SOTD: Throwback Dance Pop, Co-ed Ver

During the high rise of first generation K-pop in the late 90’s, many of the groups were co-ed, or mixed gender, often consisting of one powerful female vocal and one male rapper. It’s a phenomenon that we rarely saw as we moved into the mid 2000’s and girl fans screamed love for TVXQ and boy fans fell over Jewelry.

Recently, I became obsessed with songs that were released when I was a little kid or not even born. A major throwback to an unknown nostalgia when Korea just experienced the infamous IMF crisis, yet music prospered and dance hip-hop took its form. Looking back at the co-ed groups that helped nurture the musical aesthetic of K-pop, they definitely held major advantages with its balance of vocal variations, and its gender dynamic allowing for love songs to be written like a conversation between a couple, or a sharing of two sides of a story.

During our current stuffy, frustrating, and exhausting time at home, I want to share my three happy songs by three of the best co-ed groups of K-pop history – beginning with an energetic kick, followed by a fun rhythmic party, and ending with a melodic acoustic ballad, handing you a wine glass by the beach. I hope these will brighten up your mood and get you moving in your bedroom.

룰라 Roo’ra – 3!4! (1996)

여기 숨쉬는 이 시간은 this moment where i’m breathing
나를 어디로 데려갈까 where will it take me
많은 기쁨과 한숨들이 뒤섞인 이곳에서 from this place mixed with happiness and sighs
사랑만으로 늘 가득한 그런 내일로 가고 싶어 i want to go to a tomorrow always full of love
서로가 함께 영원히 행복하도록 until the day we are forever happy
나 그대 우리 모두 me, you, us, everyone

샵 S#arp – Sweety (2001)

문득문득 너의 입술때문에 suddenly because of your lips
조심조심 키스 때문에 carefully because of your kiss
오~ 살랑살랑 너의 손길때문에 oh~ gently because of your hands
어쩔줄을 몰라 버렸어 i don’t know what to do

또 스르르 네가 기다려 다가와줘 again you wait, can you come to me
나 도로록 네가 달콤해 you are so sweet
사랑 내겐 너무나 사탕 같은 love for me is so sweet like candies
어쩔수 없는걸 손과 귀와 입술그맛 there’s nothing you can do, the taste of your hands, ears, lips

The lyrics have a lot of movement words – words that mimic a wavering or a melting – that imagines a sort of feeling, which don’t truly translate into English, but if you know Japanese “そよそよ,” or Chinese “习习 “.

쿨 Cool – 아로하 Aloha (2001)

어두운 불빛아래 촛불 하나 와인 잔에 담긴 약속 하나
under the dim light, one candle and a wine glass filled with one promise
항상 너의 곁에서 널 지켜줄꺼야 날 믿어준 너였잖아
i will always be by your side, i will protect you, because you trusted me

나 바라는건 오직 하나 영원한 행복을 꿈꾸지만
the only thing that i hope for is a love everlasting
화려하지 않아도 꿈같지 않아도 너만 있어주면 돼
even if it’s not splendid, even if it’s not like a dream, i just need you

cause your love is so sweet, you are my everything
첫날밤의 단 꿈에 젖어 하는 말이 아냐 난 변하지 않아
i’m not just saying this on our first night because i’m stuck in a dream
오직 너만 바라볼꺼야
i’m only going to look at you