A relatively simple song, “First Love” was composed by Kim Dongryul for Exhibition’s third album, Graduation, summoning the end of Kim Dongryul’s collaboration group with Seo Dongwook. Wikipedia claims that the track was fittingly composed by Kim Dongryul when he was fourteen years old. Kind of like “That Day from Long Ago,” “First Love” has a pensive quality in its prolongation of certain lyrics that conveys the thoughtful, reasoned reflection of the speaker on his past.
Despite having worked on three different translations this week, I couldn’t find one that I was confident I could express clearly enough to publish, so I began to translate this song. Not to undermine the elegance and insight with which this song demonstrates the feelings of a first love, I was able to translate it with relative ease in its repeated use of simpler syntax, which may or may not be intentional in illustrating the more foolish and simplistic thoughts that characterize a first love. On another hand, perhaps I found these lyrics rather straightforward because compared to the three others that I worked on, I have listened to this song somewhat consistently over the past few weeks and months.
While I’m not normally a fan of songs that have a choir-like echo of background singers, the first time I heard “The Way We Live in the World” and understood the gist of it, I really enjoyed its meaningful lyrics. That said, I knew I wanted to translate it; but actually putting the insightful lyrics into easily comprehensible English clauses that sound as elegantly composed/stated as the actual Korean clauses is a quite a bit different from appreciating the Korean lyrics for what they are. The song is part of Kim Dongryul’s album “kimdongrYULE” released in 2011, featuring Yoo Heeyeol, Lee Sangsoon, Yoon Sang, Jung Jaehyung, Na Yoonkwon, Sweet Sorrow, Lena Park, Jung Soonyong, Ha Donggyun, John Park, Harim, Lee Jeok, Lee Younghyun, and Kim Jaesuk (for a total of 18 singers).
Although my translation is inadequate, enjoy the song and hopefully my translation will help you make sense of the beauty of the lyrics: Continue reading
It isn’t quite the timing of graduation as the song title implies, but recently I have been listening a bit to Kim Dongryul, and this track was one I found to be interesting, particularly because Kim Dongryul wrote this song with his own impending graduation from Yonsei University in mind, and I felt the song’s lyrics intriguingly relatable to a [romantic] break-up in addition to a graduation. Something about the uncertainty of ends to things like graduations often makes me afraid or at least uneasy about them – I’m not sure if this only pertains to a graduation, or ends in general, but there’s a feeling of knowing that you need to move onto different (and perhaps greater) things twinged with hesitancy because you don’t know what exactly lies ahead and what exactly you will be leaving behind in going forward.
Some other Kim Dongryul songs that I have been listening to, some of which I’ll hopefully get around to translating sometime soon are ‘출발,’ ‘첫사랑,’ ‘그대가 너무 많은,‘ ‘귀향’ and ‘하늘 높이’ (Sorry for not translating the song titles, as I am unsure of some of the translations myself.) Continue reading
When there are new (not as in recently released) songs that I like that are not mainstream enough to be widely or fully translated, I feel more inclined to post. And so it is with Kim Dongryul‘s “Song From a Long Time Ago,” off of his album from 2008 titled “Monologue.” (Most people refer to this song as “Old Song,” but I feel that that title is a bit to simple as the Korean title means something more like “It’s been a long time since [I listened to] that song,” which I shortened to “Song From a Long Time Ago.“)
I think I stumbled upon this song by accident while listening to some other Kim Dongryul songs, and after reading half of a translation of this song (I could only find the first half), I decided to try to translate it. It’s a very sentimental song, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the speaker of the song is Kim Dongryul himself, as he wrote both the song and the lyrics to “Song From a Long Time Ago.”
Anyhow, check out the translated lyrics below, along with a cover video by Lee Seokhoon of SG Wannabe accompanied by Jin Bora on the piano. An audio of Kim Dongryul’s original version is above. Continue reading
This week’s playlist includes more mellow ballads as recommended by me, and an indie track as recommended by Eunii.