It’s been a long road, but IU has finally returned with her fifth album Lilac. To be fair, she’s released EPs and singles in the meantime, but it’s been (inhales) 2017 since we last received a proper LP from the Korean singer-songwriter.

As always, IU (real name Lee Ji-Eun) has set her sights on new goals and challenges. After coming into her own as a producer with the largely self-composed Palette, she decided to work with an expensive list of collaborators for Lilac.

She explains, “When I looked at it from the perspective of a producer, I came to the conclusion that there’s no need for there to be a self-composed song by IU just because it’s an IU album. I’ve mainly written calm songs that tell personal stories so far. I decided that that wasn’t the right fit for this album’s tone.

Instead, she sought to explore and expand her sounds, co-writing with multiple voices she respected, shaping the biggest album of her career to date with care. So, we’ve received her most immediate work yet, as she herself muses: “I’m now also experienced enough that I can tell whether a song will be one that people will love right away or whether it will take two or three listens for them to grow attached to it. Sometimes I’ve made albums where even though I know what I know, I’ve thought, ‘Still, I need to put this song on the album’ or ‘I have to include this because it’s a self-composed song that shows who I am.’ That wasn’t the case with this album.

To simplify, she states, “[It] would be closer to a commercial film than an indie film. There are times in the planning stages for concerts when more so than anything else, I want to put on a show that’s totally entertaining. I created this album with a similar mindset.

Check out IU’s Lilac now via your favorite streaming service, and watch the colorful new video for the title track below. It’s a good day.

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