Saturday, March 31, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: Hyun Jin Young Go! Jin Young Go! (3)

현진영, 그리고 1990년대의 추억
Hurrah for Hyun Jin Young! Hurrah for the 1990’s! 

 Hyun Jin Young poses with his wife,
Oh Seo Woon ( Nov. 2011)

In 1994, Hyun Jin Young wrote (7 out of 8 songs) and produced Gu Bon Seung (구본승)’s second album, Migung (미궁, “Labyrinth”) but in the following year (1995) he was arrested and imprisoned for taking Philopon (methamphetamine) again.   By the time people almost completely forgot he even existed, he once again teamed up with Lee Tak  who wrote “Heurin gieoksoge geudae” (흐린 기억 속의 그대, "Vague Memories of You") for him in 1992 and attempted to make a comeback in 1997.  Together, Hyun and Lee organized a hip hop crew called IWBH, an acronym formed from “International World Beat and Hip-hop,” which was also the title of Hyun’s third album released in 1993.  Much to their frustration, however, the audience reaction to their album was couldn’t have been more apathetic.  In 1998, Hyun was AGAIN arrested and imprisoned for glue sniffing in his car, and his hip-hop crew, IWBH, disbanded.

[MV] IWBH: IWBH (1997)
Bbeodeobwa (뻗어봐)
"I Will Fly Again"
(In case the video buffers, please pause it 
until the entire stream is downloaded and then play it.)

Heurin gieok jeo pyeoneseo (흐린 기억 저편에서)
"On the Other Side of Vague Memories"

Since then, for about four years, Hyun had made his living singing around from nightclub to nightclub, barely making ends meet.  In 2002, he reappeared on the Korean music scene with his fourth album, “Wild Gangster Hip Hop,” and the title track, “Yoram” (요람, “The Cradle”) that featured the actress Oh Seo Woon, the love of his life he had met in 2000.  The song is one of his great masterpieces in which he reflected on his sweet childhood days and the tumultuous ups and downs of his life.

Oh talked him into checking into rehab to fight his drug addiction and fought his way back to music.  (FYI, She appeared in MBC’s 2005 ultra hit, Nae ireumeun Gim Samsun ( 이름은 김삼순, “My Name is Kim San Soon”) as Hyun Bin’s blind date.) Thanks to her devotion, he finally cleaned up.  In a 2002 interview, he said he was learning to cultivate virtuous moderation so was practicing Jeolbane mihak (절반의 미학, “the Art of (Taking Up Half”), for example, he took up just half his rice bowl and filled it with vegetables instead.  By doing that, he knocked off 66 pounds (220 lbs. to 154 lbs.).  In the interview, he chimed in on celebrity and substance abuse; he said, “If you think, ‘I’ll try it just once and never again,’ you’re wrong.  Don’t listen to the voice of the devil.”

[LIVE] Hyun Jin Young: Yoram (요람) "The Cradle"

Hyun also wrote and recorded for OCN’s 2004 made-for-TV-movie, “Dong-sang-i-mong” (동상이몽, “Although They Work Together”) and for a 2005 movie, “Sinderella” (신데렐라, “Cinderella”)  In 2006, he released his fifth album, “Street Jazz in My Soul,” a jazz/hip hop crossover or jazz rap.  With the title track, “Sorichyeobwa” (소리쳐봐, “Shout Out”) aka “Break Me Down,” he not only successfully returned to the Korean music scene, but turned into a confident, mature, and sophisticated musician. 

On SBS’s Gangsimjang (강심장, “The Iron Heart”), aired on February 11, 2012, he revealed how his late father had influenced his music.  His father, Heo Byungchan (허병찬), a pianist who died from congestive heart failure in 2005, was the first electronic jazz organist in Korean music history.  (His mom died when he was 14 (in Korean age, 13 in Western age).  He described his father as “Goejja” (괴짜, “wacky”): While he was serving his time in jail, his father came to see him and asked, “Are you having fun (in there)?

[LIVE] ETN's Muz Stage:  Hyun Jin Young (2006)
"Break Me Down" (2006) & "Love Is" (2005)
(The second song starts at 08:20.)

Hyun said he had longed to learn from his father since he was little; but his father had never given him any music lessons.  In 2004, his father turned quite the contrary when he was preparing for his 2006 album; he tirelessly poured out a stream of critical comments on the songs Hyun had written and recorded.  His father just kept giving his songs a thumbs-down, reprimanding him, “Are you a third-rate Ddanddara?”  (Here, the word “Ddanddara” is a pejorative Korean term for an entertainer.)  So he re-recorded the album and sent it to his father who was in the hospital after congestive heart failure.  His father talked down about the album again referring to it as “Sseuregi” (쓰레기, “Garbage”), which provoked him to say, “Are you insane?  Are you losing it? Not gonna do it again!”  He hung up on his father and that was the last time he talked to him.  His father was declared brain dead the same day and soon passed away.  While going through his late father’s personal belongings, he found a box of cassette tapes labeled “Music Scales Practice to Chord for Hyunseok.”  (FYIHis birth name is Heo Hyunseok.)  He remembered his father had always played music from those cassette tapes for him every morning:  For example, when he needed help playing F chord on piano, his father played music in F.  It was not until then he realized it had been his father’s own methods of teaching him (what is involved in understanding) music.

Hyun's 2006 song, Sorichyeobwa” (“Shout Out”) aka “Break Me Down,” is just brilliant, awesome, hands down!  This very addictive song is one of my most favorite Hyun Jin Young songs but here's warning: The music video uploaded below contains content some viewers may find disturbing.

[MV] Hyun Jin Young: Street Jazz in My Soul (2006)
"Soricheo Bwa" ("Shout Out"), aka "Break Me Down"

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