Review: 아이유 IU [꽃갈피 둘]

“시간이 흘러도 바래지 않는, 소박하고 아름다운 추억의 흔적”

“Even if time flies, small and beautiful memories never wear out”

I’m a huge fan of young artists re-introducing classic oldies back into the contemporary music scene – a way of introducing the younger generation with artists and songs that touched people’s hearts decades before, while recognizing those that influenced and shaped what music is today.

Many artists and producers have created albums in dedication for legends, but I think IU‘s albums are one of the most notable. Each remake is a new song of her own. And her popularity allows for these songs to reach a great number of international audience that may never come into their radar if not for her.

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Like a flower petal or a leaf stuck between the wrinkled pages of a book you find on a dusty shelf. Like an uneven line marking out a passage for your next day to remember. 꽃갈피 Flower Bookmark is a recollection of the 감성 sensitivities and 낭만 romance embedded in the old analogue generation which is slowly being forgotten – the songs which marked the lives of many teens who are now our parents, our aunts and uncles, and our grandparents.

Going along with the arrival of the autumn season, talking about [꽃갈피 둘] [Flower Bookmark 2] seems to be the most appropriate than the first remake album. IU personally chose the songs and collaborated with a diverse array of contemporary artists like Im Hyun-Jae from Hyukoh, YouTube-star guitarist Jung Sung-Ha, music producer Jung Jae-Il (who worked on the film Okja’s OST), violinist Kang E-Chae, and guitarist Juk Jae, and many more.

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가을아침 Autumn Morning

파란 하늘 바라보며 커다란 숨을 쉬니 Taking a deep breath, looking up at the blue sky
드높은 하늘처럼 내 마음 편해지네 My heart feels at ease like the lofty sky
텅 빈 하늘 언제 왔나 고추잠자리 하나가 When did the empty sky come, a red dragonfly
잠 덜 깬 듯 엉성히 돌기만 비잉비잉  Spins carelessly as if still half asleep

Featured in the 1991 album, this song was one of nine which were recorded within a day when 양희은 Yang Hee Eun was in New York and the producer/composer 이병우 Lee Byung Woo was studying abroad in Vienna.

Arranged by 정성하 Jung Sung-Ha

A simple acapella carried along by the acoustics welcomes the singing birds and brilliant sunlight, queuing the busy mornings of moms cooking breakfast and kids running to school. IU replicates this in her remake with her sweet voice, and the guitar-flute melody.

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비밀의 화원 Secret Garden

바람을 타고 날아오르는  Riding the wind, the birds
새들은 걱정 없이  Fly over with no worries
아름다운 태양 속으로  Into the beautiful sun
음표가 되어 나네  Becoming a musical note

IU notes the lyrics of this song as her favourite out of all the songs in the album. 이상은 Lee Sang Eun plays with the narrative of the protagonist – an ordinary man who eventually becomes infatuated with love.

완벽한 사람은 없어 실수투성이고 외로운 나를 봐봐
There are no perfect people
Look at me, full of mistakes and loneliness

Arranged by 강이채 Kang E-Chae

This is one of my personal favourites in IU’s album, not only for the lyrics, but also for the beautiful collaboration of her voice with the violin. When you start listening carefully to the sounds echoing in the background, your ears are overjoyed as if you’re dancing about in the colourful secret garden.

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잠 못드는 밤 비는 내리고 Sleepless Rainy Night

창밖을 보면 비는 오는데  Looking out the window, the rain is falling 
괜시리 마음만 울적해  I feel like my heart is becoming melancholic 
울적한 마음을 달랠 수가 없네  There is no way to soothe my melancholic heart 
잠도 오지 않는 밤에   In the sleepless night

김건모 Kim Gun-Mo is one of the most influential artists in the 90’s, and the legend we still admire today that we can’t stop calling him up at every music shows. In an interview, IU explains how she really wanted to feature this remake in her recent [Palette] album, but it eventually led to the creation of this remake album.

Arranged by 적재 Juk Jae

Also, ref: music video – such a wonderfully creative audiovisual presentation (note: lyric’s font. the tv. her outfit. everyone else’s outfit) – an ode to the 90’s.

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어젯밤 이야기 Last Night Story

소방차 Firetruck is THE K-pop star legend, the three members named as every girl and woman’s sweethearts in the late 80’s to early 90’s. Some people may know this song through Reply 1988, and although, the three actors did an amazing job with the choreo, I think the original performance is worth the watch, especially their epic entrance.

From the arrangement to the lyrics to the main riff – the original is strong in all aspects. The most playful energetic song in IU’s album, the song must be watched with IU’s awkward comedic choreo in the whimsical music video. Everything about the editing and the props, and the transformation of IU throughout the song is the epitome of “Last Night Story”‘s contemporary solo version.

Arranged by 임현제 Im Hyun-Jae from Hyukoh & 김성모 Kim Sung-Mo

어젯밤에 난 네가 미워졌어  Last night, I started disliking you 
어젯밤에 난 네가 싫어졌어  Last night, I started hating you 
빙글빙글 돌아가는 불빛들을 바라보며  Looking at the spinning lights 
나 혼자 가슴 아팠어  Only my heart was in pain

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개여울 By the Stream

Famously known as 정미조 Jung Mi-Jo‘s hit song in 1978, this song dates back more than 50 years. Adding a melodic line to a 1922 poem by one of Korea’s most important poets 김정식 Kim Jung-Sik, the beautiful words came to life with 김정희 Kim Jung-Hee voice in 1965. Since then, many well-known artists adapted the song, either adding a pop, folk, or jazz twist for the contemporary ears.

IU takes cues from Jung Mi-Jo’s remake version featured in the [37년 / 37 Years] album, re-born from memories and sentiments we as the younger generation can only idealize with imagination. The love and resentment for the ones who left without promises.

I want to translate the delicacy of the lyrics/poem, but the old Korean words make it difficult to truly convey the emotions embedded in the song. An attempt:

가도 아주 가지는 않노라시던  Leaving, not truly leaving at all
그런 약속이 있었겠지요  There remains a promise
날마다 개여울에 나와 앉아서  Sitting by the stream every day
하염없이 무엇을 생각합니다  Absent-mindedly, what are you thinking

Arranged by 정재일 Jung Jae-Il

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매일 그대와 Everyday with You

매일 그대와 아침 햇살 받으며  Everyday with you, catching the morning sun
매일 그대와 눈을 뜨고파  Everyday with you, I want to open my eyes
매일 그대와 도란 도란 둘이서  Everyday with you, murmuring together
매일 그대와 얘기하고파  Everyday with you, I want to talk with you

When I first heard 들국화 Deul-guk-hwa (Camomile)‘s songs, I told myself that if I was my current age in the 80’s, 들국화 will probably be my all-time favourite band. The free spirited, folk rock meets classic rock, and The Beatles-reminiscent sounds are all I need to love a band. (Note: I love The Beatles – and when I say love, I mean I had a huge Beatles phase – so any artists that recall the English band gets extra points and love).

Although 들국화 broke up after the failure of their 2nd album, the first album (released in 1986) was a hit, ruling the music scene with so many hit songs. Play the album, and even those with some sort of knowledge in Korean music would have heard one of their songs, or at least a contemporary remake (ref: Reply 1988). Some music critics say this album is the most influential album in Korean music history.

Legend of the legends – no words are needed to describe the band’s influence.

Arranged by 고태영 Ko Tae-Young

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