Archive for the ‘Korean Music’ Category

I was amazed that I’ve yet to write a post on Lee Seung Yeol (also romanized, Yi Sung Yol, the Lee in Korean is pronounced as “ee,” there is no L in the hangul form: ), an amazing musician, one of my favorites, whose voice had me spell-bound from the first time I stumbled upon him on youtube, while searching for “…Ing” videos.

Gi Da Rim/기다림 (Waiting)

Credit: Fluxus Music Website, and Smarie7

I fell in love. I looked everywhere for more information, more videos, songs, anything…all in vain. He is scandalously underrated in the international korean music scene, from what I can tell. I don’t have much information about his popularity in Korea itself (I’m hoping he’s a legend there), but I was disappointed how little he’s known outside, with the burgeoning Korean pop/rock/music industry which is blossoming each day and spreading across the world. Perhaps its the younger generations who haven’t woken up to his work, or the mainstream k-pop is taking up all the waves. While groups like Loveholic are slowly making their way to the forefront and gaining widespread popularity, I guess it’ll take time before the indie scene is truly appreciated and equally well promoted worldwide, as it deserves to be (there are some amazing indie artists in Korea).

I was frustrated at first with the apparent lack of popularity. Sadly, I’ve only met a couple people who share my complete fascination with his music and his voice. I finally decided that was a good thing. This man should rightfully be known all over the world, and perhaps one day he will, but till then I’m just glad to know about his music and relish it. might never become mainstream or a big k-star (something tells me he doesn’t want that either), but I think the low-profile and mysterious quality allows him to maintain the originality of his music. And I’ve also realized that the few who do cherish him have a fine taste in music, and their appreciation is not affected by any other factor but their genuine admiration of what he brings to music, and the rock scene. And then, isn’t it said that the water from the most remote of springs is the sweetest?

I do wish I could learn more about who he is and what drives him as a musician, which is always fascinating to me. Until I can investigate it further (and perhaps a better hold on Korean and Hangul would help), I’m satisfied with understanding his music. His more popular songs are “Gi Da Rim” from the movie …Ing, “Be My Love” from the hit k-drama My Lovely Samsoon where he sang for Clazziquai, and the song on the OST of the recent k-drama Que Sera Sera–“우리는 (Urinun: Us),” which will without fail be listed on my list of lifetime favorites. His second album, In Exchange, is a wonderful collection of modern rock. Its rock with a twist of something else, an indescribable quality. I have yet to listen to the first one (haven’t been able to order it yet), but the second one has me mesmerized. I know I’m using all these big words, just trying to find more synonyms, but simple words don’t seem to do any justice.

It is his voice that I love most. It is deep, masculine, and rich with emotion. I’ve always been a fan of singers who were able to bring emotion to their voice, and does that to the extent that even though I don’t understand a lot of the lyrics, I can feel the meaning of the songs by the raw emotion in his tone. His voice is melodious, but not in the typical way. I think there would be many who’d be turned off because its not the conventional voice. It has a mellowness to it, but at the same time it conveys strong feelings, a passionate tone, perhaps a tragic one at times when the lyrics demand it. Each time I listen to a song, especially the very beginning of my favorite, Urinun, I get this strange rush. My mood can immediately change when the song comes on my ipod and I’ll be too caught up with his voice, the energy, the passion and feeling in the song to think about my own silly conflicts or worries.

is daring with his music. It traverses very different grounds. Just like indie groups like My Aunt Mary, or Loveholic, stands on his own, completely different and incomparable. The music matches his voice…sometimes conveying a desperate urgency, sometimes a mellow calm, sometimes an adventurous energy. Its definitely has the alternative rock quality, but it never gets loud or exhausting to hear, never plays havoc on your eardrums. The beats are always rhythmic, the instruments play in perfect harmony. I especially love the guitar in several of his songs (please note this is my completely amateur opinion). He has been compared to Bono by several people, but I personally dislike drawing comparisons between musicians, especially legendary musicians. The following song is from an anime OST, Wonderful Days: 비상 BiSang (Fly High).

Credit: waseline21

often crosses over into English, using phrases and words as several other Korean musicians do, but it never sounds forced in or unnatural, and is not marred by any strange accent or mispronunciation. He incorporates that cross-language style in this next song, another favorite, 기억할게 | Gieokhalke (I will Remember). The MV is really neat and very well conceptualized, and this is the first time I finally saw the man behind the voice, though still shrouded in shadows. He’s a true rockstar.

(I especially love the entrance and the final, soft, end (어디에: audhiye, which means where are you)).

Credit: Smarie7

And in this song, 시간의 끝 (Shigane kkut-Last Time), which also blows me away each time.

 But I can’t let you get away….

I could rave about for another couple pages at the least, and if you ever ask me in person I could take you song by song and tell you the little details which have led me to admire and be awed by his music. I’m not a musician, and by no means do I have any kind of professional expertise, but as a music lover (understatement), I support with complete confidence and devotion. There are musicians whom I’ll rave about initially, and then I’ll begin noticing flaws, certain inconsistencies, perhaps forced styles that take away from the true rhythm, or their music will just stop speaking to me. But from the first time I heard his music, I knew I’d always be a fan. Lovers of fine music, especially rock, deserve to hear , on an international level. I hope one day he reaches that zenith. For now I continue to hope that he’ll keep growing and developing his work, expanding his horizons and maintaining his originality, and I’ll keep being mesmerized by his voice.

[If you enjoyed the songs posted and felt a little bit of the magic, then you’ll definitely love and cherish the albums. Support this amazing musician by buying his albums here: http://global.yesasia.com/en/PrdDept.aspx/code-k/section-music/pid-1004787256/.  I’ve always had great, quick service from YesAsia.]

PS: If you’ve heard before and are already a fan, or heard him here and like what you heard, please share your thoughts! And if anyone knows more about I would be grateful if you’d share (you can email me or leave a comment)! If his work just isn’t your cup of tea, I’d be happy to hear your opinion, though I guess we’ll never be the soul sharing, music loving, bosom buddies. 😉


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Finally, after two years of studying and constantly worrying about it (except for that brief reprieve when I hoped I wouldn’t have to retake it), and constantly wearing my self esteem down and having great doubts about if I could do this and if it was right for me, its finally done with. Regardless of how I felt sitting through the five hours as they ticked by too fast, I can only just wait and see what happens. I can hope I did well, but I won’t know until July. This period of waiting will suck, but right now atleast I couldn’t care less, except that I am done with it. Just so, so grateful its over.

I’m really not sure whats in store in the coming months. Probably a lot more grating and sand-papering of my self-esteem and self-confidence as I go through this process. I probably sound negative, but I’m not. I’m just ready to know where I’m going and move on with my life. I’m ready for the next step, to be in medicine then just continue to wait and wait for so many years and work on it. I know I’ll be happy once I’m there. If I could just fast forward to it……I’m ready for that just not for this.

Thanks to everyone who called/emailed and wished me good luck and checked up on me afterwards. It was really sweet, and I appreciated everyone’s good wishes a lot 🙂 Danke schoen!

Now its back to that excruciating personal statement, and the rest of these looong applications, and then secondaries and on and on and on….

Here’s another of my favorite Yoon Mi Rae songs, “Good Bye Sadness, Hello Happiness” with the hope that soon the tides will change, and everything will be, well, happier, and the world won’t move so fast and crazily and cruelly. The song is about moving on, past old love and old relationships, about finding happiness in your world and life again.

Goodbye Sadness, be on your way….

Hello My Happiness, you’re here to stay….

Yoon Mi Rae, Vol 3.

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I really love this artist–considered to be one of the most influential and best female rappers in Korea (I say arguably in the world, how many talented female rappers in any music industry can one name?). Her voice is amazing in both R&B and in hip-hop…it takes a completely different form each time. Its strong and powerful, and rich with emotion, in both styles. She is half African American and half Korean, and is fluent in both languages (raised in Korea). I just recently got hooked onto the single 잊었니 (Eehjuhnee, Did You Forget?) from her comeback 3rd album (after a 4 year hiatus). I can actually pick up a lot of the lyrics (yay me :P!), so I really do enjoy this song a lot, for its musical arrangement, T’s really great voice, and the honesty of the emotion in the words…”Did you forget? Did you forget our happiness? Did you forget? Did you forget our love?”

MV of the song, a little more confusing to me than the song itself.

And I really love this performance of one of her rap songs from the 3rd album, “KumEun Haengbok” (haengbok is happiness, but i don’t know what kumeun is 😦 ). edit: Thanks to Lauren, I do know what KumEun is–Black. So the song is “black happiness.”

 Its a really energetic performance, and there’s a voice over (in English) by her dad….and I love these words

“Sometimes its hard to see all the good things in your life/And I know it hurts sometimes but you got to be willing to try/Sometimes its hard to see all the good things in your life/But you got to be strong and you got to hold on and LOVE YOURSELF!”

Well its Friday night (saturday morning) and I don’t really have much to say. I’m almost done reading Little Dorrit. Charles Dickens was a genius, unparalleled, incomparable. Read Little Dorrit if you haven’t. You won’t regret it. Its not only a book with hundreds of life lessons, but its also extremely funny, comedy at its very best.

And so….Aja Aja! Coz I got to be strong and I got to hold on and love myself….  🙂

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So its Friday! Thank the Lord for the end of a very long, very hard week. This weekend will fly by like every freaking weekend, but I’m so grateful for the 4 hour nap today (i have been constantly cold and shivering for like 3 days now, and i think its the tiredness. Finally warm again!). Managed to go to the gym thanks to P’s encouragement (this week required some outside motivation), spent some quality time chitchatting with P, which is always wonderful 🙂 I miss her!

And Music Web Town is back up! And to celebrate the weekend, I’ll play one of my favorite, powerful, jazzy songs, by the wonderful group “Big Mama” (also discussed previously under Break Away). The video for this is pretty neat….there’s four skinny, pretty women singing on a stage and everyone’s jamming, but then you go backstage and you see the amazing voices are actually from these curvy, big, yet still gorgeous (in my opinion) women. These four ladies have amazing talent (I love all three of their albums), though they haven’t recieved the publicity they should have got. I read that it stated in their contracts when the group was brought together that none of them could get plastic surgery or the band would disband. Thats pretty interesting. I think its great that they came out and were courageous to be unconventional in the Korean music industry, where most female singers have the typical pop star look.

Recently, the singers of Big Mama have lost a lot of weight and look truly gorgeous, and have come under a lot of flak for trying to “fit in.” But I really think that their whole point all along is that its not about how they look, its about their music. Their voices and their talent and their ability to make truly rich music. They haven’t “sold out,” they’ve just tried to look better for themselves, its every woman’s decision to be who she wants and how she wants to look. Every woman must come to love herself, her own body, and embrace it. If they worked out and lost weight, and became healthier, how is that a bad thing? And who is anyone else to judge? The important thing is that they have never compromised on their music, or compromised with their talent. Their voices have always been true to their songs. The “BIG” in Big Mama isn’t their physical size, but the abstract size of their talent and their vocal power, in my opinion.

 This song, when it first came out, mesmerized people across the world, literally, from what I’ve heard/read about it (check out reviews online). It was played on MTV Asia. I love the beat and the music and the emotion in their voices. “Break Away/No I can’t wait/I’ll make my way/I’ll throw my pain/I can live without you now” are some of my all time favorite lines, though I don’t like the rest of the lyrics as much. 

Break Away, Big Mama, from Volume 1-Like the Bible

Leave me now..
Forget everything now
Throw me away and live..
Return my love that you took

If you left, if you died
Then I would hold it in forcefully
But to take it like this, its too hard

I hope just once that you will see me
That you will tell me
Just like the past times, just once..
I waited and loved you so much..

*Break away…. no I can’t wait
I’ll let you go comfortably
I’ll make my way I throw my pain
I can live without you now

I left you so my heart is comfortable
I left you so I am happy
I threw you out of my heart
For you, I erased the hard days

Even if you see me accidently
Then please just pass by
For me who is trying to forget you
And if you talk to me
I will pretend I dont know you

repeat *

Suddenly I think of you
When I forgot that you left..
Even if I find you,
You pretend that you dont know saying “who is this..”
And you make me turn back again

I’ll make my way I throw my pain
I cant live again looking at you
Break Away….no I can’t wait
Now throw all of me away and leave

I’ll make my way I throw my pain
So say that you werent there since the beginning
Break Away

(Translation credited to gyool, from http://www.aheeyah.com)

PS: Its Friday the 13th!

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Is what i’ve been hearing all day. And feeling it. Its been a longgg day and week and this gigantic exam tomorrow is frightening me…..but I’m so tired…………….Still feeling strange hazy and listless and in no desire to use punctuation of any sort so should not be writing crap maybe hear my current favorite pump-up-and-do-it song continuously and maybe ill make it thru n score decently

 Throw my Fist, Shinhwa (from State of the Art, 8th Album)

“I’ll never give up my passion/Even though I fall down I put myself right back in/I throw my fist up cause anything is possible”

i can do this! *throws fist*

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 Love Love Love….Epik High Ft. Yoongjin

밤 열두시 술 취해 지친 목소리
At midnight, my voice sounds drunk and tired

새벽 두시 차갑게 꺼진 전화기
At two in the morning, my phone is turned off coldly

아무도 내 맘을 모르죠 I can’t stop love love love
Nobody knows how I feel I can’t stop love love love

아파도 계속 반복하죠 I can’t stop love love love
I continue to repeat it even though it hurts I can’t stop love love love

있나요 사랑해본 적 영화처럼 첫 눈에 반해본 적
Have you ever? Loved. Like in a movie fallen in love at first sight

전화기를 붙들고 밤새본 적 세상에 자랑해본 적
Spent the whole night talking on the phone. Told the world.

쏟아지는 비 속에서 기다려본 적
Waited in the falling rain.

그를 향해 비친듯이 달려본 적 몰래 지켜본 적
Ran to him like crazy. Watched him secretly.

미쳐본 적 다 보면서도 못본 척
Gone crazy. Seen it all but pretended not to.

있겠죠 사랑해본 적 기념일때문에 가난해본 적
You probably have. Loved. Been poor because of anniversary.

잘하고도 미안해 말해본 적 연애편지로 날 새본적
Said sorry even though you did well. Spent the whole night writing a love letter.

가족과의 약속을 미뤄본적 아프지말라 신께빌어본 적
Put off a family meeting. Prayed that they not be sick.

친굴 피해본 적 잃어본 적 가는 뒷모습 지켜본 적
Kept your distance with friends. Watched them leave.

미친 듯 사랑했는데 왜 정말 난 잘해줬는데 왜
I loved you like crazy but why, I did everything for you but why.

모든 걸 다 줬었는데 you got me going crazy
I gave you everything, you got me going crazy

죽도록 사랑했는데 왜 내 몸과 맘을 다 줬는데
I loved you until I died but why, I gave you all my body and heart but why.

모든 걸 잃어버렸는데 어떡해
lost everything, what should I do.

아무도 내 맘을 모르죠 (nobody knows)
Nobody knows how I feel (nobody knows)I can’t stop (don’t stop) love love love

아파도 계속 반복하죠 (oh here we go)
I continue to repeat it even though it hurts (oh here we go)I can’t stop (don’t stop) love love love

있나요 이별해본 적 빗물에 화장을 지워내본 적
Have you ever. Broke up. Erased your make-up with the rain.

긴 생머릴 잘라내본 적 끊은 담배를 쥐어본 적
Cut off your long hair. Started smoking although you quit.

혹시라도 마주칠까 자릴 피해본 적
Been afraid of meeting them again

보내지도 못할 편지 적어본 적
Wrote a letter you can’t send.

술에 만취되서 전화 걸어본적 여보세요 입이얼어본적
Called because you were drunk. (hello?) And froze at the word “hello”

있겠죠 이별해본 적 사랑했던 만큼 미워해본 적
You probably have. Broken up. Hated them as much as you loved them.

읽지도 못한 편지 찢어본 적
Ripped up the letter you didn’t read.

잊지도 못할 전화번호 지워본 적
Erased the number you couldn’t forget.

기념일을 혼자 챙겨본 적 사진들을 다 불태워본 적이
Remembered all the anniversaries alone. Burned up all the Pictures.

세상의 모든 이별 노래가 당신 얘길꺼라 생각해본 적
Thought that all songs in the world about break-up was your story.

미친 듯 사랑했는데 왜 정말 난 잘해줬는데 왜
I loved you like crazy but why. I did everything for you but why.

모든 걸 다 줬었는데 you got me going crazy
I gave you everything you got me going crazy

죽도록 사랑했는데 왜 내 몸과 맘을 다 줬는데
I loved you until I died but why I gave you all my body and heart but why.

모든 걸 잃어버렸는데 어떡해
I lost everything now what should I do

아무도 내 맘을 모르죠 (nobody knows)
Nobody knows how I feel (nobody knows)I can’t stop (don’t stop) love love love

아파도 계속 반복하죠 (oh here we go)
I continue to repeat it even though it hurts (oh here we go)

바보처럼 울고 또 술에 취하고 친구를 붙잡고
I cry like a fool, I get drunk again, I hold onto a friend

그 사람을 욕하고 시간이 지나고 또 술에 취하고
I curse the person, time passes, and I get drunk again

전화기를 붙잡고 say love
I hold the phone and say love

아무도 내 맘을 모르죠 (nobody knows)
Nobody knows how I feel (nobody knows)I can’t stop (don’t stop) love love love

아파도 계속 반복하죠 (oh here we go)
I continue to repeat it even though it hurts (oh here we go)

아무도 내 맘을 모르죠
Nobody knows how I feel

사실은 당신만 모르죠
But you are the only one who doesn’t know

아파도 계속 반복하죠
I continue to repeat it even though it hurts.

이러다 언젠가 다시 마주치겠죠
Like this, we’ll meet again someday.

Took enough time to format this with blogger…..my thoughts and why i love this song will have to wait till my next procrastinating fit……

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“Sometimes we must get hurt in order to grow, we must fail in order to know, sometimes our visions are clear only after our eyes are washed away with tears.”

(Read it somewhere. Its pretty amazing and strangely calming. Makes a great deal of sense).

What I’m listening to: Gi Da Rim, by Lee Seung Yeol (who strangely sounds a lot like KRW)from the OST to “…Ing” So glad I got to watch this movie with Ma…it was such an amazing movie. Life is all about experience, no matter how short or how long. Love, hurt, crushes, infatuations…..I’d rather suffer through them then never experience them. A very strongly recommended movie. Its a mother-daughter story at its best.

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