Wednesday, February 29, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: John Park's KNOCKing at your heart's door

노크” (Knock)

 John Park 
(Picture courtesy of Music Farm Korea)

John Park or Park Seonggyu1 (존박 or 박성규) is a Korean-American singer. He was a semifinalist (and voted off on March 4, 2010) in the ninth season of Fox’s “American Idol” and the same year he entered Mnet’s “Superstar K Season Two” or “Superstar K-2.” He came in second place in the competition aired live on October 22, 2010.  My then-71-year-old mom was so heartbroken for she had rooted for him to win the “Superstar K” title.  She had repeated his songs on her MP3 player for quite a while ever since.  After runner-up finish, Park reportedly received management offers from various agencies including Bae Yong Joon’s2 KeyEast and ended up signing with Music Farm Koreaon March 30, 2011.

1. Or Park Seong Gyu or Park Sunggyu or Park Sung Gyu
2. Or Bae Yongjoon or Bae Yong-joon.
3. Music Farm Korea is known to have a pool of very talented musicians with sophisticated, in-depth understanding of music and, of course, life such as 이적 (Lee Jeok or Lee Juk), 김동률 (Kim Dongryul or Kimg Dong-ryul or Kim Dong-ryool), 체리필터 (Cherry Filter), 조원선 (Joe Wonsun or Cho Weonseon or Cho Wonseon), 이상순 (Lee Sangsoon or Lee Sangsun), 정순용 (Jung Soonyong or Jung Sunyong or Jeong Sunyong)

The moment he came on the public scene, Park was added to the list of Eomchina (엄친아, “Mom’s friend’s son”)4 as he was considered the full package; he’s got the look, the talent, and was an Econ student at Northwestern University.  But despite all the media frenzy, he had maintained a relatively low profile for a very long time, compared to his fellow “Superstar K-2” contestants such as Huh Gak (허각, winner) or Jang Jae In (장재인, third place), until his debut album, “Knock,” was released at last on February 22, 2012.  He just had made brief appearances on MBC’s “Radio Star” together with Lee Juk and Jung Jae Hyung or Jeong Jaehyeong5 (August 24, 2011) and KBS’s “Sketchbook” (November, 2011) in the meantime. 

4. Eomchina is a slang term that originated as the acronym of Eomma Chingu Adeul which translates to “Mom’s friend’s son.”  Korean moms push and nag their children by mentioning her friend’s perfect son.  However, a person that is so perfect is unreal in real life, hence, it’s basically the ideal images reflected and created by Korean moms.  Its female equivalent is Eomchinddal (엄친딸, from Eomma Chingu Ddal, “Mom’s friend’s daughter”).
5. Jung Jae Hyung or Jeong Jaehyeong (정재형) is a Korean singer-songwriter. He’s currently hosting SBS’s “You & I,” a music TV show, with the Korean sex icon, Lee Hyori (이효리).

John Park
(Picture courtesy of Music Farm Korea)

In his recent interview with Sports DongA (02/24/2012), John Park said, “I thought I needed a cooling off period until the media frenzy would die down because I wanted to be properly valued only as a musician.”  He said he had signed up with Music Farm Korea because they had him convinced that his career as a musician, not as an entertainer or a pop star, would pick up and flourish there.  “I knew there was room to improve and I knew I still needed to learn how to convey sentiments that are uniquely Korean and to bring out the subtle nuances in lyrics (since I was born in the U.S.),” he added.  This explains why he didn’t try to express himself through music this time while preparing his debut album; his primary goal was to sing the songs that tap a quintessentially Korean sentiment.

Park said, “I wanted my music to sound fresh and clean as if I was starting over as a musician,” and promised that his second album would show his true colors.  He also revealed plans to write songs for the next album.  “Kim Dongryul wrote three tracks on my album.  I was so happy working with great musicians like Kim and Lee Juck.  Just like them, I really want to remain committed to the music as long as I possibly can and want to be true to my own spirit and my own music,” he added.  (FYI, Park is known to also admire Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Gavin DeGraw, Marc Broussard and Jamie Cullum, and like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera, & Theresa Andersson.)

John Park
(Picture courtesy of Music Farm Korea)

All five tracks on his debut album, “Falling”(폴링), “Why Is It”(왜그럴까), “This Ain’t It”(이게 아닌데), “Good Day”(굿데이), and “That Song”( 노래), became instant hits upon release, all ranked in the Top 10 on Naver’s real-time chart; Park with “Falling” was neck and neck with Big Bang with “BLUE” for first place on various digital download charts on February 22, 2012.  He dominated Hanteo’s real-time daily album sales chart on February 26 as about 13,000 launch copies were sold out in a single day.  A representative of Music Farm Korea said it had already gotten plenty of reorders from retailers.  The album was produced by Kim Dongryul and the title song, “Falling,” was composed by Mama’s Gun lead singer/composer/producer Andy Platts with lyrics written by John Park.  Park reportedly produced the song himself.  He made his official debut on Mnet’s “M! Countdown” stage on February 23, 2012.

[MV] John Park: Falling (2012) 
(Click on the title on screen or double-click it
to watch the video clip in HD full screen.)

Lyrics:  Falling                                                                        Translated by ONSEMIRO

hayake beonjineun meoritsogeda  geudaereul saegyeo noko  
I engrave you in my mind that is blanking out
jeo meolli naraga
and fly far away
modeunge boineun du nuneul gamggoseo
I close my eyes that can see everything and
siganeul doedolyeoseo geu ddaero doragago sipeo
I wish I could go back in time to relive that moment

(Refrain) falling, idaero, falling for you
Falling, as I am, (I’m) falling for you
nal jabajul su eopseodo
Even though you cannot catch me
falling, ddodasi, falling for you
Falling, once again, (I’m) falling for you
nal  gamssajul su eomnayo?
Can’t you just hold me?

joatteon nanaldo, neomu apatteon naldo
The good times and very painful times
ije dorikyeo bomyeon geujeo geuraesseonnayo?
When you look back (on those days), were they just so-so?
anira marhaeyo.  meongdeun gaseumdo
Please say no.  If only my bruised heart,
meonghaejin maeumdo dasi neuggil suman iddamyeon
(If only) my empty heart could feel again


ggamake beonjineun haneurwieseo
From up above in the blackening sky,
haneopsi churakhaneun nal bogo inneyo
You’re just watching me forever falling

falling, idaero, falling for you
Falling, as I am, (I’m) falling for you
ireon nal jabajuseyo
Please catch me (falling) like this
falling, ddodasi, falling for you
Falling, once again, (I’m) falling for you
jebal nal  gamssajuseyo
Please I beg you to hold me

haneopsi churakhadeorado,  badakggaji ddeoreojeodo
(I don’t care) if I fall forever or crash to the ground
geudael hyanghae nan falling for you
(I’m facing) toward you, I’m falling for you
geujeo geudaeman boneyo
I’m just watching you

John Park: Good Day (2012)
Written by Kim Ina and composed by Kim Hyungsuk

[LIVE] John Park: This Ain’t It (2012)
Written and composed by Kim Dongryul

John Park: That Song (2012)
Written and composed by Kim Dongryul

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