[Review] IU delivers an expansive, magical encouragement to be metaphorically greedy on “Shopper”

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IU‘s first two singles for her The Winning return were hit and then miss, though neither song were in genres that resided in my personal wheelhouse. “Shopper” changes that with its playful yet expansive throwback electro-pop sound.

Powered primarily by a simple beat, an energetic synth loop, and IU’s bright yet expressive vocals, it sounds like it could’ve been off Carly Rae Jepsen‘s acclaimed 2015 album EMOTION, or even a bit of a throwback to her earlier eras. The result are verses that help drive the song forward, culminating with a belting chorus with an uplifting spirit and a tinge of magic to it, though it does lack an immediately memorable hook or refrain. That said, the explosion instead of downturn and the addition of electric guitar was like cat nip to me and added to the expansive feel of things, and both kicked in even further during the close of it. Along with the fact that the bridge exists, it may have the best line of the song as well, singing “pillyo eomneun geon eopseo (nothing’s useless), for my victory, even your jealousy” as she seemingly floats over the track with impossible ease.

Speaking of the lyrics, this is obviously not some kind of ode to capitalism or something, as “Shopper” is basically IU’s encouragement for the listener to be greedy for themselves. It serves as a moment of self-realization from a person who is at the point in life where they know what they want and now want as much of they can get as possible, encouraging those people to be greedy shoppers without being ashamed or afraid of judgment. I’m not sure many K-pop fans are at that stage of their life yet, but for us hags who have found a direction (and also maybe feel the clock ticking), it’s a relatable sentiment.

Meanwhile, the music video stars and is directed by DPR Ian, and he provides a whimsical canvas that matches the tone of the song perfectly. While I’m not a lore hater or anything, it’s almost refreshing in that it tells a story that’s just largely as it seems (plus some Easter Eggs), just presenting matching magical energy to match the soundscape. The resulting overall package is something that’s at least perfect for certain moods that match this tone, and has so far proven to be a surprisingly replayable pop track that bucks trends a bit by providing something to look forward to at its conclusion.