Because Of You (너 때문에) by After School (애프터스쿨): Lyrics, Translation, & Explanation

With apologies for not writing about the positives of Korean popular culture more often, let me present Because of You (너 때문에) by After School (애프터스쿨). It’s one of my 10 favorite Korean songs, and easily their best.

Or at least, DJ Areia’s version of it above is, but I include the original below if you prefer.

The music video however, is a little confusing. Not because it depicts a relationship between 2 women though: admittedly that was a surprise, but in hindsight the lyrics are completely gender neutral. Rather, it’s because there is a man – model Song Jae-lim (송재림) – featured prominently throughout, and it’s not entirely clear who or what he’s supposed to represent exactly. Indeed, with his collage of photos of different members of the group, closed-circuit TV monitoring of them, and finally holes in walls through which to directly spy on them, then “voyeur” or “stalker” is what comes to mind personally, but I’d be surprised if that’s what the creative director intended.

If anyone can explain what he’s doing there then, then please let me know! In the meantime, I hope the translation adds to your enjoyment of the song, and for Korean learners I’ve included detailed explanations in those cases where I came across words or grammar that were new to me personally, or where my (Korean) wife and I had some difficulties. But I’m still quite happy to explain anything else though, and of course may have made some mistakes, so please give me a buzz in either case.

Here goes:

아직도 나 그대를 잊지못해

I never forget boy

I never forget boy

헤어진지 벌써 몇년이 지났는지 몰라

그대 생각만 하면 자꾸 눈물만 흘러

오늘따라 왜 그렇게 네가 보고플까

창밖의 빗소리가 내 맘을 흔들어놔

I still can’t forget you

I never forget boy

I never forget boy

Since we split up, already so many years have passed I’ve lost track

I only have to think of you, and I frequently [end up] crying

Why especially today do I want to see you so much?

The sounds of the rain outside the window pane has gotten my heart beating

Line 5 was the first problem, which my wife and I actually argued about a little (albeit when we were both very tired), because although “만” usually means “only”, according to her it can also mean “whenever” too. And however annoying it is for learners like myself, I do concede that even the simplest of Korean words can have multiple meanings sometime, so although I haven’t encountered that use of the term myself yet, for a while I wisely deferred to her translation of it as “Whenever I think about you”.

But still, it bugged me, as surely “그대 (애대해서) 생각할때 마다”, say, would be a much less ambiguous way of saying that? Hence the result you see above, after resolving which we wisely decided to start translating the next verse in the morning. Unfortunately however, that still left Line 7, which uses the construction of [verb] + [아/어/여 ending] + [놓다].

I wasn’t familiar with that, but I did know [verb]+ [아/어/여 ending] + [있다], which means that “the state resulting from the action of the verb continues to exist” for a short time, and also [verb]+ [아/어/여 ending] + [두다], which basically means to something in that state for a much much longer time (compared to 있다), so it wasn’t difficult to understand this new 놓다 one, which “indicates that the action of the main verb is complete, and is restricted to action verbs”. See page 353 of Korean Grammar for International Learners for more information, an essential reference book which I’d be surprised if anyone still reading by this stage didn’t already have!

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어 정 주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어 왜 이렇게 나 혼자 아파

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어 정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어 왜 이렇게 나 혼자 아파

난 항상 너만의 장미가 되려던 내 맘을 아니

이제 조각난 사랑의 마침표가 됐다는걸

눈물이 밀려와 메마른 입술이 젖어

이제 어떡해 그댈 잊을 수 없어

I shouldn’t have loved you, I shouldn’t have given you affection

I shouldn’t have asked you to stay, why am only I hurt so much?

I shouldn’t have loved you, I shouldn’t have given you affection

I shouldn’t have asked you to stay, why am only I hurt so much?

I was always going to be your rose, Do you know my heart?

I know our shattered love’s final end has come

My gushing tears wet my dry lips

Why can’t I forget you now?

In lines 1-3, the construction [verb] + [지말걸] basically means “shouldn’t have [verb], and the “그랬어” just adds emphasis. In Line 1, it seemed simplest just to translate “정” as “affection”, but note that it often means a great deal more than that in group contexts (see here and here). Meanwhile, in Line 7 I changed “밀려오다” from “advancing” to “gushing”, because although the former is technically more correct, in English “advancing tears” really means tears that haven’t arrived yet, whereas in this case the Korean means tears that have arrived, and keep coming like waves on the sea keep advancing towards the shore.

Line 6 though – 이제 조각난 사랑의 마침표가 됐다는걸 – was probably the hardest of the entire song to translate. My logic with “I know our shattered love’s final end has come” was, first, that the sentence is quite literally “Now-shattered-love’s-full stop/period-has come/formed/arrived I know”, with me writing “full stop/period” to avoid anyone confusing “period” with a period of time, when actually “마침표” just means the punctuation at the end of a sentence. But then I decided that “final end” is what it is meant by that surely, and changed it accordingly.

Still, I admit that the sentence as a whole remains pretty strange, as in my experience “shattered love” has already has had “a final end” by virtue of shattering in the first place. Perhaps not so in Korean though?

Next, the chorus:

너 때문에 많이도 울었어 (매일밤 난)

너 때문에 많이도 웃었어 (그대 때문에)

너 때문에 사랑을 믿었어 (woo boy)

너 때문에 너 때문에 모두 다 잃었어

정말 답답답해 갑갑갑해 막막막해 너없는 세상이

내 말을 씹어놓고 자존심 짖밟아놓고

내 맘을 찢어놓고 왜 나를 떠나가

Because of you I cried a lot (every night I)

Because of you I laughed a lot (because of you)

Because of you I believed in love (woo boy)

Because of you, because of you, I lost everything

I am so frustrated, stifled, and lost in a world without you

You ignored what I said and walked all over me

You tore my heart to shreds, why did you leave me?

Most of that was quite simple in contrast. Of course there are many alternatives in English for “닫답하다”, “갑갑하다”, and “막막하다” in Line 5, and the difference between the first 2 in particular is quite subtle. Indeed, although this was the first time I’d ever heard “갑갑하다” myself, my wife tells me that it is so similar to “닫답하다” that it is often used in conjunction with it for emphasis.

Also, in line 6 and 7 there is the [verb] + [아/어/여 ending] + [놓다] used earlier. In Line 6, I decided that “you ignored what I said” was a better translation of “내 말을 씹어” than the literal “you chewed my words”, which sounds quite ambiguous in English. In the case of  “자존심 짖밟아” though, I decided that “walked all over me” sounded the most natural, but the more literal “you trampled over my self-respect” was probably fine really.

Note though, that the last line should really have a “you” or “당신이” inserted, making it  “내 맘을 찢어놓고 왜 당신이 나를 떠나가” or “You tore my heart to shreds, why did you leave me?”. And as I’ll explain, the question of who left whom exactly becomes important a little later.

그날도 비가 왔었지

한참을 그댄 말없이 나를 바라보기만 했어 어어어

흔들리는 눈빛과

애써 짓는 어색한 미소가 이별을 얘기해줘 줘줘줘

It rained that day too

For a long time, you just stared at me wordlessly

Through the light of your eyes and your labored, awkward smile, I realized you were going to split up with me

That’s quite straightforward, so I’ll just continue:

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어 정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어 왜 이렇게 나 혼자 아파

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어 정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어 왜 이렇게 나 혼자 아파

나보고 떠나가라고 할땐 언제고

떠난다니까 어쩌고 미친사람 취급만 해 정말 힘들어 (Boy slooow down)

아무런 말도 못한 채 울어

Cause I want to stay next to you

My love is true Wanna go back to when I was with you

I shouldn’t have loved you, I shouldn’t have given you affection

I shouldn’t have asked you to stay, why am only I hurt so much?

I shouldn’t have loved you, I shouldn’t have given you affection

I shouldn’t have asked you to stay, why am only I hurt so much?

You are the one who told me to leave

After saying that, why did you only treat me like I was crazy? It was so painful and difficult for me

I cried so hard I couldn’t speak

Cause I want to stay next to you

My love is true Wanna go back to when I was with you

The question of who left whom is important because of Line 5, “나보고 떠나가라고 할땐 언제고”. The “보고” in that is just another way of saying “한테”, leaving us with literally “To me-ordered [me] to leave-when you [ordered me]-some day”; not as confusing as it looks though, as it’s just “When you told me to leave someday”. Or so I thought, but in that case the placing of the “언제고” would be different: “”나보고 언제고 떠나가라고 할땐”. And it couldn’t be “Someday, when you told me to leave” either, as the subject marker attached to “when” – “할 땐” – makes that impossible.

I despaired then, and it didn’t help that I thought it was the other person that left the singer(s) either. My wife came to the rescue though, by saying that although the dictionary says “”언제고” is “someday”, it’s also used for emphasizing that someone said something to you, and not the other way round. She also told me that that meant I could omit the “when” too, and hence you the final result “You are the one who told me to leave”.

That still leaves the question of who left whom though, especially as the next line was “After saying that, why did you only treat me like I was crazy?”. My best guess then, is that the ex-girlfriend told the singer(s) to leave, and when she didn’t, the ex-girlfriend left instead, especially given the last line of the song which you’ll see in a moment.

Next is the chorus again though, so I’ll skip ahead to the next verse. And if you haven’t been listening to the remix version, then I highly recommend you at least listen to this section from 2:42 (3:03 in the original), as it’s not for nothing that I said back in May that “the background melodies at that point raise my spirits from virtually any depths, and make me feel like I can conquer the world, even after probably 200+ times of listening to the song”!

I miss you I need you 꿈 속에선 아직도 I’m with you

I miss you (miss you) I need you (need you)

시간을 되돌려 Wanna kiss you again ma boy

맘이 너무 아픈데 견디기 괴로운데

너는 어디서 뭘하니 (나 울었어 참 많이)

너 없인 난 못살아 내게로 돌아와줘 날 떠나가지마

I miss you, I need you, You’re still in my dreams, I’m with you

I miss you (miss you) I need you (need you)

I wish I could go back to then, Wanna kiss you again ma boy

My heart aches, enduring it is so painful

What are you doing now, where are you (I cried so much)

I can’t live without you, Please come back to me, Please don’t leave me

And finally there is the chorus again. Again then, I hope you can all enjoy the song much better now, and if you’re a fan of After School then you may also like to check out my translations of the lyrics to Ah! (아!) and Bang! (뱅!) too. And the Song Lyrics & Translations category in general of course; alas, there’s only 1 song by another artist in there as I type this, but I promise to add many more soon!

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아직도 그대를 잊지못해

I never forget boy

I never forget boy

헤어진지 벌써 몇년이 지났는지 몰라

그대 생각만 하면 자꾸 눈물만 흘러

오늘따라 그렇게 네가 보고플까

창밖의 빗소리가 맘을 흔들어놔

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어

정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어

이렇게 혼자 아파

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어

정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어

이렇게 혼자 아파

항상 너만의 장미가

되려던 맘을 아니

이제 조각난 사랑의 마침표가


눈물이 밀려와

메마른 입술이 젖어

이제 어떡해

그댈 잊을 없어

너때문에 많이도 울었어 (매일밤 )

너때문에 많이도 웃었어(그대 때문에)

너때문에 사랑을 믿었어(woo boy)

너때문에 너때문에 모두 잃었어

정말 답답답해



너없는 세상이

말을 씹어놓고

자존심 짖밟아놓고

맘을 찢어놓고

나를 떠나가

그날도 비가 왔었지

한참을 그댄 말없이 나를

바라보기만 했어

흔들리는 눈빛과

애써 짓는 어색한 미소가

이별을 얘기해줘

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어

정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어

이렇게 혼자 아파

사랑하지 말걸 그랬어

정주지 말걸 그랬어

붙잡지 말걸 그랬어

이렇게 혼자 아파

나보고 떠나가라고 할땐 언제고

떠난다니까 어쩌고

미친사람 취급만

정말 힘들어 (보이 슬로우 다운)

아무런 말도 못한 울어

cause i want to stay

next to you my love is true

wanna go back to when i was with you

너때문에 많이도 울었어 (매일 )

너때문에 많이도 웃었어 (그대 때문에)

너때문에 사랑을 믿었어 (woo boy)

너때문에 너때문에 모두다 잃었어

정말 답답답해



없는 세상이

내말을 씹어놓고

자존심 짓밟아놓고

맘을 찢어 놓고

나를 떠나가

I miss you i need you

속에선 아직도

i’m with you

I miss you (miss you)

I need you (need you)

시간을 되돌려

wanna kiss you again ma boy

맘이 너무 아픈데

견디기 괴로운데

너는 어디서 뭘하니

(나울었어 참많이)

없인 못살아

내게로 돌아와줘


너때문에 많이도 울었어

너때문에 많이도 웃었어

(많이도 웃었어)

너때문에 사랑을 믿었어

너때문에 너때문에 모두 잃었어

(너때문에 )

정말 답답해



없는 세상이

말을 씹어놓고

자존심 짓밟아놓고

맘을 찢어 놓고

나를 떠나가



Ah! (아!) by After School (애프터스쿨): Lyrics & Translation

After School’s (애프터스쿨) debut track from last year, of which I again include both DJ Areia’s remix above and the original below for you to enjoy while I explain the lyrics. But note that the remix is not actually trance this time, but rather the disco-like “vibrating analog synthesizer sounds and the helicopter-like basslines” of the late-1980s and early-1990s, so please do give it a try if you’re normally put off by dance music.

As for the music video itself, its theme is a little strange: schoolgirls in skimpy clothing coming on to their increasingly flustered young teacher, whom they are very happy to have ‘accidentally’ burst into their locker room later? It sounds…nay, looks like Japanese manga, and reminds me that student-teacher relationships (including dating and marriage) are a common trope of mainstream Korean popular culture (see here, here, and here for example), which only serves to both glamorize and normalize them.

Still, overly hormonal school students do sometimes have crushes on their teachers, and there’s nothing wrong in itself with portraying those in a music video. But while this one does obviously cater more to men’s sexual fantasies than to women’s (would having the group members vying for the affections of a handsome male student instead appeal more to women?), the lyrics demonstrate that there is much more to the song than meets the eye…

Again, for reasons outlined last time, I’ll provide very literal translations:

이렇게 둘이, 너와 단 둘이
언제나 둘이, 달콤한 이야길 하고파 둘이
둘이, 오늘밤 둘이, 사랑해 우리 둘이 둘이 baby

This way the two of us, with you only the two of us

All the time the two of us, I want us to tell a sweet story

The two of us, tonight the two of us, I love you we the two of us the two of us baby

“단” in the first line confused me for a while: it has a dozen meanings, including “bunch” or “bundle” which would (sort of) go with “the two of us”, but ultimately the meaning “only” is the most appropriate here. After that, the “~ㄹ 고파 하다” verb ending in the second line was the first time I’ve ever come across it personally, nor is it in any of my grammar books, but my wife says it simply means “~하고 싶다”, or “want to”.

잘빠진 다리와 외모 너는 내게 반하지
그대를 향한 윙크 한번 내게 빠지지
니 높은 콧대, 내 몸맨 어때
내 앞에선 니 모든게 무너지고 말껄

You have fallen in love with my slender legs and outward appearance

If I wink towards you one time you will fall (further)

The bridge of your nose is high (you have high standards)

How is my body?

Everything about you is going to crumble in front of me anyway

It feels a little hypocritical of me to critique other translations of songs here, as I very much rely on them to try and understand anything I might be having difficulty with myself, and especially because the translators may lack my increasingly annoyed Korean wife to constantly ask questions of in the next room. Nevertheless, those of whomever DJ Areia uses in his remixes (Yeeun2Grace perhaps?) really do seem a little sloppy sometimes (recall the big mistake in the 5th line of Bang!), and certainly disguise the subtlety of the original.

Take the first line for instance: “빠지다” has 13 meanings according to my dictionary, but “sexy” isn’t one of them; rather “잘빠진 다리” are “legs that have lost a lot of weight”, or “slender”. Sure, you could argue that this is just being picky, but it’s just as plausible to think that there is something culturally significant in the fact that “legs that have lost a lot of weight” was said rather than “섹시한다리” for instance, or more literally “sexy legs”. Also, “외모” is not “face”, but is actually the “outward appearance” of your entire body.

Next, putting line 4 as “I know you’ll crumble in my presence” completely ignores the “모든게” (or “모든것” + “이”) in it, or “everything”, and although “I know you’ll fall for me” is fine I guess, the verb ending “~고 말껄” (annoyingly not in any of my grammar books) means more “[the verb] is going to happen anyway”. Hence “everything about you is revealed in front of me” seems much better, as per the translation available on the AfterSchoolPlay fansite (registration required)

Finally, not a translation mistake, but in line 2 annoyingly the meaning of “빠지다” is different to that in line 1; and learners of English complain about the multiple meanings of words!

사랑한다 말만 말고 보여 주겠니
나도 니가 맘에 들어 춤을 추겠니
너와 난 왠지, 자꾸만 왠지
통할 것만 같아, 너를 사랑 할것 같아

Don’t just say you love me, aren’t you going to show me?

I like you too, aren’t you going to dance for me?

You and me for some reason, only again and again for some reason

I think we will only be connected, I think I will love you

My wife tells me that the verb ending “~겠니” in line 1 and 2, again not in any of my grammar books(!), means “aren’t you going to [verb] for me?”, So where on Earth “If I didn’t like you would I dance up on you like this?” below comes from I have no idea, no matter how appealing the thought!


짧은 시간 가까워진 우리 둘 사이
그대와 난 이제 하늘이 맺어준 사이
두말 할 필요 없어, 다가와 내게 어서
조명이 나를 번쩍 비추면
그댈 유혹하는 내 눈빛이 뜨거워지지
다른 남자들은 니가 너무 부러워지지
말은 안해도 난 알잖아 표현 안해도 다 알아
빨개진 니 얼굴이 다 말을 해주잖아

In just a short time we have become close

We are a match made in heaven

We don’t need to say it twice, come to me

If a light suddenly shines on me

It heats up the light of my eyes that is seductive to you

And other men become very jealous of you

You don’t have to say it or show it in your expression, I know everything

You red face shows it all

Not much to say here actually, other than both the translators at Yeeun2Grace and AfterSchoolPlay separated the above into two verses between lines 4 and 5. But I think that was mistaken, as line 4 ends in “비추면” or “if the light shines (on me)”, which is why the singer’s seductive eyes light up in the line 5. Lacking that connector, then I think that their own versions of line 4 and line 5 – “I’ve been illuminated by the light… You see my burning seductive eyes” and “When the lightning strikes me…My eyes which are putting him into temptation are becoming hotter”  respectively – don’t really make any sense.



After school in the house, 모두 같이 make it bounce
들어봐 지금 내 말, 오늘밤 tonight
다가와 말못했던 얘기, 우리 둘만의 작고 작은 속삭임
그래 넌 지금 날 너무 원하지, 가벼운건 싫어 내 모습이
다른 장소 after party, 걱정마 이런 내 스타일에
오늘밤은 후회안해, 내 맘을 뺏어봐 baby boy


Na na na~

After School in the house, everybody together make it bounce

Hear my words now, this night tonight

Come to me, and all the things you (we?) couldn’t say, all the little whispers we said only to each other

Yes, you really want me now, I (you?) don’t want just light stuff

Different place after party, don’t worry this is my style

Don’t regret tonight, try to take my heart baby boy

Again, the Korean seems pretty straightforward here. On a final note then, given how targeted it is towards male audiences I was very surprised not to find any screenshots of the music video either via Korean or English search engines, leaving me with the onerous task of producing my own. Despite the visuals however, the lyrics in this debut song are clearly just as much about girl-power and being confident and assertive as they were in Bang! a year later, so the possibility remains open that After School may actually have a sizable female fan base (and I rather hope that they do).

In light of that then, you imagine what I thought of three members’ most recent song in which they pour on the aegyo (애교), basically looking and behaving like 12 year-old girls. Like I said in the comments to a post about it at SeoulBeats:

I’d have to give it a thumbs down. Not so much for the music in itself, but because I’ve always liked After School for the assertive, confident, girl-power theme of their songs, and so this “candy coated aegyo overload” as you well put it really seems to dilute their brand.

And most other commenters there agreed with me. But what do you think of it? Feel free to disagree with me of course, and diversity is the spice of life and all, even for music groups. But still…


As always, thanks in advance for pointing out any mistakes I may have made or providing alternative translations!

Open Thread #8: Superfuturism & Anitiquity

( “Fade to Red” by StudioQube. Source: deviantART)

Thoughts for the weekend, from boingboing:

Marilyn from National Geographic sez, “I think you’ll love these Shanghai photos by Fritz Hoffmann in March National Geo. It’s hard to believe such a superfuturistic megacity also looks like a village from 100 years ago.”

What she said. There are lots of places in the world where seamless high-tech and ancient cobblestones exist side by side, but I’ve never been anywhere in which you can go from one to the other so quickly as Shanghai. One moment you’re on the set of Blade Runner, then you turn a corner and you’re in a historical drama, with no sign of glass-and-steel in sight.

And of course most Korean cities are some of those places, and perhaps Seoul in particular. Something surprisingly absent from the discussion at boingboing though, is that in many senses such places can be considered ecotones, a geographical term for the zone where 2 ecosystems meet, and all the much richer and more diverse than either because of the ensuing interaction.

Seriously, nearly 10 years after I arrived in Korea, I still love wandering around such districts occasionally: the constant juxtapositions to be experienced there remind of how I felt when I first came. Unfortunately however, Korea’s misguided attempts at “modernization” means that they may not be around much longer, so make sure to enjoy them while you still can.

To end on a more positive note then, here is my latest favorite K-pop song, or again my new favorite Areia remix at least: Because of you (너 때문에), by After School (애프터스쿨; download the MP3 here). Clearly portraying a lesbian relationship despite the ostensibly heterosexual lyrics, I’ll definitely be analyzing it in depth at some point, but until then I’d be more interested in hearing your own thoughts. Enjoy!^^

Update: And before I forget, here’s a remix of Tell Me Your Wish (소원을 말해봐) by Girls’ Generation (소녀시대) also. But by a different DJ this time, and in my opinion a much deeper, warmer version of the original that makes it actually worth listening to, rather than the song merely being a means to provide some eye candy and indirect advertising via the music video. Skeptics, try the first 15 seconds at least, and if you don’t like those then you simply have no soul(!); everyone else, download the MP3 here.


Open Thread #7: Candy to my Ears

(Source: Nbbang)

Sorry, but it had to happen eventually: I’ve fallen in love with K-pop.

Well, with 3 more remixes from Greek trance DJ Areia to be precise. With apologies for dispensing with my normal analysis of the songs on this occasion, but I can’t remember the last time that I liked new music so much that I’ve lost sleep listening to it over the next few days.

Seriously, this music makes me feel like a smitten teenager, and hopefully it will some of you too.

The first track is My Ear’s Candy by Baek Ji-young, from her mini-album EGO that came out in August last year (the MV also features Ok Taec-yeon of 2PM). Curious about her music after recently writing about her soju ad, this is the gateway video got me hooked:

But not so much because of the cinematography and costumes, although I confess I have always loved that look with the white wig. More because Baek Ji-young looks like she’s genuinely enjoying herself, which makes a refreshing change from the forced smiles of Girls’ Generation in Oh! for instance, or alternatively the seeming disdain for the viewer that U.S./Barbadian singer Rihanna displays in Shut Up and Drive that SM Entertainment has been accused of plagiarizing.

Granted, Rihanna’s persona is appropriate for the title of the song, and I’m not so naive as to not be aware that Baek Ji-young’s may be just as carefully choreographed for this one also. But still, she does look like someone great to go clubbing with ;)

As for the remix, arguably it is very similar to the original (as is the next song too), so you may well be wondering what the point is. But there are differences, and which, as all trance aficionados are well aware, unfortunately you’re likely to be completely missing if you’re listening via your tinny computer speakers. Please try headphones instead, and you may be pleasantly surprised!

Next is Like the First Time,  by T-ara (say “tiara”). Put off by their simply atrocious Bo Peep Bo Peep (보핍보핍) last year though, and which even Areia’s remix could not save, then I’d never have suspected that this one would become my new favorite:

As happens to many viewers of K-pop these days, you might be very surprised to learn that one member of the group, Park Ji-yeon, is still only 16 (as is one girl in the next video too, but she looks her age). But that’s a long discussion I already had earlier this month; instead, consider this assessment of the of the the dancing and clothing in the video by Areia himself, as it partially inspired the topic of one of next week’s posts, and I’m very curious to hear your own opinions of it before I start writing:

The girls are supercute throughout the video and I find them very sexy at the scenes with the black dresses. The way they slowly move to the melody just kills my heartbeat every single time. To the untrained western eyes the video might just seem a bit cute or even silly. “It’s just some girls with short black dresses trying to look good, so what?” my overexposed-to-western-sexiness friends back home would say. But there is a huge difference here and this difference is very representative of the gap between the eastern and western stereotypes. It’s not okay to express too directly in Korea and that leaves you with only one acceptable weapon to tease your target: charm. And this is exactly what these girls are doing with their moves in this video – I’m not referring to the cute scenes. Whoever did the choreography and the dresses knew very well what they were doing. And the girls of course have done an excellent job at being charming. When I watch some sexy western video clip (let’s say Buttons from Pussycat Dolls) it hits my eyes. But this charm here hits me straight in my heart – I feel like wanting to hug the girls not…. Perhaps that’s the reason I’m into Asian pop in the first place.

Finally, here is Please Don’t Go by CL and Minzy (the 16 year-old) of 2NE1 (투애니원; say “to anyone” or, confusedly, “21”). No music video being made, then this one of a performance of theirs is unremarkable, but this remix at least is virtually unrecognizable from the original song, and in my opinion a vast improvement:

Update: For reasons explained here, unfortunately Areia had to delete that video, but the MP3 is still available for download.

Click on the titles of all the remixes for links to where you can download MP3s of them, and detailed explanations of what when into making them. I hope you’ve enjoyed them, but if not then thank you for bearing with me, and please remember that this is still *cough* an open thread, where you can raise anything on your mind.

Speaking of which, as of yesterday I am now officially in the job market again, and so would very much appreciate any readers help in getting jobs teaching adults in either Busan or Seoul, or of course anything not involving teaching at all. Unfortunately with having a family to support then I’ll need at least 3 million won a month before moving to Seoul especially, but hopefully that won’t prove too difficult?

Wish me luck!

Oh? Oh…!

( Source )

Call me old-fashioned, but although music videos can have a huge effect on my enjoyment of songs, I still try to judge them on their own merits.

By that criteria, all of Girls’ Generation’s hits have fallen flat for me, no matter how photogenic the girls are. But then I found a remix of their latest hit Oh! by the Greek trance DJ “Areia”, and I immediately fell in love with it.

Like he says on his blog, he put a lot of work into it. And it shows.

True, it’s actually the only one of his K-pop remixes that I like, that of Abracadabra (아브라카다브라) by the Brown Eyed Girls being particularly disappointing. But I’ve only listened to a handful so far, and his abilities are definitely improving over time. To any other Korea-based trance fans out there, frequently lamenting at how something so popular in Japan could be so completely absent from the cultural radar here, I’m sure you’ll be just as happy as I was to have found him!

For the lyrics (and a translation) to the song, see Yeeun2Grace here, and if you’re interested and haven’t seen it already, then this video (via Extra! Korea) makes a pretty compelling case that the song has been plagiarized from U.S./Barbadian singer Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive. If you’re disappointed in my not providing my usual critical analysis on this occasion though, then I apologize(!), and by all means read precisely that at Appears.

But if you’d still like to watch the original video, albeit now with the trance remix, then I do understand:

Click on the video itself to be taken to Ariea’s YouTube page, which has a playlist of his other K-pop remixes.

Update: There’s been a lot of speculation in the comments as to why the video’s concept is of cheerleaders hoping to get the attention of American footballers, simply bizarre considering that the sport has virtually no following here. So I posed the question to my two classes earlier today, and the combination of their explanations proves to be quite compelling.

First, my morning class mentioned the success of the movie Bring it On in 2000, particularly the song Hey Mickey from the soundtrack, and this struck a chord with me because men who would have been in their late-teens and early-twenties back then were precisely the demographic that SM Entertainment created Girls’ Generation for (indeed, Girls’ Generation has performed the song many times). While that may just be coincidence though, they also said that high school footballers dating cheerleaders have been a staple of American movies and dramas they’ve watched ever since, and they were at a loss for an equivalent in Korean pop culture.

My afternoon class disagreed that Bring It On was popular however, and this is borne out by the box office figures for that year. Instead, they pointed out that all Korean cheerleaders are adults, and so although the youngest members of the group are in fact turning 20 this year, to have presented them as Korean cheerleaders pining after Korean baseball or basketball players would have clashed with their image of being precocious teenagers. Recall that the song itself is about unrequited love for an older male too, which the exaggerated youth of the women singing it would help to emphasize.

In short, cheerleaders for high school American footballers were the only possibility because there are no teenage cheerleaders in Korea.

But my two classes’ explanations are not mutually exclusive of course, nor with some of the alternative explanations posted in the comments section here either. While I would like to corroborate them though, unfortunately analysis like that is severely lacking on the Korean internet, so that might have to wait until I investigate next month’s music magazines.

Meanwhile, I’m quite convinced personally, but what do you think? Please let me know, and perhaps I can get a dialogue going with my students!

Update 2: Despite 1 billion won (US$860,000) being spent on Girls’ Generations stage costumes last year, apparently there was little money available for making some props for this music video, so some store-bought ones with the Iowa Hawkeyes logo were used instead. You can just imagine the reaction of Hawkeyes fans