#tbt: 2013 highlight

jaziimun’s picks

我好想你 – 蘇打綠 // I Miss You – SodaGreen

我好想你 scored the incredibly popular Mainland movie series, 小時代 (Tiny Times) in 2013, making it into the Top 10 Most Played Songs of the Year on KKBOX. Part of SodaGreen‘s ninth studio album, 秋:故事 【Autumn Story】, the album hit no. 1 on six different charts, and was nominated for three awards at the Golden Melody Awards.

The song is melodramatic, fitting the autumn theme of the album, but also demonstrates the ridiculous writing and performing talent of 青峰, lead singer of SodaGreen, and also one of the most prolific songwriters in the industry.

生命 and life
隨年月流去 隨白髮老去  with time, slips away.  with hair, ages.
隨著你離去 快樂渺無音訊 with you, leaves. happiness so tiny i can no longer hear it.
隨往事淡去 隨夢境睡去 with things of old, fades. with dreams, sleeps.
隨麻痺的心逐漸遠去 with a numbing heart, distances. 

many of the phrases start with the word, “隨”, which means “with”, all referring back to the first line that states “life”.


被馴服的象 – 蔡健雅 // A Trained Elephant – Tanya Chua 

蔡健雅 Tanya is one of my favourite singer-songwriters. She belongs to a genre of ballad that draws many influences from folk, but on the grittier end of the spectrum. Often leading with only guitar or piano, she’s not prone to flashy lyrical performances, but her voice, which befits the grittier sultry style of song she writes, is compelling and expressive.

She was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year with this album,A Conversation Between Angels and Demons】Notably, the lyrics for this song were written by a very famous talkshow host and entertainer, and serve as a reflective commentary on the entertainment industry as a whole.

裝不出融入的態度  I can’t pretend an attitude of belonging
空氣裡充斥著虛無  The air is filled with empty nothings
說什麼都掩飾不了我這局外人的侷促 Nothing I say covers up how cramped I feel on the outside
想不通自己怎麼了 I can’t think myself through
想不通世界怎麼了 I can’t think the world through
想不通心靈深處 到底變成什麼了 I can’t think through the things changing inside my soul


miraelxx’s picks

선우정아 – 뱁새 // Sunwoo Jung-Ah – Baep Sae

If you ask me to describe 선우정아 Sunwoo Jung-Ah, the simplest and most genuine answer I can give is: “She’s really great at singing.” And she really is. If those unenthusiastic vague words are often thrown around insincerely, I believe Sunwoo Jung-Ah is one of the artists that deserves those words in their most sincerest forms.

The 2013 Artist of the Year (KMA) also won 2013 Best Pop Album of the Year with her second album [It’s Okay, Dear]. The album is filled with eight songs written and produced by her, plus a remake of 70’s pop hit, Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” which she truly embraces it as her own with her unique jazzy groove. The album has no one genre, but an array of musical experiments that highlight the flexibility of Sunwoo Jung-Ah’s vocal. She moves in and out of genres so comfortably, like a sip on a cup of coffee on a lazy cafe Sunday, and plays around so freely with notes. I especially love the parts where she mimics instrumental sounds, her unique voice also an instrument weaving through the melody (ref: 01:40 “알 수 없는 작곡가 / Unknown Composer”).

“나도 쟤처럼 멋들어지게 차려 입으면
I thought if I dressed nicely like her
훨훨 날아갈 줄 알았어
I could happily flutter away
점점 걔 같은 옷들로만 가득한 나의
Watching my life slowly fill up with clothes like hers
인생을 보며 스쳐가는 생각들 내게도
A thought passes by
그런 날이 올까..
Will the day ever also come to me…”

Her lyrics are witty with a bit of mockery; playful yet composed; down to earth yet filled with imagination. The title song “뱁새 / Baep Sae” plays on the traditional Korean idiom “뱁새가 황새쫒으려다 가랑이찢어진다 / following the stork, the crow-tit broke his leg,” which connotes: when you try to be better or imitate those who are better than you without having the necessary skills, you will ruin your life. “Better” meaning well-off, or more knowledgeable, smart, skillful, etc. In other words, be rational about your capabilities. Sunwoo Jung-Ah takes her everyday worries as an example of being a 뱁새, wishing to be like everyone else, but despite buying expensive feathers or attaching stronger wings, she realizes she can’t get away from being her. 그러나 나는 .


리쌍 feat. 유진  – 눈물 // LEESSANG feat. Yoojin of The SeeYa – Tears

Looking back on songs which touched the hearts of the nation and topped the music charts, you will encounter Leessang multiple times. The hip hop duo’s special collaboration with Kpop’s favourite producer 이단옆차기 Duble Sidekick, vocal powerhouse The SeeYa’s 유진 Yoojin, and renowned singer-songwriter 윤건 Yoon Gun helming the piano keys became the epitome of 이별 farewell / parting away.

“니가 떠나고 늘 슬프다
Since you left, I am always sad
아무리 슬퍼해도 슬픔이 모잘라
No matter how sad I am, the sadness is not enough
맘 놓고 아파할 곳을 찾아 숨는다
I look for a place where I can feel hurt and hide”

Mainstream as this song may be (with typical flow of beats and melodic line), I really like this song. Sorrow dwells like baggage, tears slowly filling it up. Emotions aren’t exaggerated but an honest longing and cries. However many 이별 songs there may be in the Korean music industry (and by Leessang themselves), I keep going back to this song. And every time I go back, it never fails to embrace me with all the petty melancholic heartache.

“너의 기억을 억지로 꺼내
I forcefully pull out memories of you
이름 얼굴 웃음 향기
Your name. Your face. Your laughter. Your scent.
니가 내게 남긴 추억이 너무 많아
Too many memories you gave to me
니가 내게 남긴 영혼은 아직 남아
Too much soul you left with me
살아 숨쉬어 이렇게 나를 찾아와
They come alive, breathing, and find me
사랑이란 두글자로 다 부숴
I crush them with the two letter word: 사랑 Sa-rang”