South Korean songstress IU returned Wednesday (Oct. 10) with a new single to commemorate her 10th year in the industry. “Bbibbi” is a groovy alt-R&B track that frolics along with a deadpan message aimed at haters who have invaded her life with their negative commentary.
From start to finish, IU (Lee Ji-eun) takes the opportunity of her 10th anniversary song to playfully declare her independence as a human whose life and actions aren’t up for debate. “‘Why does she like those kinds of clothes?/ What’s that blank face she’s making?/ She looks different, is it from stress?/ She worries me,’” she sings, according to Color Coded Lyrics’ translation, over a clacking beat and rhythm, imitating what are presumably Internet comments, with her later referring to online user IDs. “Hello stup-I-D,” she calls out in the chorus after giving naysayers a “Yellow C A R D,” a warning used in soccer games.
“Bbibbi,” a title that means “pager” in Korean and appears to refer to the messages that people leave after the beep of a pager, is blatant in its meaning, as IU asserts herself. “If you cross this line, it’s a violation, beep,” she says, as if putting an end to the words she doesn’t need to hear.
“Bbibbi” is the 25-year-old’s latest song to lyrically address her feelings about her situation in life, where she’s matured from the “Nation’s Little Sister,” as she’s known in South Korea, into a confident adult assured of her thoughts and career. The new song was preceded by similar messaging in last year’s Palette and 2015’s “Twenty-Three,” each of which showcased a maturing artist who has grown into her own and is declaring her identity to the world. But even matured, she’s still the same IU people have come to known and love over the past decade; “Still me, still me,” she tells listeners in the new song. “No need to be surprised.”
In the colorful music video for “Bbibbi,” IU is seen emulating a variety of different roles, such as languishing around in high-fashion or dancing around in retro looks, and throwing away newspapers and looking out from a window with binoculars while wearing a Gracy Kelly-style scarf as if she’s peering out for paparazzi. As she sings about not caring about others and saying that it’s “not my business,” she coyly stares down the camera and shows off the different sides to herself.
IU got her start in the K-pop world at the age of 15, with the release of Lost and Found fronted by the song “Lost Child” in 2008. She saw her first major hit in 2010 with “Good Day,” and has since had five albums appear on the World Albums chart, with last year’s Palette topping the chart in May while her October EP Kkot-Galpi #2: A Flower Bookmark, which featured covers of older Korean tracks, went to No. 5. Along with being one of South Korea’s most recognized singers, she’s also a popular actress and most recently appeared in the television show My Mister (also known as My Ahjussi).
Watch IU’s music video for “Bbibbi” here: