranteed to top the charts for half an eternity anyway.

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  8. I legitimately thought that I clicked on an extended teaser for the song rather than the actual release. Maybe as K-Pop becomes more and more of a numbers game, the standard 3 minute plus song will give way to itty bitty releases like this to allow for even higher streaming numbers. Sigh.

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  9. ARMY’s will render anything as good………. just because it includes BTS but anyway the song is generic not really my type. I don’t know why it doesn’t catch me but I didn’t expect it to anyway
    Hooks: 7
    Production: 7
    Longevity: 7
    Bias: 9 ( I love both Suga and IU and the song is OK so………)
    Rating: 7.5

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  10. There should definitely be a score for lyrics as well. Which will be 10/10. IU doesn’t play when it comes to lyrics. Agreed that the production sounds a bit generic but the lyrics are the heart of this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i love this song. granted, it’s sorta generic but this kind of song in today’s musical climate is kinda fresh. sounds like bol4’s travel, rocking and lively

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This song is breathtaking!!!
    I was bursting out in tears when I finally knew the meaning to this song.
    This song has soooo much meaning to it than it seems.

    So The lyrics in the first verse of ‘eight’ by IU begin with her questioning the state of her listener’s happiness. Ever since we were little, we had always dreamt of growing up so that we can be happy moving forward. But as we progress and evolve, the state of happiness that we had expected doesn’t show up. This only leads us to be less optimistic about our future days to come.

    Suga’s part actually tells us much more than it seems.
    The BTS member SUGA, in the lyrics for his verse in the song ‘eight’, adds to IU’s imaginative island. He throws counter-argument in IU’s dream of becoming ‘forever young’ is just like a sandcastle. We build one only for the waves to destroy it. Instead, he proposes an idea of living every remaining day in the best way possible. This way, they don’t have to keep unrealistic goals and be disappointed with it later on.

    So the last part of the song comes in, this is where it gets deep and emotional.

    So when IU’s lizard disappears, she dreams about another girl dressed in white in form of another animation different from the first one. She runs free in the wild then she jumps on this dragon. But that dragon is actually the lizard, you see what i’m saying.
    People don’t know that this song is giving tribute to two of IU’s best friends Sulli and Jonghyun who passed away due to suicide. The girl in the white dress is Sulli and the dragon is Jonghyun (Jonghyun’s favorite animal is dragons).
    I was actually one of the first ones IU and Suga gave permission to listen to this song before it came out so I actually know them personally, and I know that IU was very close to Sulli and Jonghyun. I hope people keep these two in your hearts and minds as much as IU does.

    Final rating: A well deserved 10/10

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    • That last comment. I’m gonna take it with a GIANT grain of salt if you don’t mind.

      Other than that, appreciate your analytical explanation.

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        • Haha when SOULE said “I’ll take it (your comment about knowing them personally) with a giant grain of salt” he didnt mean take your comment/review literally — he meant it figuratively, like “this comment is highly unverified and dubious so I’m not really going to believe it”.

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          • OK, that’s fine. But if you want more content and information of mine. Please go to my youtube channel at Korea Crush. Thank you and I understand your opinion.
            Even though it’s true

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