Biti Sophia Soren, New Delhi
“Celebrity” is a digital single by South Korean singer-songwriter Lee Ji-eun, more famously known as IU. It was released on 27 January 2021 as a pre-release single for her fifth full-length album called ‘Lilac’. It’s a cheerful pop sound with an energetic vibe. It’s a genre of music that IU has tried for the first time. Upon release, the song debuted on the top of the Gaon Digital Chart, becoming IU’s 17th number-one single. Internationally, “Celebrity” debuted at the 78th position on Billboard Global and was placed at number 3 on its opening week on the US World Digital Songs Sales chart.
IU said in an interview that the song was inspired by a friend of hers who often drew attention for her eclectic clothing choice and tastes, varied talents, and shy nature. She wrote the lyrics based on what she wanted to tell the friend, and it blossomed soon into a full-fledged song.
There are two IUs in the music video starting with IU presenting how stressful her life is under the spotlight. Even in the make-up room which is a private space, people don’t tend to leave her alone. While trying to hide her identity to avoid the media, IU catches a glimpse of a non-celebrity version of herself in a hippie fashion outfit and starts chasing her until she finds herself in front of the mirror only to realize she’s always been both the entire time. At the end of the music video, we can see IU wearing a beautiful red gown and shiny jewelry running from the media with a smile.
The first IU of the music video shows a typical appearance of a celebrity. And the second one is contrary to celebrity IU. The music video, although metaphorically shows IU exploring the themes of fame, identity, social media criticisms, insecurities, diets, and the notion of living as a celebrity, the lyrics still resonate with listeners and inspire them.
Explaining about her “star painted with a left hand”, she says it’s a star but not an evenly painted star, it looks different somehow and in a certain point of view it may look strange and it may look imperfect. She said, “I wanted to write a song that conveys a message for support about how we often get alienated or get blamed for being different but we are unique, and because we are different, that gives the value of our existence and encourages the listeners to embrace their flaws, to see that we may be different from other but we have our own individual talents in a quite cheerful way.”
Don’t forget during the long winter
A flower can bloom between the frozen cracks
Can’t you see how beautiful
Tomorrow’s spring is to be?
The song demonstrates her poetic lyric-writing skills and her ability to uplift listeners in this song. Telling the listeners it’s fine to take your time but hope that you notice you are the one and only in this world, “a true celebrity”. It’s amazing how with the message she describes everyone being a star and makes us feel precious. In this 3-minute song, wearing a number of gorgeous outfits with different roles, IU flips the script and puts the listener in the spotlight here:
Can’t you see how beautiful
A true uniqueness can be?
You’re my celebrity
She says that we all are unique in this world. At the end of the song, we can see IU running from the media with a smile meaning that even among the dark clouds, we are a star and should showcase our uniqueness with a smile.
Upon the release of the song, many celebrities like Umji (GFRIEND), Jane (Momoland), Yeri (Red Velvet), Bora (Cherry Bullet), Yubin (Bling Bling), Hyojung (Oh My Girl), Actor Kim Soo-hyun and even IU’s manager participated in the #celebrity challenge.
The music video also features a bit of dance choreography and was definitely a highlight of “Celebrity.” The song is upbeat and definitely makes you want to dance wherever you are. It’s a bright and vibrant song that showcases IU’s musical versatility. This song is a perfect confident booster. It provides a heartwarming, soothing melody but the real show-stoppers are the meaningful lyrics.
You can listen to the song here:
Video Credits: 1theK