Monday, July 9, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: MBC’s “I AM a Singer” Season 2 (8)

Naneun Gasuda (나는 가수다) or NAGASU (나가수)

JK Kim Dongwook won the last night of the second round of NAGASU, became the singer of the month, that is, June, and graduated with honor (6/24/2012). I might be wrong but I doubt JK was 100% happy with his win.  In the first round of the show (5/27/2012), for example, when it came time to announce the winner between Park Wankyu and him, he looked so unwilling to win because the winner/singer of the month always has to graduate and go home.  The expression on his face seemed to say, “Not now! I've still got a lot more to show you!”  And when Park’s name was announced as winner, JK was obviously relieved.  Which is no wonder considering his controversial exit from the show in the last season. 

JK joined NAGASU season one on May 29, 2011 and placed fourth; then on June 12, while performing Han Young-ae’s Joyul (조율, “Tuning”), he suddenly stopped singing. He said he wasn’t singing his heart out and wanted to start over.  He soon resumed his performance and eventually stole the audience's hearts and placed second. (Click to watch JK sing “Tuning.”)  But some viewers thought he hadn't played by the rules and some got angry because they thought the show had broken the rules twice:  Early in the season one, they decided to keep Kim Gunmo who had ranked at the bottom on the show in the name of “retry” instead of letting him go.  Eventually, JK voluntarily opted out of the show only after two performances. Therefore, he had every reason to want to stay on the show as long as possible when he chose to return in season two. 

Bittersweet.  It was JK’s first reaction when his name was announced as the winner/singer of July. He said, “The win feels so surreal that I don’t know what to say.  I really want to thank the audience/viewers.  I had a painful experience in NAGASU season one, but I think I just got over it.  Of course, I had the urge to show the audience/viewers more but as I’ve rediscovered myself through my own performances here on the show, I just really want to thank them.”

JK sang Dambaegage Agassi (담배가게 아가씨, “A Lady Cashier at the Tobacconist”), written and originally sung by the Korean folk legend Song Changsik in 1986.  He said he chose this song for a woman for whom he wanted to confess his love.  After his performance, he said, “I sincerely hope that I have conveyed to her my feelings for her.  If she sees my performance tonight, she will feel my sincerity.” 

Guckkasten and Lee Eunmi also made the top three.  Guckkasten sang Gajang Mudohoe (가장무도회, “The Masquerade”), originally sung by Kim Wansun, a Korean dance music icon of the 80's, in 1990. Lee sang Haru (하루, “A Day”), originally sung by Kim Beomsu in 2000.  FYI, its English version, “Hello, Goodbye, Hello,” ranked 51st on the Billboard 100 in 2001 and Kim became the first Korean artist to make a mark on Billboard 100 chart.  BTW, I also loved Jeong Yeop’s rendition of Lee Sora’s 1995 solo debut mega hit Nan Haengbokhae ( 행복해, “I’m Happy”).

[AUDIO ONLY] JK Kim Dongwook: "A Lady Cashier at the Tobacconist"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 6/24/2012)

Lyrics:  “A Lady Cashier at the Tobacconist”

At the tobacconist in our town, there is a pretty lady cashier.
With nicely combed short hair, she’s really pretty.
Every single guy in town is snooping on her.
But she is coy.

I heard my neighbor Calamary was spurned.
Dragon at the comic book rental store was also spurned.
Then I’m the only one in town who still has a chance.
Ta-da!  Coming soon, here’s my chance.

Early the next morning I go to the store
And quietly give her a rose.
As she’s surprised, I pick a staring contest with her.
Oh, she smiles.

All day with butterflies in my tummy, I watch the clock.
Neatly dressed, I wait for her to get off of work.
I politely approach her and say hello with a smile.
But she ignores me.

A real man never gives up like this.
Walking to the sound of her footsteps, I go after her.
I gotta march in step. One, two, three, four!
Oh, how great is my tenacity!

And oh my good heavens! At the entrance to the alley,
She’s surrounded by the hoodlums.
Yes! Here comes my chance! Here comes her knight with shining armor!
Ah, I think I'm gonna faint!

At the tobacconist in our town, there is a pretty lady cashier.
She’s 100 times prettier than before.
I really love this lady who always smiles at me.
Well, I’m going to buy a pack of cigarettes now.

Original Version: Song Changsik
Dambaegage Agassi "A Lady Cashier at the Tobacconist" (1986)

[AUDIO ONLY] Guckkasten: "The Masquerade"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 6/24/2012)

Lyrics:  “The Masquerade”

When the sun goes down,
The streets put on grey makeup
Always with faces void of emotion.
Lonely people who can be lovers without love
Are having a festival.
Is the truth hiding between grey buildings?
Nobody wants to show the deepest part of their heart.
Wo~~ Now I want to love.
Wo~~ The sad masquerade!
Solitary people who can’t be lovers even when in love
Are having a festival.
Is the truth wandering under the neon lights?
Nobody wants to hold my weary hand.
Wo~~ The night is growing darker.
Wo~~ The sad masquerade!
Wo~~ Now I want to love.
Wo~~ The sad masquerade!

Original Version: Kim Wansun
Gajang Mudohoe "The Masquerade" (1990)

[AUDIO ONLY] Lee Eunmi: "A Day"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 6/24/2012)

Lyrics:  “A Day”

(Refrain)  Love is hurting me again.
Love is making me cry again.
Asking me to forget even the memories of our love,
Love is mercilessly leaving me.

Will I be really alright
Just like you said in your goodbye remarks?
I guess it’s easier for you to leave
With your eyes closed and playing ignorant.
 It’s no wonder you’ve changed.
Even the wind changes every day.
But I thank you for giving me happiness
And making me feel like living in this world.


I guess I will probably forget, too.
Maybe I will change just like you did.
But how do I manage to live until then?
I miss you already.
 Another day passes like this.


(Love is hurting me again.)  It’s hurting me again.
(Love is making me cry again.)  It’s leaving me.
 My hear is forever out of order
And it aches so much.
But just like waking up from a dream,
My love was in vain.
 Another day passes like this.

Original Version: Kim Beomsu
Haru "A Day" aka, "Hello, Goodbye, Hello" (2000)

[AUDIO ONLY] Jeong Yeop: "I'm Happy"
on MBC's NAGASU (aired on 6/24/2012)

Lyrics:  “I’m Happy”

Forgive me.
I really don’t want to tell you this
But now it’s inevitable.
I prayed that god wouldn't let me love that man
But now it’s too late.

(Refrain) You used to smile so innocently.
And I still remember it.
Next time, don’t find a woman like me.
Please be happy.

You need to find a good person to love again
And erase me from your memory.


Your innocent smile used be uplifting
And I still remember it.
Next time, don’t find a woman like me.
Ah, please be happy.

I’m happy
Thanks to those days when I could see you.
I won’t be able to forget you till I die.
I love you.

Original Version: Lee Sora
Nan Haengbokhae "I'm Happy" (1995)

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