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An online magazine about Korean culture, food and hallyu based in Toronto, Canada

K-pop Lyrics (케이팝 가사)

Hey guys, I’m back! And guess what I’m going to talk about today? Well, I guess you already know from the title – K-pop lyrics! I’m going to take some of my favourite songs and explain to you what their lyrics mean – well, at least parts of the lyrics. First of all k-pop lyrics tend to fall into general categories, some of which are: 1) love songs; 2) songs that pump up the party; 3) songs that generally make no sense whatsoever.

Category One: Love Songs!

Some of my favourite K-pop love songs are: Beast’s Fiction (비스트의 Fiction); SHINee’s Romantic (샤이니의 너 아니면 안되는 걸), and 2AM’s 죽어도 못보내 (Even if I Die I Can’t Send You Away). Of course, there are many more that I love, and it was extremely difficult for me to choose only three, but I want to keep this post short and sweet (or at least not exceedingly long) and so I had to choose a small amount. Let’s take a look at some of my favourite lyrics in each of these songs – the lyrics that really drew me in and made me fall in love with them.

Fiction – Beast (비스트)
아직 난 널 잊지 못하고 모든 걸 다 믿지 못하고 이렇게 널 보내지 못하고 오늘도 – I still can’t forget you and I can’t believe everything. I can’t send you away like this, even today.
다시 만들어볼게 우리 이야기 끝나지 않게 – I will re-write our conversations without an end.
내 가슴 속에 끝나지 않을 이야길 쓰고 있어 – I’m writing our never-ending conversations inside my heart.

The reason I love this song is because the overall meaning is that the man cannot have the woman, yet he desires her. It’s “fiction” because it’s a story that he is creating in his mind and in his heart – what he wishes would happen. I can relate to this, and I think many people can. When you have one-sided love (짝사랑) chances are you write conversations with that person in your mind, and you imagine many situations with them. Since I’m a writer, I actually write them out sometimes, as Beast says they do in the song.

Romantic (너 아니면 안되는 걸) – SHINee (샤이니)
너 아니면 안되는 걸 – It’s you or nothing.
또 다른 사랑을 할 수도 있다고 난 믿었었는데 가슴 안에 너는 낙인처럼 지울 수가 없어 어떡해? – I really believed that I could love again but you are branded in my heart and I can’t erase you. What should I do?
다시는 너를 아프게 하지는 않을래 – I don’t want to hurt you again.

I love this song because it is literally very romantic. The man is apologizing for hurting the girl when they were together, and wants nothing more than for them to get back together. They seem to be together in pictures, but they are not now. He thought he could just forget her and move on, but he can’t. Again, since this song is so relatable, I love it.

죽어도 못보내 (Even if I Die I Can’t Send You Away) – 2AM
어려도 아픈 건 똑같아 – Even though I’m young, my pain is the same (as anyone else’s).
세상을 잘 모른다고 아픈 걸 모르진 않아 – I don’t know the world but that doesn’t mean I don’t know pain.
죽어도 못 보내 내가 어떻게 널 보내? – Even if I die I can’t send you away, how can I send you away?
정말 갈거라면 거짓말을 해 내일 다시 만나자고 웃으면서 보자고 헤어지잔 말은 농담이라고 – If you’re really going to leave please lie to me and say let’s meet tomorrow and smile while we see each other. Please tell me the words “let’s break up” are just a joke.

Category Two: Songs That Pump Up the Party!

These are the kinds of songs people love singing in Karaoke (노래방) and love jumping up and down to while singing them. They are meant to be danced to and have a good time to. Some of my favourites are: Big Bang’s Fantastic Baby and G-Dragon’s Crayon (크래용).

Fantastic Baby – Big Bang (빅뱅)
여기 붙어라 모두 모여라 we gonna party like 리리리랄랄라 맘을 열어라 머릴 비워라 불을 지펴라 – Stick it here, everyone gather! We gonna party like lelele lalala empty your head! Light the fire!
다 같이 놀자, 다 같이 뛰자, 다 같이 돌자, 다 같이 가자 – Let’s all play together, let’s all run together, let’s all turn together, let’s all go together. (My professor actually told me that this part of the song comes from a children’s song in Korea).

크래용 (Crayon) – G-Dragon
머리 어깨 무릎 발 – Head, shoulders, knees, feet (yes, like the song from everyone’s childhood! Except swagged up!!)
월화수목금토일 난 바빠 오빠 나빠 – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday I’m busy, I’m bad.
네 남자 친구 지.못.미 넌 마치 닮았지 내 이상형 so give me some – Your boyfriend is sorry that he can’t protect you. You really resemble my ideal type so give me some.
노래를 부르며 즐겁게 같이 춤을 춰 링가링가링 파트너 바꿔 – Sing a song and dance happily, ling-a-ling-a-ling switch partners.

Category Three: Songs That Generally Don’t Make Sense

These songs usually come from SM, and most specifically f(x). These songs do make some sort of sense, but upon first hearing the song it is almost impossible to figure out what they mean – perhaps because they have fairly laboured metaphors and are linked by very small connections. I will offer up one example, as my post is getting pretty long:

Pinocchio - f(x)
나는 의사 선생님은 아냐 그냥 널 알고 싶어 – I am not a doctor or a teacher; I just want to know you.
누가 봐도 넌 완벽한 걸 너는 다시 태어날거야 – Whoever sees you thinks you’re perfect. You will be born again.
머리부터 발끝까지 스캔해 – Scan me from head to toe.

As you can see from the lyrics I’ve given they seem a little disjointed. I realize I took them out of context but the song name is also “Pinocchio” so you think there would be more reference to lying – although they do make reference to the wooden doll and, I assume, the “being born again” should be referring to being born as a real boy. However, they seem to be fairly laboured metaphors and so it is difficult to fully understand.

That’s it for me today! If there are any song lyrics, dances, groups, agencies, etc that you’d like me to discuss please leave a comment under my post and I’ll try to address those suggestions in my next post(s).

다 같이 가자! Let’s all go together! ^^

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