Through the Night (IU song)

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"Through the Night (밤편지)"
IU - Through the Night.png
Single by IU
from the album Palette
ReleasedMarch 24, 2017
FormatDigital download
GenrePop
Length4:13
LabelFave Entertainment
Songwriter(s)IU
Producer(s)Kim Je-hwi, Kim Hee-won
IU singles chronology
"Twenty-Three"
(2015)
"Through the Night (밤편지)"
(2017)
"Can't Love You Anymore"
(2017)
Music video
"Through the Night" on YouTube

"Through the Night" (Hangul밤편지; RRBampyeonji; lit. Night letter)[1] is a song by South Korean singer IU for her fourth studio album Palette (2017). Written by IU and composed and produced by Je-Hwi Kim and Hee-Won Kim, the song served as her lead single, released on March 24, 2017. Marking her return to music, the stripped-down song offers a sharp departure from her previous single Twenty-Three.

"Through the Night" was a critical and commercial success in South Korea, topping all the major music sites. The song debuted at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart before achieving its number one status the week after,[2] becoming IU’s 14th number one single in South Korea, enabling her to extend her lead at the time over popular idol groups Big Bang, Sistar, and 2NE1, which each had nine. As of December 2018, more than one year after its release, it has never once fallen out of the top 100 songs of the major music charts in South Korea.

The song won Song of the Year award at 32nd Golden Disc Awards and also earned IU a MelOn Music Awards nomination for Song of the Year and a Mnet Asian Music Awards nomination in the same category. It also won "Song of the Year – March" and "Long-Run Song of the Year" awards at the 7th Gaon Chart Music Awards.[3]

The song’s accompanying music video was directed by Lee Rae-kyung, and was the second most viewed Korean music video by a female soloist on YouTube in 2017, after IU’s own song from the same album, "Palette".

Release[edit]

While the album itself was teased as early as February, IU began releasing teasers for the song the same week of its release. The first set of images were revealed Monday, March 20, which revealed the singer-songwriter dressed in traditional Korean clothing[4] Two days before the song’s release, a teaser video was released featuring snippets of IU’s voice. IU herself was seen in the video in a traditional Korean home wearing some of the same outfits from the teaser images.[5] The song and accompanying music video were released the Friday of March 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm KST.

Composition[edit]

“Through the Night” is a minimalist ballad song, which most prominently emphasize the singer’s vocals over the instrumentation. IU’s vocals are described as being warm, and yet apprehensive in this love song which delves into the acoustic and folk genres. The track was written by IU, while it was composed and produced by Je-Hwi Kim, and Hee-Won Kim.[6] It runs for four minutes and thirteen seconds and is performed in the key of E flat. The tempo runs at 79 beats per minute and is set in a 4/4 time signature.[7]

Lyrically, the song discusses missing someone through the night. The track describes a narrator who is afraid their love interest will disappear, and so through the song they’re secretly confessing their love and wishing them pleasant dreams.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
IZM[9]3.5/5 stars

"Through the Night" received favorable reviews from music critics praising the song's analog emotion and highlighting IU's songwriting skills and her vocal performance in the song.

South Korean music portal IZM, included the song on their list of "10 singles that represented 2017" explaining "There was no other song this year that expressed more precisely the precious, small, and pure emotion that wells up when penning a letter for someone you love all night as this one." while praising IU's skill as a songwriter.[10]

Chart performance[edit]

The song shot to the top of the Instiz iChart upon release, and eventually achieved a Perfect All-Kill, as the single hit Number 1 on all of the major South Korean music sites simultaneously.[11] "Through the Night" is her eighth career Perfect All-Kill, which at the time gave her twice as many Perfect All-Kills on the chart as any other artist (IU has since extended this number to 12 Perfect All-Kills). Upon its week of release, the song placed second on the Gaon Digital Charts for the 12th charting week of the year - March 19 to March 25 - despite being released the 24th of that month.[12] A week later it rose to number one on the digital charts becoming IU's 14th number one in South Korea; a number which has since risen to 18 as of December, 2017.[13] On April 6, it was declared that the single achieved a "Triple Crown" for taking Number 1 on the Gaon Combined Digital Chart, Online Download Chart and Online Streaming Chart.

On the week of release, the song sold 183,168 downloads according to Gaon; a number which increased to 208,241 during its second week of release.[14] "Through the Night" also pulled massive streaming numbers, being streamed 7,694,321 times during its first full week of release.[15] On December 7 "Through the Night " surpassed 2 million downloads on Gaon (37 weeks). It is one of the fastest songs to achieve such milestone that included the 2014 song's Some (33 weeks), the 2016 song's Galaxy (40 weeks) and the 2017 song's I Will Go to You Like the First Snow (36 weeks).

By the end of 2017, 2,181,372 downloads of the song have been sold in South Korea according to Gaon - making it the second best selling song of the year after Ailee's I Will Go to You Like the First Snow, and has accumulated 134,048,681 streams, making it one of the most popular songs of the year by this method of consumption as well. The track also debuted at number one on both Gaon's Mobile and Background Music charts, solidifying the song's omnipresence in the industry.[16][17] On January 12, Gaon officially published their yearly digital, download and streaming charts, where "Through the Night" placed second on all three charts.[18]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video was directed by Rae-kyung Lee, and released alongside the song.[19] The video begins with a scene depicting a traditional countryside home, with birds chirping audibly in the background. IU is seen flipping through the pages of a book. The music begins with the pressing of a cassette tape, giving the music video an old-timey feel. The video consists of the singer waiting alone throughout the traditional house. She is styled in traditional clothing, and occasionally is singing into an antique microphone in different shots. The lack of action reflects the lyrical message of loneliness in the song.

In an Instagram post, the director answered fan questions about the props used throughout the video. Lee revealed the book used in the video was a 1950 first edition design book by Dong-Joo Yoon entitled "The Sky, The Wind, The Stars and The Poetry". It was chosen in an effort to incorporate books with vertical writing to add to the old-fashioned theme of the music video. Furthermore, since IU admires the Mise-en-scène, the director filled the set with various items from the time period of the 1950s and 1960s.[20]

IU
IU performing the track at her Palette concert in December 2017.

The video currently has over 60 million views making it the second most popular Korean music video by a female soloist in 2017.

Live performances[edit]

Upon the release of her album "Palette", IU began promoting on music shows. "Through the Night"'s only performance on a music show was on April 23's episode of Inkigayo, where the song had won the previous week. IU has also performed this song during the 104th episode of Picnic Live Season 2. Yu Huiyeol's Sketchbook was another televised broadcast featuring a performance of the song.[21] IU sang the song at an award show for the first time at the Melon Music Awards in 2017, where her performance was widely praised alongside her performance of her song "Dear Name".[22] She also performed the song on 32nd Golden Disc Awards alongside her other hits, "Can't Love You Anymore" and "Autumn Morning".

IU has also presented the song at various concerts and musical festivals throughout the year, where the song's great popularity frequently led the audience to sing-along, which IU often encourages.

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[23]
No.TitleLyricsMusicArrangementLength
1."Through the Night" (밤편지; Bampyeonji; lit. Night letter)IUKim Je-hwi, Kim Hee-wonKim Je-hwi, Kim Hee-won4:13
Total length:4:13

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
South Korea (Gaon)[2] 1
US World Digital Songs (Billboard)[24] 16

Year-end chart[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
South Korea (Gaon)[25] 2
Chart (2018) Peak
position
South Korea (Gaon)[26] 21

Sales[edit]

Download[edit]

Chart Sales
South Korean Gaon Download Chart[27][28] 2,500,000+

Streaming[edit]

Chart Streaming
South Korean Gaon Streaming Chart[29] 200,000,000+

Music program awards[edit]

Song Program Date
"Through the Night" Inkigayo (SBS) April 9, 2017[30]
Show Champion (MBC) April 12, 2017[31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Through the Night – Single". iTunes Store. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Digital Chart – Week 13 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart.
  3. ^ "[가온차트어워드] 아이유 5관왕 등극+워너원 돌풍 거셌다(종합)". Naver. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  4. ^ "IU reveals teaser for pre-release single 'Night Letter'". Allkpop. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  5. ^ "Watch: IU Releases Sweet Teaser For Pre-Release Track "Through The Night"". Soompi. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  6. ^ "Through the Night Lyrics" (in Korean). Genius. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  7. ^ "Through The Night". Find Song Tempo. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "IU's "Through the Night" is a Delicately Penned Love Letter". SeoulBeats. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Through The Night" (in Korean). IZM. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  10. ^ "2017 올해의 가요 싱글" [singles that represented 2017]. IZM (in Korean).
  11. ^ "IU gets a Perfect all-kill with first pre-release track 'Through the Night'". Allkpop. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  12. ^ "Digital Chart – Week 12 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  13. ^ "Digital Chart – Week 13 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  14. ^ "Download Chart – Week 13 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Streaming Chart – Week 13 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "BGM Chart – Week 12 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "Mobile Chart – Week 12 of 2017" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  18. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart – Year 2017". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  19. ^ Palette (photobook). IU. South Korea: LOEN Entertainment. 2017. Credit.
  20. ^ "[밤편지] Director's Instagram Post" (in Korean). Instagram. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  21. ^ "IU and Oh Hyuk put on wonderful performances on 'Yoo Hee Yeol's Sketchbook'". Allkpop. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "[IU Comments On 2017 Melon Music Awards Collaboration Performance With Aspiring Artists]". Soompi. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  23. ^ "[싱글] 밤편지" (in Korean). Melon. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  24. ^ Herman, Tamar (April 5, 2017). "Female Soloists Set to Dominate K-Pop In April". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "Year-end 2017 Digital Chart". Gaon Chart. Gaon Chart. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Year-end Digital Chart". Gaon Chart. Gaon Chart. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  27. ^ Cumulative sales for "Through the Night":
  28. ^ "GAON′s 관찰노트". Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "GAON′s 관찰노트". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  30. ^ '쇼 챔피언' 아이유 신곡 '밤편지' 1위 차지… 방송 출연없이 MV 대신 방영. Xports News (in Korean). April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  31. ^ '쇼 챔피언' 아이유 신곡 '밤편지' 1위 차지… 방송 출연없이 MV 대신 방영. Busan Ilbo (in Korean). April 12, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.