Song of the Week – 10 March 2014
This will be a tad different. Yes, I am picking a song, just one, for the week that’s stood out to me. But this time around, I’m also picking out an album for
the week month.. Yes, an entire album. I’ve mentioned this album now in 2 posts and it’s officially been an album I’ve been listening to nonstop…on repeat. It’s actually kind of rare for me to listen to an album like that these days. Normally I just put all of my massive collection of music on shuffle and let the dice fall where they may.
When I was in middle school and high school, I had “homework music” – a physical CD (this was before the heyday of digital music and MP3 players, lol) that should last as long as it would take me to do a normal workload of homework. It started with country artist Collin Raye’s Greatest Hits. Then there was Garth Brooks Double Live, followed by Clay Walker’s Greatest Hits, and when I was older, Nickelback’s Silver Side Up. Oh, and I can’t forget Bon Jovi’s Crossroads and Bounce. [LOL, this album list really showcases my country and 80s hairband roots thanks to my family.]
In college when I was a freshman holing myself up in my room all by my lonesome for a semester, I repeatedly played the Daredevil soundtrack. You can say that soundtrack is the official soundtrack to my first (and only that will never be written to my satisfaction) book. Then there was RENT. I have both the original Broadway cast and the movie soundtracks. They saved me while spending arduous amounts of time on my digital art classes. You want a class that will consume lots of hours? Take an art class. You spend more time working on pieces than do anything else…except for writing your senior thesis perhaps…nothing like 30+ pages on Frank Herbert’s sci fi classic Dune and conscience evolution. I’m sure people would find my 6 weeks of researching and writing fascinating (yes, I’m totally being sarcastic right now).
Since I’ve graduated and been working…I really haven’t been giving any CD a proper listen all the way through…on repeat…over and over again. Before I had a car that has an actual MP3 player hookup, I made a whole lotta mixed CDs with favorites off of various albums by various artists. I think the exception might be a few drama OSTs (like for You’re Beautiful) and Alice Nine’s Complete Collection. I think another exception was The Breeze’s Alive album released last fall. When I learned it was available in the US iTunes store, I immediately bought it and listened to it several times over. This is partly because Google Play’s shuffle feature for music is actually pretty crappy. It only shuffles so many songs before constantly repeating them, lol, but that’s okay because I really like The Breeze and their music.
Thus…since I immediately bought this album after watching one live performance by the band on YouTube…the fact that I’ve been listening to it repeatedly definitely says something.
Okay, this has turned out to be much longer intro than I anticipated. Anywho, on to actually talking about the SOTW and AOTW.
Song of the week: ONE OK ROCK’s “Clock Strikes” from their sixth album Jinsei Kakete Boku Wa released last March, but I still included it on my January recommendations this year because I just discovered the song this year. I’ve always heard of ONE OK ROCK, but never really listened to their music until last year. WHY did I wait so long? I am in love with this band. They will be taking part in the Vans Warped tour this year. The nearest concert to where I live is in Indiana… I really wish I had the money to travel and go see them live. I’m fairly certain I might’ve been able to twist nichan’s arm into going with me if we could both afford it. Oh well. Such is life. I don’t think I’ve been to an actual concert…since Bon Jovi came to my state and played at some amphitheater which probably would be in middle school or high school…yikes.
My album of the
week month is Korean band 엑티비티 (Activity)’s 너 날 떠난 이 자리 [Neo Nal Tteonan I Jari]. Note that I haven’t studied music, and thus have no background or technical terms to use. I can just tell you what I like about the songs. This album contains 4 tracks that are more like ballads with some rock edges and 2 tracks that are more straight up rock songs. Even having majored in writing…I wish I was able to be more eloquent when talking about songs and why I like them. Alas, I’m just not that good at it for some reason.
I have to say this about Lee Eun Su’s vocals. He is amazing. How he goes back and forth from his normal tone, to the softer high pitch, to that rock growl…daebak. I really like the dynamic songs on this album that utilize techniques that I can’t describe since I really don’t have any background (as I’ve said above) in music.
Track 1 – 그리워서 그리워 [Geuriwoseo Geuriwo]
What a beautiful track. I really do like vocalist Lee Eun Su’s voice. I like how after the repetition of 살아줘 [salajwo – I don’t have the lyrics so I think that’s the word they are saying] the music comes to a complete stop and after a brief moment of silence the vocalist chimes in with the plaintive “Geuriwoseo Geuriwo” with only the piano/keyboard joining in for the next few measures. And then the other instruments kick in again. After a little bit of a softer beginning, towards the second repetition of “Geuriwoseo Geuriwo” the pace and sound picks up. We also get that more harder rock edge in the vocalist’s voice at certain points in the latter part of the song that I really like and I think it really does add to the emotions of the lyrics. Then we have another brief silence and the piano/keyboard kicks back in to end the song on a soft note.
Track 2 – 너 날 떠난 이 자리 [Neo Nal Tteonan I Jari]
In this song you get more of a dynamic sound with the vocalist going back and forth between a more normal range and a higher range. About half way through the vocals get louder with that plaintive rock edge before going into a soft repetition of “Saranghaeyo”…I kind of lost track of how many times that word is repeated. But the repetition strangely doesn’t bore and the last repeat ends with the vocal volumes going up and that rock tone making its way back. And we end with the repeated phrase “다시 내게 돌아와” [dasi naege dorawa] which is a phrase I know! He’s repeatedly asking the person to come back to him. And this is sung in the rock tone of voice before going back to a soft repetition of “I love you” (Saranghaeyo). Again, not having the lyrics, I can’t really say with 100% certainty, but you know this is a song pleading for a lost lover to come back after they’ve left as the person still loves them.
Track 3 – 행복한 눈물만 [Haengbokhan Nunmulman]
I think this song has one of the most addictive/catchy choruses of the songs on the album. Again, a soft start with a piano intro, and then it picks up pace, goes soft again, and picks up volume and pace again. I must say that this song just might be my favorite on this album, but it’s really hard to pick a favorite for some reason. I love all of these songs for various reasons and just can’t really pinpoint one that stands above the entire collection on the album. I can understand words hear and there, but not enough to understand the overall meaning. I really should practice my Korean more. Again, towards the end we get more of the rock edge to the vocals. For some reason, I really like the hard edge on the last “ireoghe” (literally translates into “like this”). I really want to hazard a guess about the song’s meaning to be wishing someone to only have happy tears after a painful moment (in a relationship), but my understanding of Korean and the lack of physical lyrics for the song makes that rather hard to determine.
Track 4 – Get Up
Yes, the title is English. I think this song is the only one on the whole album that uses English, and it doesn’t use all that much, so no complaints from me on grammar, pronunciation, usage, etc. This is a song with a funky edge that I really can’t define genre-wise…because I suck at stuff like that. The vocals of this song are sang with that harder rock edge throughout the entire song. This song, for whatever reason, is the song that reminds me a bit of Korean band Axiz and their song “Why Don’t You Give It Up”…they really don’t sound anything alike…but I think it could be because of the vocals of both songs…a similar singing style for the songs, perhaps? Or it could be just because I draw weird connections between things that have no connection?
Track 5 – 바라본다 [Barabonda]
This is a song where we don’t really get any parts with that rockier edge to the vocals. That’s not a bad thing. I think we also start the song with the lone guitar before the other instruments kick in. I’m really interested in the overall lyrics and meaning behind this song. Oh, I am with all the others, too, but I’m curious in particular with the phrases I can pick up. Does he want that person to actually look at him, look back at him? Is the phrase “needed person” referencing what he wishes to be or the fact that the person is someone he needs?
Track 6 – Horror
Oddly enough, like track 4, this song is fairly short compared to the other tracks (Get Up is the shortest clocking in at around 3 minutes). This doesn’t have the funkier sound like “Get Up” – this one is probably the most straight up rock tune on the album as a whole. The end of this song seem a bit abrupt…and do I detect a hint of violin at the end or some stringed instrument that isn’t a guitar or bass guitar? In “Get Up” and this song the bass line really stands out. For some reason, it’s harder for me to pick out the words I recognize in this song, but I do understand one thing at least “saeg ppalggang” [or is it romanized saek ppalkkang?] which is referencing the color red. Saeg being color, ppalggang being red. And I’m not 100% certain if what I hear as “ara” is really “horror” being sung. Because I swear I hear something like “neo na ara” – but I’m probably wrong.
Again, totally in love with this album. After doing three posts talking about it…I think I can stop gushing over how wonderful it is, lol. I hope you enjoy this band as much as I am. And I hope you enjoy ONE OK ROCK’s song as much as I have been as well. And if you are in the US, check out their tour stops: vanswarpedtour.com/bands/one-ok-rock. And if you happen to be in Korea…or planning a trip to Korea, check out Activity’s official Facebook page, they post gig updates: www.facebook.com/BandActivity!