Track: Cruel Fairy Tale | Artist: IU | Album: Real+

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It isn’t often that listening to a K-Pop track makes you feel like you’ve accidentally stumbled into a tilted Victorian horror movie, but IU’s Cruel Fairy Tale does exactly that.

IU’s Real+ album was a 2011 follow-up to her 2010 Real album and its breakout title track Good Day, which we’ve covered previously. It’s not hard to note the passing similarities between the two songs, with their liberal use of orchestrated strings; in fact, you could take several of Good Day’s major chords a half step down and they’d practically be at home in Cruel Fairy Tale. IU definitely had a house style in the early 2010s, starting with Nagging and arguably ending with 2013's The Red Shoes.

While Cruel Fairy Tale wasn’t the title track for Real+, it did become popular enough to merit a few live stages on Korea’s ubiquitous music shows. These stages were often quite the production, like this one: