SOTD: 선우정아 SWJA – 쌤쌤

똑같은 사치 똑같은 pride 똑같은 멸시 똑같은 blind…
내가 바란 그 미래는 겨우 누군가의 윗층이야. 아래엔 다른 이의 dream”

“same luxury, same pride, same disdain, same blind…
the future i’ve been desiring is no more than to be someone’s upper level
and below is another’s dream”

She sang of “뱁새 Baep-sae” in 2013, and she sings of “쌤쌤 Sam Sam” five years later as a self-reflection.

First part of her third full album, [Stand] features five songs talking about multiplicities of human attitude. The title song “쌤쌤” calls on our needless competitiveness that drives survival, and how those attitudes are rooted in the plays of kids – Who can be the best? Who can be the strongest? Who can be the most powerful?

In her note about the song, Sunwoo Junga writes: “세월이 쌓일 수록 제가 생각하는 정의가 아닌 다른 곳을 바라보고 살고 있는 기분입니다.” “As time passes by, I find myself moving away from what I think justice is, and rather looking and living somewhere else.” I interpret her use of “정의” as encompassing fairness and collaboration. It is her self-reflection.

그걸 왜 갖고 싶은데 갖고 뭘 할 건데 / why do you want it, what are you going to do with it
지금 내 간절함 과연 영원할까 / will my current eagerness last forever
조금 배가 불러도 다 귀찮아 하잖아 / even when i feel so annoyed when i’m a little full
그런 나의 두 손에 무기를 쥐어 준다면 / what would happen if you hand me a weapon

아주 단순한 욕망 쟤보다 세고 싶음 / a very simple desire, i want to be stronger than them
누군가의 부러움 잊으면 안 되구 / i also won’t forget their jealousy towards me
모자라는 것보단 남기는 게 나아 / it’s better to have more than enough than have little
자격 없는 내 손에 쥐어 진 총 / as i hold the gun with my unqualified hand

Kids playing. Adults arguing. Adults egging on a fight. Adults cheering. And then it ends with kids playing. Throughout the 4 minutes and 40 seconds, we hear these background noises. We also hear sounds of a gun, loading up and shooting. I interpret the metaphor of the gun through questions of: Is it the violence of competition? Is it the abuse of power? Is it how people who have power are unqualified? Who has the qualification to hold power, to be better than someone else?

The song is like an immersive sound installation; every single sound, echoes, and instrumentals orchestrated with intention.

Feel the same, same same
Feel ashamed, ashamed
I can’t blame anyone
(But where are you lookin’?)

Feel the same, same same
Feel ashamed, ashamed
But I can not stop being
greedy, greedy, greedy

I have no proof that I am better than them

“쌤쌤” is a slang word, a condensed way of saying “same same”. Koreans throw the word around, often with a mocking intonation, like “둘 다 쌤쌤이네 two of you are sam sam” – you’re basically the same.  As the title of the song, she tells us: we’re all basically the same. We’re adults who are kids fighting for power. We’re all just jealous of each other, and greedy to be better. We’re all unqualified to hold the gun. (Do we even need a gun?)

This song deserves to be listened with careful ears. You can also listen with its beautiful music video:

From my experience, a great song rarely has a great music video that reflects and exudes the narrative tone of the song. This song’s an exception with a music video that is basically a performance art piece. An exception with also an exceptional voice of Sunwoo Junga. With a natural charismatic voice, she’s truly an artist with a powerful unique vision. A vision that keeps molding and moving, not becoming more “better” than five years ago, but evolving into different shapes and forms. This song says it all.