There’s a very romantic quote by Paul Coelho, in his book By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept: “Love like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy.” How apt a visual this is for the month of love, no? Yet for those who walk alone, rain provides a camouflage for the tears that never seem to end. For such people, I dedicate this edition of K-pop 5s to you.
Just kidding, I don’t mean to be dark. The metaphorical connection between love and rain is a common one, and hey, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Strangely, as romantic as rain can be, while trying to look for appropriate songs I instead found myself drowning in less positive emotions. According to many K-pop songs, rain is loneliness, heartache, the perfect setting for regrets and expressions of a struggling heart. Nonetheless, I really like what I found and decided to share them with you this month’s edition of K-pop 5s. I hope all you couples have a great Valentine’s though. As for the rest of us, have fun on Netflix’s romantic comedy section.
B.A.P – ‘Rain Sound 빗소리’
(Courtesy of TS Entertainment)
Album: ‘One Shot’
Released February 2013
Rain to B.A.P is? The sound of rain thundering on the roof and the whistles of the wind outside is a reminder of a lost love, as it first blossomed during a rainy day. It’s a double-edged sword – the memories are so painful they intimidate sleep, yet even if it is just for a few minutes, to slip away into them is a haven from reality.
When this six-member group debuted in 2012, they quickly became known for their powerful image and heart-thumping tempos with a hip-hop undertone. Then again, who didn’t back then? Truth be told, B.A.P didn’t really catch my eye until their second year of activities, when they began venturing down the road of ballads and morphed into more a mellow sound. They kicked off 2013 with this track, and what a refresher it was indeed. Though I’m not really feeling the video (too dramatic, choice of aesthetics are too strong), right off the bat you hear the beautiful strums of the guitar, the must-have element for any song intended to pull at one’s heartstrings. I also like the simplicity of the lyrics, which in itself is the efficacy.
4MINUTE – ‘Cold Rain 추운 비’
(Courtesy of Cube Entertainment)
Album: ‘Cold Rain 추운 비 Digital Single’
Released January 2015
Rain to 4MINUTE is? Walking in the rain alone with a broken heart is a convenience –no, it’s “perfect” – as it gives permission for sadness and anger to take over and provides a disguise for the tears that fall.
4MINUTE is similar to B.A.P in that they rarely (if not ever) promote with a ballad. ‘Cold Rain’ was another pleasant surprise and a sight for sore eyes as the ladies steered away from their usual colourfulness, abandoned all traces of ‘cute-yet-sexy’ and went stone-cold solemn. Yet they look and sound absolutely regal. Immediately following the first run through I became a fan of the song’s delicate sound, as well as the music video’s colors, its softness, the wardrobe concept, the visuals in general; and I’m also loving the post-production effects, especially the smudge vignette.
Purchase: Not yet available on iTunes (why??!)
BEAST – ‘On Rainy Days 비가 오는날엔’
(Courtesy of SBS Korea)
Album: ‘Fiction and Fact’
Released: May 2011
Rain to BEAST is? As the lyrics observe the rain falling outside, the heart is falling as well, into a seemingly endless cycle of denial and reminiscing, a “trap of memories”. It doesn’t help that too many drinks were had, killing all sense of willingness to distract from the thoughts of a broken heart. But what can one do “about something that is already over,” about “regretting it too late”? Then again, perhaps when the rain stops this all will too.
This is hands down my favorite BEAST song of all time. Thus I apologize wholeheartedly for being unable to find an official something better than this abridged performance. Anyways, the guitar is back, this time with a classical flavor. BEAST has many ballads but rarely anything with the same sort of acoustic vibe – not just the guitar but also the hollow sounds of whatever hand drums those are. The song itself sounds like a live jam session, which gives me more reason to detest how they ended up actually performing this on stage. Static, conventional, and so boyband-ish it kills the spirit of the song (and it doesn’t have a music video). Pretend you didn’t see the clip above and please, please, please go look up the original on iTunes. Please.
Shannon – ‘Daybreak Rain 새벽비’
(Courtesy of DAP Sound)
Album: ‘Daybreak Rain 새벽비 Single’
Released December 2014
Rain to Shannon is? Nothing more than the ambience of another day missing a former love.
Yes, you can ask out loud: Is that a non-Korean singing in Korean? Yes and no. Meet Shannon Williams, a young K-pop star on the rise. Born to a Welsh father and a Korean mother, Shannon moved to South Korea in 2012 where her singing talent was discovered on SBS’ Star King. She is now signed under DAP Sound and is associated often with K-pop acts T-Ara, SPEED and F-ve Dolls (with whom she was actually a temporary member). Daybreak Rain is her official debut as a solo singer, and hey, not bad at all. There aren’t enough soloists in K-pop nowadays (or there are just way too many groups); and I might be crossing some overprotective fans’ lines here by saying we’ve been lacking some BoA-esque solo acts. I like this combination of a lonely dance and singing in the rain (I do believe her choreographic skill needs just a little bit of work, but that’s besides the point). Here’s to hoping Shannon sticks to this particular brand of performance.
One Way (ft. Jun. K) – ‘Rainy Days’
(Courtesy of Yejeon Media, onewayonesound YT Channel)
Album: ‘Rainy Days’
Released January 2011
Rain to One Way is? The daily forecast in one’s heart after letting love go. Rain is also symbolic of the tears that never seem to end.
Though I’m not a huge fan of the lyrical arrangement, I can definitely wallow in this song all day long. One Way is one of those rare K-pop acts that stick to a more conventional R&B style all the while keeping it fresh with emphasis on the tone and soulfulness of their vocals. The group as a whole isn’t active at the moment, with Chance taking a break on the sidelines as a producer and songwriter; while Peter and Young Sky are pursuing activities as a sub-unit called “Detour.” I remain smitten by the original collective though. If you like what you hear, go check out their older track ‘U Drag’ – a really nice tune to kick back and relax to (and recover from the dismay this article may have caused you… sorry).
What makes your playlist of heartbreak songs for a rainy day? Comment below!