IU set her own bar high with her “Lilac” comeback, but her digital single, “Strawberry Moon,” is another knock-out. The single was released at midnight (KST), an unconventional time for a music release. Despite the unusual timing, the song is a certified all-kill landing immediately at the top of the charts. The MV for the single is just as well done, taking us on a romantic date in the sky. The MV stars actor, Lee Jong Won, as IU’s romantic partner. The concept of the MV centers around the strawberry moon, known more ominously as the blood moon in other parts of the world, an event that happens only once a year. Overall, the special effects, the whimsical concept, and the color scheme create a fantastical MV that pairs well with the song’s romantic message about special moments.

The piano base of this electropop song gives it a romantic vibe that pairs well with the MV. IU’s sweet and wistful vocals carry emotion in every word as if the song has a personal meaning to her. “Strawberry Moon” has a lovely bridge that brings the song to a nice conclusion and shares the overall message of the song. Unlike “Lilac” which, despite its peppy disco melody, was about a temporary love, “Strawberry Moon” is about reminiscing a special moment with a loved one. While less creative than some of her other songs, this digital single is still one of her best comebacks.

“Strawberry Moon” has several magical elements that are created through the use of a pink color scheme and special effects. The strawberry moon is usually redder than pink, which would have set more of a horror tone. However, in IU’s version the clouds, moon, and even parts of the sky all have hints of pink. Pink creates a more romantic tone on top giving the MV an overall more dreamy vibe. In fact, sometimes, it is hard to tell if what is happening is real or if her persona sitting in her room is just daydreaming. Additionally, we see tinges of pink throughout the realistic scenes to tie them back into the overall concept of special moments.

The MV switches back and forth with both fantastical and realistic scenes of the couple. While it may seem that IU’s persona is meeting a lover in the sky, we see that they have been together for a while. The realistic scenes show the special parts of a relationship that can sometimes feel otherworldly despite seeming ordinary. In different scenes, they are holding hands at the movies, taking pictures with a polaroid, and even just playing video games. There is nothing especially unique about these scenes, but they set up the history between the pair and show that it is more about the emotions they felt that day. These scenes are paired with other magical scenes like eating strawberry ice cream directly from the moon, hopping across planets, and riding in a flying car. The fantastical elements bring to life more of how special those realistic moments may have felt to them despite looking mundane to the viewer.

The significance of the strawberry moon is the connection it has to those rare and special moments. IU’s persona receives a locket from her boyfriend which occurs during the bridge of the song. The voice of the song refers to how special this event is and wonders if they will ever experience it again. Essentially, these moments do not come often, which is why it is being compared to the once-a-year event like the strawberry moon. The locket itself is first shown at the beginning of the MV as being able to unlock magic, suggesting its importance to her regarding the day she received it. It is not just a locket but a reminder of a magical time to her:

How amazing.
Will such a dreamy moment come again? (Will there be more)
Perhaps it’s all about the night
We first uncovered, let’s fly over it

The MV’s conclusion suggests that this may be about a relationship where she does not to get spend a lot of time nurturing. There are several scenes of her sitting in her room alone while looking up and smiling at the sky. While the previous scenes depcit IU simply reminiscing about a past love, her persona climbs up to steps to meet her lover who seems surprised to see her. This portrayal suggests that it has been a while since their last encounter. Again, the locket is shown in her hand, suggesting its importance to unlocking the magic of that moment she once experienced.

“Strawberry Moon” is all about romance and special moments which are emphasized with fantastical elements. IU spreads the message of these important and once-in-a-lifetime kind of moments that come so rarely into our lives. The song has a great composition, melody, and lovely vocals by IU herself. Ultimately, you never know what to expect with IU as she covers various subjects and is not afraid to dabble in different genres. It is nice to see her tackle a song about enjoying love without heartache at the end.

(Youtube, iChart, Lyrics via Genius. Images via Kakao Entertainment.)