Golden Lady (골든레이디) by Lim Jeong-hee (임정희): Lyrics, Translation, and Explanation

Unlike From Noona With Love, the more K-pop idols I listen to, the more I find that can’t actually sing(!). But still, we can definitely agree on the abilities of Lim Jeong-hee (임정희), and I’m really glad I found out about her via Noona’s post.

As the lyrics reveal, I’m a Golden Lady is a short but sweet grrrl power piece, about a woman splitting up with her boyfriend and kicking him out of  her apartment. Yet while the music video does follow this narrative at first, then I think undermines it by singer G.NA (지나) all too readily accepting comedian Park Hwi-soon (박휘순) back whenever he brings her gifts later, even if she does literally beat him up immediately afterwards for trying to kiss her, hug her, or stroke her hair. Indeed, as that affection would surely be natural for a reconciled couple that used to share a bed, then, however comic, G.NA appears not so much empowered as a bit of a user.

But with such a beautiful voice, especially those nasal twangs in the chorus (see about 1:14 for instance), then I’ll more than forgive Jeong-hee for the MV. Liking her voice so much though, then you’d think I would have realized sooner that it’s not actually her that does the rap section from 2:29 to 2:49, but rather another (much more famous) Korean singer. See if you guess who, before all is revealed down the page…

Update - Also check out this version with an orchestra, to hear Jeong-hee’s voice away from the recording studio:

너 없이 어떻게 살아가냐고 바보 같은 질문 말아

나는 알아 너 같은 남자는 널려 있단걸

너 같은 남자가 아니더라도 전화 한 통에 달려올

그런 남자 나만 기다리는 남자는 많아

벌써 그 사람의 자동차 소리가 들려

이젠 내 집에서 좀 나가주겠니

아예 없던것처럼

Stop asking stupid questions, like how can I live without you

I know so many men like you

No matter how much they’d be like you, with just one phone call I’d have so many men chasing after me, only waiting for me

I can already hear the sound of his [their?] car

Now, why don’t you leave my home?

Take everything, as if you were never here

(Sources, all remaining screenshots: 1, 2)

Just focusing on those few things which I personally had difficulty with, although I’d be quite happy to explain anything more if anyone requests (and grateful to readers for pointing out any mistakes), the first is the “~날려 있다” in line 2.  With no relationship with the numerous meanings of the verb “날리다”, and not being in any grammar books of mine, I would never have guessed that it meant “lots of [something]” without the help of my wife.

Other than that, the only other thing I briefly struggled with was the verb ending “~겠니” in line 6, which means “aren’t you going to [verb] for me?”. I’d forgotten that – ahem – I’d already covered that in my translation of After School’s Ah! last June.

Next, it’s the chorus:

Hey I’m a golden lady 구차하게 왜 이래

내 내 내 내가 말로 해야만 알겠니

Hey I’m a golden lady 불쌍한 My baby

빼 빼 빼 이젠 발을 빼줘야 할 때야

야~ 이 집도 내가 산 거야 이 차도 내가 산거야

난 이런 여자 야~ 날 위해 살아온거야 그래서 소중한거야

Hey I’m a golden lady, why are you begging like this?

I, I, I…can you only understand if I have to say it?

Hey, I’m a golden lady, my poor, pitiful baby

Go, go, go…Hey, it’s time for you to step out for me

I bought this house too, and this car

Hey, I’m that kind of woman, I have been living for myself, so they’re valuable to me

In lines 1 and 3, both “구차하다” and “불쌍하다” translate as “poor, pitiful, wretched, humiliating” (and so on) according to my dictionary, but my wife says that it’s only the former that more means humiliating and pathetic, and the latter used for someone or thing you should feel sorry for.

열쇠는 놓고가 항상 놔두던 현관 입구 바구니에

안보이게 괜히 숨겨 갈 생각 하지 말고

니 옷은 챙겨줘 남기지 말고 내가 선물한 옷들도

그냥 줄게 남김 없이 싹 다 가지고 가줘

걸리적 거리니까 옆으로 비켜주겠니

이젠 현관에서 퇴장해 주겠니

아예 없던것처럼

Put your keys in the basket in the porch that you always put keys in

Don’t even think about hiding them

Take your clothes, even the ones I bought for you

I don’t want anything to remain, just take everything

You’re in the way, move!

Now, leave from the porch

As if you were never here

In line 5, “걸리적 거리다” is sort of slang for “you’re in way”, again courtesy of my wife.

Next, there’s a short version of the chorus, then the rap section. If you’re reading as you listen, scroll down very slowly if you want to guess who’s singing it before reaching the end:

Hey I’m a golden lady 구차하게 왜 이래

내 내 내 내가 말로 해야만 알겠니

Hey I’m a golden lady 불쌍한 My baby

빼 빼 빼 이젠 발을 빼줘야 할 때야

Hey I’m a golden lady, why are you begging like this?

I, I, I…can you only understand if I have to say it?

Hey, I’m a golden lady, my poor, pitiful baby

Go, go, go…Hey, it’s time for you to step out for me

불쌍한척 애교 좀 떨지마

지루한 너의 유먼 이젠 내겐 철 지난

옷과 같애 몇번을 또 말해야만

알아 듣고 내 앞에서 꺼지겠어? 이젠 안돼

나지막히 얘기할 때 나를 떠나줘

마지막이 아름답게 말을 말아 더

지긋지긋한 너의 어리광

차비라도 달라고 나 참 어이가 없어 Good bye

Don’t do that pretending-to-be-poor aegyo

Your tedious humor is now like last season’s clothes

Do I have to tell you time and time again?

Figure it out…will you get the hell away from in front of me? No more!

Now I’m telling you in a serious voice to leave me

To not ruin this end, say no more

I’m tired of your childishness

You’re even asking for a bus fare? I’ve had it with you! Goodbye!

(Source)

With apologies to Korean learners, I didn’t have any troubles at all with that section, although I’m sure I’ll come to rue those words as soon as better speakers than I get their teeth stuck into it!

As for the source of the rap, if you’d guessed HyunA (현아) of 4Minute (포미닛) then I’m impressed, as I had no idea until halfway through writing this post, when I stumbled across it by accident on some Kpop site…then belatedly noticed it mentioned in the title of the YouTube video I was originally using.

After that, it’s the full version of the chorus again, and already that’s the entire song. Like I said, short and sweet:

Hey I’m a golden lady 구차하게 왜 이래

내 내 내 내가 말로 해야만 알겠니

Hey I’m a golden lady 불쌍한 My baby

빼 빼 빼 이젠 발을 빼줘야 할 때야

야~ 이 집도 내가 산 거야 이 차도 내가 산거야

난 이런 여자 야~ 날 위해 살아온거야 그래서 소중한거야

Hey I’m a golden lady, why are you begging like this?

I, I, I…can you only understand if I have to say it?

Hey, I’m a golden lady, my poor, pitiful baby

Go, go, go…Hey, it’s time for you to step out for me

I bought this house too, and this car

Hey, I’m that kind of woman, I have been living for myself, so they’re valuable to me

Originally, I aimed to do much more background research on Jeong-hee before posting here (one of many resolutions made over my short blogging break), in her case checking out her other music videos to see if any more of her music features similar grrrl power themes. But as just this one example illustrates, music videos can often give a very misleading impression of a song’s lyrics, so unfortunately that project is going to require many more time-consuming translations,  rather than a lazy afternoon spent in front of Youtube. Until those are completed then, I’ll happily defer to readers’ greater knowledge of her (and/or recommendations on which of her other songs to start with), and will begin posting readers’ requests for other songs that I’ve been working on. Rather than putting some readers off in advance by choosing next week’s one myself though, please let me know which of those you’d like instead!^^

Update, 5pm Friday – Unfortunately, PollDaddy doesn’t give you a 5-day option for closing your poll (the closest is a week), but now is when I really need to start working on your selection for it to be ready for Monday. Thanks for you votes then, and Syndrome by Chocolat it is!

(For more Korean song translations, please see here)

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9 thoughts on “Golden Lady (골든레이디) by Lim Jeong-hee (임정희): Lyrics, Translation, and Explanation

  1. I’ve always been fond of Lim Jeong-hee’s voice. She’s been known as a great R&B vocalist for quite some time (we’ll ignore the ill-fated attempt at a U.S. debut) and was even Rain’s vocal coach! I adore their duet “Cassiopeia”. However, it wasn’t until I heard her sing “Music is My Life” for a radio show that I was totally won over. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of “Golden Lady, mostly due to to the fact that it reminds me too much of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” in terms of lyrical theme and musical styling. I felt that by being derivative, she was taking a step back to her debut days when she borrowed heavily from the image and music of Alicia Keys. However, I am still a fan, because when she is not being overtly derivative of other artists, she is truly remarkable. Her duet, with Junsu (JunK), “가지마 (Don’t Leave)”, is a great example of how she possesses the perfect mix of soulfulness and smoothness necessary for great R&B singing.

    • I knew her song sounded similar to an American song. I think that her company tried to be a little more cautious by giving her a mainstream-sounding song to ease her back into K-pop. Just 1 year is practically an eternity, unless you maintain your presence in Korea somehow.

  2. I don’t like this new song of hers…it seems like not only did she cut off her sexy hair but she completely lost her personality. IMO there is nothing about the song that accents her amazing jazzy and husky voice. :(

    This is one of my favorite (a little old) song of hers:

    • Oh, while it’s short it does have a lot of energy, and there was still enough of her amazing jazzy and husky voice in it to interest me at least. But yeah, while it’s a big of a cliche, 시계 태엽 (Watch’s Spring?) that you mention and Music is my Life that Mojo did do have a lot more soul, and her voice at least is something that I’d genuinely want to listen to over a bottle of wine with my wife in the evenings. That being what pretentious intellectual couples do in the movies, then – ahem – I’ve long wanted to try it for myself, but unfortunately never found any appropriate music I liked until now…

  3. Regarding the lyrics not matching the music video, this reminds me of a song where the lyrics didn’t match the singer, I encountered this song when I first got hooked on K-Pop, although this particular singer was Thai – Tata Young. She had just released an English album and the music video was getting lots of air time on the Korean music video channels (this was around 2004). The songs title and lyrics, indeed the music video, “Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy Me” suggested to the listener that she was somewhere between an empowered woman and a bitchy slut. I eventually obtained this CD, and it included a DVD interview with her. All my friends were really surprised, in the interview she comes across as a sweet, innocent young girl, almost polar opposite to the persona(s) portrayed in the various lyrics on her album. Here’s the link to that song, but be forewarned, once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your brain for days on end

    Returning to the point, I too have often noticed a disconnect between the song and the music video. For example, yours truly had a very small role as an extra in a music video years ago. The MV was like a mini-movie, which as far as I can tell had almost nothing to do with the song (if there was a connection, it was very abstract). It does occur to me that some songs’ lyrics are so silly, it might be difficult to make a relavent video

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