[MV & Album Review] IU – ‘Flower Bookmark 2’
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[MV & Album Review] IU – ‘Flower Bookmark 2’

3. Sleepless Rainy Night

IU releases her second cover EP ‘Flower Bookmark #2.’ It’s a sequel, of sorts, to the cover album in 2014. Billed as a gift for the fans, she selects songs and reinterprets them as only she can. It’s also her 9th anniversary, so celebrate with her by queuing this one up. 

“Autumn Morning” is the pre-release track. The song is not hers — it’s a cover of the 1991 folk tune by Yang Hee Eun and guitarist Lee Byung Woo. It’s a pre-release track, a taste of that soft voice before her new album ‘A Flower Bookmark Two.’

The song starts a capella style, remaining this way for a full minute before a guitar comes in, steady and straightforward. It takes a bit before her sweet voice meshes with the melody, matching the guitar note for note. It’s not long before we hear a refreshing flute join the mix. The song winds down much as it began, voice naked, no accompaniment.

It’s an effective combination. There are no guitar flourishes, nor is there a full orchestra. There are no complicated arrangements. There’s just her and a guitar and flute, and she sings as beautifully as ever. The thing I like about the setup is that it’s just different enough at points to keep your interest.

There’s no MV, but still, this thing achieved a perfect all-kill upon its release, debuting at #1. There’s no denying that this is a good song, and you owe it to yourself to check it out. 

“Secret Garden” is a cover of the 2003 Lee Sang Eun song of the same name. It’s a quiet, unassuming ballad. It sort of falls into soft pop as well, though it does lack an effective hook. It’s pretty sweetly sung, and I like how it doesn’t quite devolve into a standard ballad. There’s no loud orchestra at the end, no artist screaming to be heard over the noise. I like it. 

“Sleepless Rainy Night” is a cover of a Park Kwanghyun song, but it only became a hit later for Kim Gunmo (kind of like Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light.”). It has sort of an R&B feel to it and is definitely easy on the ears. It crosses between jazz and R&B, and IU even raps on here (which was a bit unexpected). Overall, it’s a fine tune.  

“Last Night Story” is a remake of SoBangCha’s tune. It’s very retro and has almost Beach Boys/Surfer music chords at the beginning. There’s no denying the older influences in this song. It’s also the promotional track, and unfortunately easily the weakest tune on this collection. It just feels so simple, and there are no flourishes to make it stand out.

“Rapids” became a hit under Kim Jong Kook. “Rapids” is one of those rather slow, stripped-down ballads. IU does her best here, and I’ve never heard her so expressive. The song meanders a bit, but at least it doesn’t devolve. I’m not a big fan of the song, but I can’t deny she killed it here.

“Everyday With You” originally by Deulgukhwa, covered by Sojin (of Girl’s Day) and featured on the ‘Reply 1988 OST.’ Deulgukhwa was a folk-rock band and compared to the Beatles. They broke up for a third and final time following the death of their drummer. This is an absolutely beautiful rendition and should have been what she promoted with. The re-done birdsongs are a nice touch. An excellent tune.

I’m not a huge retro fan, so this album was a surprise for me. It was a breath of fresh air, and most of the tunes really resonate emotionally. IU has a gorgeous, breathy voice, and nowhere is this more evident than on this EP. It’s not only comparable to her first cover album, it’s actually better.

Okay, this is another bizarre case of hate the song love the MV. (okay, “hate” is too strong a word).

This hilarious MV is a send-up of the 60’s, from the disco ball in the club to the dancing tux guys, to the plaid couch on which IU sits, and so on. There’s so much 60s kitsch here it threatens to overwhelm, but it’s presented in such a tongue-in-cheek fashion that it’s hilarious instead of merely campy.

The special effects are even somewhat retro, and we have an assortment of tumbling tape players and singing teddy bears, all in faux stop-motion glory. I love the dancing too, presented so deadpan that it is funny all by itself. What the point of the bathroom scenes is anyone’s guess.

This MV reminded me a lot of what I love about PSY’s videos — they’re random and silly, just like this one. I may not care for the song too much, but it goes perfectly with this MV.

SEE ALSO: IU sings of a ‘Sleepless Rainy Night’ in special live clip!