魚 The Edge – 陳綺貞 Cheer Chen
Cheer Chen is Taiwan’s darling indie singer-songwriter, who over the span of her 20 year career has since become a mainstream staple. Her song 魚, recorded in the 2009 太陽 album, was nominated for 3 Golden Melody awards. 2009 was notably the year I graduated from high school and left to Canada to study. This transition marked also a new exploration of different music styles and a slow but intentional scrambling of the types of artists I paid attention to.
帶不走的丟不掉的，讓大雨侵蝕吧! The things you can’t take or throw away, let the rain devour!
讓它推向我在邊界，奮不顧身掙扎。 Let it push me to the edge, let me thrash with abandon.
如果有一個懷抱，勇敢不計代價， If there is a hug, if there is a courage that doesn’t count the cost
別讓我飛，將我溫柔豢養。Don’t let me fly, raise me gently.
管他什麼音樂 Who Cares What Kind of Music – 范曉萱&100% Mavis Fan&100%
范曉萱 Mavis Fan is a well-known wunderkind musician who abruptly deviated from her music trajectory to pursue her own musical tastes and aesthetics at the height of her success. This actually bumped her off the mainstream radar and since then, many would say she paid the price for this transition with her career. She has since branched out also into production, acting and also just living her life on her own terms. This song, released in 2009 in collaboration with her band, I think speaks to the spirit of her decisions, and as a bonus, also created a wave of awesome dance videos!
擁抱路人滿滿的喜悅 Embrace the brimming joy of the passerby
到處都是到未來到狂野的台階 Everywhere is a stage to a wild future
管它什麼音樂 Who cares what kind of music
聽了煩惱一聲令下往後退 as long as after listening, your worries retreat on command
管它什麼音樂 Who cares what kind of music
都是一次讓愛延續的機會 it is always an opportunity to extend some love
In case anyone is interested in um, learning the choreography for it 😛
클래지콰이 Clazziquai – Tell Yourself
Regarded as the pride of Korea’s electropop music, Clazzquai is known for DJ Clazzi’s experimental music which often includes jazz and house sounds, with Alex’s soft balladic vocal and Horan’s dreamy vocal that melts every word. Debuted in 2004, the group really grasped their unique colour five years later in the [MUCHO PUNK] album (which this song is included) – a character unfamiliar to Korea during that time.
Take a look around this is me, what I see
너도 꼭 나와 같은 기분이 드니 do you also feel the same as me
만나면 매일 똑같은 반복들 every time we meet, it’s always repetitive
Now stop, 이제는 지워버려 just erase everything
행복한 마음만을 간직하며 embrace the happy moments
새로운 추억들을 만들어가 and let’s create new memories
설레임 가득 담긴 마음으로 with our hearts filled with butterflies
처음 사귄 연인들처럼 like a new couple
Side note, Alex is Korean-Canadian, but awkward English doesn’t seem to go away 😅
8eight – 잘가요 내사랑 Goodbye, My Love
I consider Leessang’s “헤어지지 못하는 여자, 떠나가지 못하는 남자 (The girl who can’t break-up, The boy who can’t leave),” also released in 2009, as exemplary of the dramatic, emotional love songs that surfaced the Korean mainstream during the 2000s, as well as the movement of rap being a prominent collaborator with ballads.
This hit song by 8eight, a mixed ballad group, does the same things – maybe with more pained heart and cries, although the music video really pushes the intensity with the Korean drama trope of ‘a love that could never happen.’ All three of the members have powerful vocals that exudes sorrow with every word. Baek Chan’s vocal in the bridge always feels like a drown in tears, and I’m still surprised that he is also the rapper in the group, which is very unlike typical division of roles in groups where the rapper only raps and stands awkwardly during the long period of other members singing.
잘가요 내 사랑 goodbye, my love
이젠 보내줄게요 i will send you off now
기억 추억 모두 잊을게요 i will forget about all the memories
지우고 지워서 사랑 한 점도 erasing, and erasing, even the love i had for you
비워 낼게요 내 맘에서 i’ll empty them out from my heart
몸이 멀어지면 they say, if you’re physically distant
마음도 멀어진단 말 your heart will also be distant
하나도 내겐 소용 없더라 this doesn’t matter to me
다 거짓말 everything’s a lie