SOTD: Car, The Garden – 명동콜링

I’m always surprised at how many music-related TV shows Korea has, or more specifically, the endless creative ways Koreans can seem to ideate a new music show. The Fan is the latest, which I discovered during my last December weeks in Korea. It’s a show based on competition between lesser-known music artists (e.g. underground, indie and Youtube artists), who have been introduced by well-known mainstream celebrities, including actors, comedians and athletes.

One of the featured artists is Car, The Garden (who actually just won the competition). I have always thought of his 2015 album [Photograph] – back in the days when he was Mayson the Soul – as one of my favourite albums. I am a huge fan of his unique vocals and unconventional songwriting. I think he deserves a special “Artist Feature”, but until then, here’s his beautiful cover of rock band Crying Nut’s 2006 album’s title song “명동 콜링 / Myeong-dong Calling”, which basically made everyone who didn’t know about Car, The Garden, fall in love with him.

Oh 달링 떠나가나요
Oh darling, are you leaving
새벽별빛 고운 흰눈 위에 떨어져
the starlight falls gently on the snow
발자국만 남겨두고 떠나가나요
are you leaving with just traces of your footprints

크리스마스 저녁 명동거리
a Christmas evening in the streets of Myeong-dong
수많은 연인들 누굴 약 올리나
why are all these couples here to mock me
갑자기 추억들이 춤을 추네
suddenly our memories start dancing

보고 싶다 예쁜 그대 돌아오라
I miss you, my beautiful dear, please come back
나의 궁전으로
to my palace
바람 불면 어디론가 떠나가는
when the wind blows, you depart somewhere
나의 조각배야
my small boat

갑자기 추억들이 춤을 추네
suddenly our memories start dancing

Every time I listen to this song, I feel a tingle in my body and my eyes fight against tears. What originally was a rhythmic calling for the happy days turned into a melancholic melody for the love long gone. I find myself pausing breath when he calls “Oh darling” to cue the start of a movie. I pause in admiration of his voice, to hear every single words. The moment he sings the chorus, 보고 싶다 예쁜 그대 돌아오라, is the moment I’m lost. Tracing nostalgia of the protagonist’s longing, I sigh at the end of the chorus, not knowing how I should feel.

This song has been roaming in my head since the last days of 2018.