Tag Archive: Zitten


[KOR/ENG] Zitten -Try

Although I still can’t completely grasp the meaning of the lyrics of Zitten’s Try, I feel like its title and the sole English word in its lyrics, “try,” says a lot. The song’s instrumental reminds me a bit of pep band music meant to rally its listeners into trying again after failure, although admittedly, I can’t quite justify this with the lyrics as I find myself struggling to understand them even after having let them sit in my brain (and a draft of this post) for a few weeks. I know I’ve said this before (and perhaps it arises partly due to my lack of understanding of the Korean language), but I find Zitten’s songs to have an unearthly character, not only in the instrumentals but in the lyrics – they can be hard to grasp and feel intangible, but that quality gives them a unique charm. Also, something to note in reading my (already flawed) translation – I’m not sure if the song is imperative, overall addressing listeners as “you” and telling them to try, or if it is declarative, overall telling the story of someone who learned to try. (A live performance of Try is above; an audio version of it [and its translation] is below the cut.) Continue reading

Zitten – White Night [KOR/ENG]

Well. This post is long overdue. In part because of my awful procrastination, in part because my Korean comprehension and translating abilities are so lacking. But finally, I decided I might as well post this translation because future attempts to translate Zitten’s White Night probably won’t do it due justice, just like this attempted translation. With that said, if some words seem out of place and you have any corrections to make on my flawed translation, please drop a comment below.

Having translated attempted to translate this song, I’m curious as to whether or not its lyrics really are as abstract and even dreamy as the music itself. (If not…well I guess it’s just my mis-translations.) But with some of the snippets of this song that I am confident about and the music itself, I must say, it is truly a gem. I find Zitten’s tracks like White Night and Whale, another song on the album (titled White Night) so enjoyable and relaxing to listen to; they seem to convey something dreamy and almost unearthly –  impressions I rarely get while listening to music in the whole scheme of things.

Go below the cut for the audio track.

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Zitten – Whale [KOR/ENG]

Zitten is hands down, my favorite Korean indie artist. I only found out today that Zitten was on Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook just a few weeks ago (see the above video!), and after finally garnering some money to buy some Zitten songs on iTunes, I decided that I’d try to translate a Zitten song – “Whale” off of the album “White Night.”

Although I do feel kind of weird listening to songs like these with somewhat depressing lyrics having not gone through too much turmoil myself, I still enjoy the lyrics because they sound so meaningful and contemplative. Hopefully I’ll be able to translate “White Night,” the title track off of the album. Check the English translation of the song “Whale” below!
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Korean Music vs. K-Pop

In general, we classify Korean music as ‘K-Pop.’ Why? Because it’s the most mainstream genre of Korean music; it’s the kind of dance-pop music that people are usually referring to when they talk about Korean music; it for the most part accurately describes Korean music; it’s easier and simpler to say than ‘Korean music.’ But as with any music in a certain language, one genre alone cannot accurately depict all the music in the language; K-Pop alone does not define Korean music.

Perhaps my sister and I are in the minority when I say that we listen to Korean music, not so much K-Pop; or maybe there are many people like us, who have ventured out of K-Pop to some other genre of Korean music, but just not enough listeners of another specific genre of Korean music to be distinguished in this ever-growing sea of K-Pop fans. Just as American music is not defined just by what is broadcasted on the radio, Korean music is not defined just by what is written on on Allkpop, or what is broadcasted on music programs.

Like American music, there are many genres of Korean music, including ballad, dance, indie, rock, hip hop, R&B/soul, electronica, trot…and more. Naturally, most music can’t be classified under only one category, but still, there is more than just catchy, eye-appealing dance pop music.

Even if the term ‘K-Pop’ was meant to incorporate much or all of Korean music at the time it came into use, K-Pop, as much people know it, does not incorporate much Korean music. K-Pop incorporates all-out music videos, specifically eye-appealing visuals, makeup, stages, and stage outfits (‘costumes’), synchronized dancing, male and female ‘idol’ groups, fan chants accompanied by banners and glowsticks and posters, catchy, upbeat tunes, and Korean lyrics sprinkled with [random] English phrases.

I do listen to K-Pop, but I do not only listen to K-Pop. I have started listening to other genres of Korean music, and I find it unfair to be grouped together with K-Pop and its fans, when much of what I listen to these days is not at all ‘K-Pop.’

Kim Bumsoo is not K-Pop. He was essentially a faceless ballad singer until he became famous from I Am A Singer; and while he does have his crazy upbeat songs, he does not fit into the K-Pop mold. He is and never was a part of a dancing idol group; he wears his glasses most of the time and does not have fancy comeback stages, complete with fan chants and banners.

Zitten is not K-Pop. The duo (now soloist) is at most average in terms of physique, perhaps even below average. I have not seen either member attempt to dance; I have not seen an album with one or both of their faces on it. I have not seen them perform on a music show, or even perform on a flashy stage. Instead, I have only seen them sing and play their instruments in rather ordinary apparel, before a sea of silently and calmly swaying glowsticks.

Lee Moonsae is not K-Pop. He had already been an active singer in Korea for years before the term ‘Hallyu Wave’ or ‘K-Pop’ even existed. From a sole K-Pop fan’s point of view, Lee Moonsae would probably be just ‘an old, slow, boring singer,’ perhaps with a song bearing a striking resemblance to Big Bang’s Sunset Glow (Big Bang’s Sunset Glow is a remake of Lee Moonsae’s original). Lee Moonsae is 53 years old; I think most would rather not see him don skin-tight skinny jeans.

Korean music is not K-Pop. Yes, K-Pop is a type of Korean music, but Korean music is not K-Pop. Korean music has long existed before such a thing as K-Pop even came into being, and it will, even if K-Pop ceases to exist in later years.

(The point of this post isn’t to look down on K-Pop, but to state that Korean music is not solely K-Pop, and to recognize the existence of other genres within Korean music.)

#nowplaying Sunshine – Zitten

Even though this song isn’t extremely upbeat or exciting, it’s a song that is able to lift me from my sadness or disappointment on a day when I feel less happy than I should. The guitar plucking is so warm and soft and beautiful; it makes me feel as if I have no worries and am free in the world to wander by myself in the safety and comfort of nature/the wilderness.

I can just almost picture myself running in a meadow. But maybe drinking a cup of something warm in a coffee shop, just tuning in and out of conversations and the background music while eating a sweet waffle and people-watching would be more suitable and realistic.

Both are ideal. ;]

Zitten – Tok Tok [KOR/ENG]

There’s nothing like some mellow indie music to clear up your mind and brighten your day :) Enjoy!

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Top Songs of 2011 (Part 1)

So I thought about whether or not I should do any year-end posts on this blog. And I decided I should. But then before I knew it it was the year end and so here I am posting my “reflection of 2011” in 2012. Oh, well. Continue reading