Growing up is the first album released by IU. I remember when this album came out, people were complaining because the first single had a stronger pop sound to it and it wasn’t as powerful as Lost Child. I really had no problem, I thought the song first her age much better. Boo was used as the first single and the album pretty much includes all the tracks from her debut mini-album.
Released: April 23, 2009
1. Overlook (바라보기)
2. Boo [MV]
3. Poor Thing (가여워)
4. A dreamer
5. Every sweet day
6. Lost Child (미아) [MV]
7. I Do Four (나 말고 넷)
8. You Know (있잖아)
9. Graduation Day (졸업하는 날)
10. Feel so good
11. Ugly Duckling (미운 오리)
12. Overlook (After Looking At) (바라보기(바라보기 그 후))
13. Lost Child (Acoustic ver.) (미아 Acoustic ver.)
14. You Know (Rock ver.) (있잖아 Rock ver.) [MV]
15. Boo (Inst.)
16. Poor Thing (Inst.) (가여워 Inst.)
Opening the album, we are given a more laidback reggae pop tune, Overlook. It’s certainly an interesting opener and while it is quite good, it’s not my cup of tea. I did like IU’s smooth vocals and the feeling of being on the beach though. I has a very calming feel to it. Boo was used as the first single and really should’ve been made the opener because of its more radio-friendly sound. It’s a catchy pop song that is more in line to that of “You Know”, but I wouldn’t say as strong. Regardless, IU easily glides through the song and she actually adds some attitude to make her vocal performance more intriguing. Good song and I don’t get why people had a problem with it. Poor Thing definitely switches things up with a pretty somber ballad. The song sounds pretty similar to other Kpop ballads out there, although it’s not one of the more interesting ones. While I did enjoy IU’s vocal performance a lot, the song was just too dull for me to actually pay attention. What I like about A dreamer is that it has a more progressive sound to it and IU’s vocals make it sound like you are floating. I was quite surprised that included a rap though as I found it to break the song up a little bit. Regardless, the chorus is quite good and I really enjoyed the use of the strings. It’s a decent track. Don’t really need to go through Every sweet day and Lost Child as my thoughts are still the same as on the mini-album review. The former is ok, but a tad dull, while the latter is one of IU’s best songs and a great power ballad with sweeping strings. The latter sorta just stands out in the album like a soar thumb. I Do Four has IU giving us a happy pop tune. It’s more along the lines of Boo, but with a stronger bubblegum pop presence. I like it and it’s quite catchy and I personally enjoy it more than Boo. You Know is another song found from her debut mini-album and another catchy pop tune. This is by far her best of the upbeat songs though as it’s insanely catchy and everything just comes together nicely. Graduation Day is more of a midtempo R&B/pop song. It’s a sweet song and the lyrics are quite nice, although I’m not particularly fond of the opening English lines to the chorus “I’m alright, I’m so fine“. Overall, the song is ok, but doesn’t do much for me. I think it’s missing something. The next two songs, Feel so good and Ugly Duckling, were found on her debut mini-album. Both are good and showcase some of IU’s best vocals. Overlook (After Looking At) is basically the same song as the opener, just with different lyrics. Lost Child (Acoustic ver.) is a far more raw version of the power ballad. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this, but seriously it’s just as good because it keeps the emotion intact, but gives it in a more depressing and somber atmosphere whereas the original was more aggressive. You Know (Rock ver.) is the pop/rock swing on the catchy pop tune. I can easily see how the rock would fit with the pop instrumental, but my problem lied with IU’s vocals. The song is the rock version, so you would think there would be more attitude in it, but the vocals are pretty much the same way as the original. It’s a little weaker.
Overall: I wasn’t particularly fond of this album to be honest. There are some good songs, quite a few coming from the debut mini-album. Of the newer tracks, very few stood out, while most were rather plain and album fillers. While I’m all for IU performing more mature music, it also has to not be dull. The pop tunes were good though and Lost Child really stood out. I sorta wish she had more of the latter.