Ashna Susan Varkey, New Delhi
The South Korean vocal queen, Lee Ji-eun better known as IU released her fifth album titled ‘LILAC’ on 25th March, 2021. As expected from the multi talented artist, all the songs are unique. The whole album is a juxtaposition of genres. The album is all about saying goodbye to her 20s and hello to her 30s. The sixth song on the album is titled ‘Troll’, which is produced by DEAN and Park Woo-sang. The lyrics were written by IU and DEAN.
IU is a versatile soloist who always caters the best to her audience. In this song, she kept it soft, neat and simple. The fact that she chose to keep it simple even when there was scope for progressions at the end, makes the song stand out. Her vocal range has always been the talk of town. ‘Good Day’, ‘Above the Time’ and ‘Through the Night’ are few of her masterpieces one should not miss. Another highlight of the song is DEAN, who’s the ‘Prince of K-R&B’. Dean has a sweet velvety voice, which is right fit for the song. His voice works perfectly with the rhythm and the flow, with no excess strain on the musicality. His ability to merge himself with IU and still stand out is commendable.
It is a Bossa Nova jazz single with a hint of Lo-fi, reggae and future bass. The song is a little too perfect, taking you right to the beach on a good summer day and is definitely going to make your head bob. The song has a heavy influence of percussion throughout the chorus. The subtle drum beats with piano work chopped in between creates a perfect balance. Nothing feels too much, nor too less. There is no usage of auto tune or heavy vocal sounds.
The title ‘Troll’ makes us wonder what the song is all about. The lyricist is trolling the thought of the listener, who might think this is a pretentious love song. The lyrics catch you off guard, and you question the whole dynamics of the song. It is hard to ignore the heavy lyrics with the background of such calm instrumentation. The song focuses on a doomed love story of two individuals who are on the verge to split. The two lovers are looking at this on-off relationship with sadness. They acknowledge that it is about to end.
In the first verse, IU sings about how her lover can do and say things to her, yet she feels nothing. It signifies how detached she feels from him, his thoughts and his feelings. She mentions how this is not love. The chorus goes like this:
We’re lost in a circle
이 지겨운 돌림노래 (This boring spinning song)
꼬리에 꼬리를 물어 도무지 끝이 안 나 (It doesn’t end, it goes on and on)
Too easy and so simple (rolly rolly rolly roll)
별생각 없이 가볍게 (Lightly without thinking) (rolly rolly rolly roll)
이 짓을 이어가 (Keep doing this)
머릿속엔 온종일 한 곡만 streaming (In our heads, we’re only streaming one song all day long)
It reveals that the relationship is just physical and verbal now. There is no emotional connect between the individuals. The song is titled ‘Troll’ as the lovers keep hurting each other through words and it keeps going in circles. They are used to this pattern and it feels boring and predictable.
DEAN takes the second verse and it is euphoric. He keeps asking her about the feelings she has. He simply questions if they are even feeling something. The hook is a harmony of both their voices, which focuses on them understanding their situation.
너는 너답게 나는 나답게 yeah oh oh (You are like you and I am like me)
얼마든지 나빠도 괜찮아 (It’s okay to be as bad as you want)
너의 뒷모습을 더 사랑하니까’ (Because I love looking at you from behind more)
The above lyrics denote how they want to break free and be themselves. Both of them are eager to see the other one leave. The phrases like “consistently uncool” and “love looking at you from behind”, can be interpreted as their desperation to end it all. Furthermore, they are out of love and are glad to leave. The ending of the song is quite genius, with tape getting stuck, which hints at the end of the relationship. It makes one think about the energy and effort lost in keeping a broken relationship together.
The song is significant in this time and era, where we are failing to emotionally connect with people. It is very important to understand the nature of relationships we have with people. There are different dimensions in a relationship, which we explore with time. Relationships can be toxic and destructive. The song focuses on the constructive side of a broken relationship. It also teaches us the importance of letting go of something which is not worth our time, energy and love. The simplicity of the song structure and depth of the lyrics makes this song appealing to me. You can listen to the beautiful track here:
Give it a listen, I bet you will not regret it. Let us know your view in the comments section!