IU and Jang Kiha confirmed their dating.

[FROM.IU] 151008 To Uaenas

Uaena! I (why of all times) am in the middle of my MV shoot.
Was taken aback by the sudden news article, but uaenas are probably more shocked than me right? Sorry for giving you guys a shock.. I should have told you guys earlier and I’m even more sorry for not having done so.
If you’re thinking, “You should have been more careful right!”, I feel sorry for that too.
We’ve been seeing each other for almost 2 years. We first met on the radio show (Note: Jang Giha’s Grand Radio) and I fell in love with him at first sight.. hehe He’s a boyfriend I’m grateful for and have a lot to learn from too. Our relationship is good, sometimes we fight, sometimes we get sad, we’re grateful for each other.. just like any average couple.
I was thinking hard about a slightly better way to break it to everyone, but *Dispatch* beat me to it.. Haha although it’s sudden, it seems we’ll have to start dating openly.
It’s probably been awkward here all this while, pretending I’m not dating right? I’m sorry for making this happy, bustling, adorable place become like this. Even so, I’m really grateful for our uaenas who are worried for me and take care of me. I’m sorry and grateful for all the worries, support, sorrow..
Ah I’ve imagined this scenario a thousand times in my mind, but now that it’s happened, I really don’t know how to say this. First and foremost, I’m going to brave through my work (Note: referring to the MV filming). I sincerely… hope you didn’t have a tiring day because of me today. I’ll be back again!

Translated by squishy with love  ♥

Hello, this is Jang Kiha.

I′m writing because I wanted to address today′s articles, concerning IU and me, directly. Yes, we are happily dating!
I met IU for the first time in October 2013 when she appeared as a guest on a radio show I used to host.
We talked then, and I thought ′This person is really awesome.′ After talking to her later, I learned that I, surprisingly, had made a good impression on IU that day as well. Two years have passed already since we confirmed our feelings for each other. IU is someone I′m really thankful for and really dear to me.
She′s a warm companion, who is my greatest strength when I′m going through a hard time, and someone I have a lot to learn from when it comes to life and music.
We will continue to date happily and not cause those who care for IU and me to worry!
We will encourage each other and make music that is better than before!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone for your interest.

From Jang Kiha

Source: mwave

om tim

i’m so happy for them.

they’re so open, honest, and not afraid of speaking up for their love.

love the way they see each other, learn from each other, and grateful for having each other in life.

date prettily, you two. 🙂

on the side note, being an Uaena feels pretty cool :3 everyone is so supportive and positive about her dating 😀

she even trended worldwide on twitter, her fan-cafe members went up (169k visits today!), her songs shot up the charts ~ lol, this really doesn’t seem like an idol’s dating news.

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20150918 – 19

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18.

It was raining but lucky me, i managed to go out at the time when the sun was shining and the wind was blowing softly. For some unknown reason i still don’t know why, there was this little spark inside of me that was twinkling. I saw people walking on the street, walked with them, and couldn’t help smiling.

Later on i went to Sokos to meet with Doina. While waiting for her, i was checking out the section where they had magazines and stationaries. Wanted to buy so many things. National Geographies about the stars. A coloring book which had a green cover. A notebook which also had a green cover. A Moomin wooden postcard – Snufkin closing his eyes playing the harmonica in the forest, looking absolutely at ease. Things and things and things. But i was just there, read, saw, touched them with my hands, and admired their wonder.

We had sushi in the evening. Oana and Immo came over and we had a wonderful time. At least i thought so. I did laugh out loud genuinely many times. Like when Immo talked about the time when he was saying that there was also vegetarian sushi, and his mother-in-law (?) said “Yeah, you could put vegetable to the sushi too”! Doina burst out laughing, “How did you think you could explain vegetarian to a Romanian?”. Or when we were in some sort of “argument”, Oana went quiet for a moment, then she said, “I’m holding a knife”. We let that sink in for a moment, and Immo broke the silence, “That is a valid point” :)) Both of them added me on facebook now. Although facebook is not the best place to judge about relationships, i think i did make new friends.

 

19.

I asked Doina to cut my hair and she did. She did give me the look before that but i knew she was capable and she would help 😛 I know people liked my hair because it was long and soft and strong at the same time. I did, too, with the color and all. But literally i was carrying a heavy weight on my shoulder day in day out, and the cost for shampoo and conditioner… It needed to go. And it wasn’t like it wouldn’t grow back. It will, and it will grow fast.

I felt much lighter. Sometimes people would ask whether i was sure about doing it and about the length. “That much?”, they would be surprised. I don’t remember any time i would deeply regret though. Maybe now Doina would? 😀 Because apparently my hair made up half of her trash can heh. She told Jennifer when she came over that if my hair were to be divided to three other people, it would still be enough :)) Poor Doina, tried to cut it straight with so much hair.

IU had her 7th anniversary on the 18th and she wrote a letter on her fan-cafe. I always like to read what she says. It’s encouraging, thoughtful, positive, cute. Her new album will be out soon, and there must be interviews that come along. I’m excited!

although it’s already my 7th anniversary, there’s still lots that I’m thrilled about. I’m not sick of it yet. Of being IU! Creating more memories together with our uaena, consoling each other, giving each other strength, appreciating each other and working hard too. Each day is good in a different way. Thank you, I’ll make your days really interesting! I’ll make you go kkyak-kkyak kkyaleuleu kkyaleuleuleu omg omg grin shock heart-fluttering. […] I want to gather more people and put up loud fireworks.. keke but I still prefer it such that we can whisperwhisper to one another

150918 From.IU – A hated age of 7

20150916 part 2

turned out, it rained.

when i woke up to talk to Doina before she left this morning, she told me i should go back to sleep since i went to bed at around 1a.m.

i said i don’t sleep much these days. she gave me the look and said, “you don’t eat much and don’t sleep much either, not wondering why you haven’t disappeared yet?”

nearly slipped out “oh i wish i could”. luckily i didn’t, only smiled. Doina doesn’t need that in the morning. 😛

 

after yoga, i actually felt tired so i did go back to sleep.

the rain woke me up, and it put me in this grey space where i felt my heart sinking again.

somehow i still managed to take a shower, do my skincare routine, and have a nice breakfast.

it might have something to do with the photos MattiK sent me, in which i look like a stick. i thought, “this is not what i want to look like”. although i’ve always been in the thinner side, now i seem to look even more fragile than ever. i hope my weight doesn’t go under 45… although most probably it does.

not to try so hard though. whenever i try to push myself too hard, things usually turn to the opposite direction.

 

neither Doina nor MattiK use the electric water boiler, which i actually like it that way.

there’s something therapeutic in doing things slowly, enjoying each step.

my current skincare routine is like that as well. like a little massage ritual that adds more “oomph” to the mind.

 

i’ve been feeling better when the day progresses.

i’ve been in such a vulnerable place that i had to push myself hard to reach out for help, but at the same time i must learn that everyone has their own lives and i can’t bother them forever.

they could only do so much to give me strength, i should be the one who takes it and makes good use of it. this is my life after all, no one is going to live it but me.

thinking like that does make me feel lonely since admittedly, i wish there could be someone with whom could share how our days have been going on and tell each other about the little interesting things. but really, ain’t no one has time for that.

i wish there was some connections somewhere i could hang onto… but i guess i need to find my footing again, on my own.

gosh, i was doing so well wasnt i, when and how did it come to this..

recently i’ve been watching Twenty Again, a korean drama about a 38-year-old woman who thought she was going to die. she tries to live differently, and with the help of her friends she gradually remembers what kind of a person she used to be – bright, cheerful, fearless.

it’s a rom-com which is fun to watch, and it makes me think about me of the past too.

particularly the time when i was in Lärkkulla Karjaa. “Aurinko Chi” didn’t come out from nowhere, i did radiate warmth and light even with burdens on my shoulder and pains in my heart.

where did that person go, i need to find her back.

get rid of useless thoughts, resist the urge to do silly things.

you can do this, Chi.

believe yourself a little bit more. trust life a little bit more.

when there’s a will, there will be a way.

 

*listened to this song in the early morning

totally fitting.

❝But a small light that won’t go out

Is twinkling and living here

Even when everything in the world dies and is reborn

And gets old again

Only this heart doesn’t get wrinkles

And it’s twinkling and living here❞

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new friend.

 

It feels airy today.

I’ve been feeling tired and sad for the last few days, so I go for a walk every evening. Greenness, light, wind, air. It helps every time.

I remember the time when I was standing under the same sky, looking in amazement at the marvelous Northern Light. We’re so small in this universe but the life we have is all we have. The present, out current body, our own soul. One day it will all disappear. When I think about turning to dust and fly into the sky, it doesn’t feel so bad. Soft and ethereal, even. Look at the Northern Light. Think about being part of it. Isn’t it wonderful?

Moonie Mun had a post today on facebook. It was a photo of a cat, and for description she wrote, when there are things happened to her and people ask, “What do you plan to do now?”, she would answer, “What to do? Live on, of course”. She said about growing slower than others, but like this cat who was born to be a cat its whole life, she was born to live and she decided to live well wholeheartedly. Even if some people would say she would never grow up or some others would claim she was like an old soul, when she would “waste effort” and take a long time to fix things to be completely fine again. Why? Because she’s living, that’s that. It was a comforting coincidence that I came across her post. It spoke to me.

Now, let’s sleep first.

141110 #feelinghappy

. receiving an email in the morning saying i’m going to have a job interview was definitely a good start! it’s going to be on my birthday. my only wish this year, would you please please please come true?

. i bought a light bulb (A+ :3) and it totally brightened up my place. little things make big differences.

greenie ~

greenie ~

. Khoa called me and we talked on the phone for about an hour. it was so comfortable and motivating to talk to him.

. the November Care Package has started and i’m preparing for the gift i’m going to send out. how exciting.

. i logged in my society6 account today and realized that somebody bought a mug!! i will receive very little from this but i’m happy nonetheless, thinking somebody liked it enough to buy something from me. whoever you are, thank you so much!!

. Yoon Hyun Sang released his MV for ‘Always Be With You’, the song he composed and IU sang previously that we all liked. gentle and suitable for this emotional season. and the scene when he puts his arms around her is so warm and soft and fluttering…

. Taylor Swift released her MV for ‘Blank Space’, too. Just like ‘Shake It Off’, it’s meant to be a joke. i like this one more actually. there are some scenes that really stood out for me. she seems to be a good actress now, much better than when she was in Valentine’s Day.

141102

. i thought it was gone but i’m feeling worse today. sore-throat, headache, dizzy. bleh in general.

. Yoon Hyun Sang and IU had another stage for “When Would It Be” on Inkigayo today, and it was beautiful beautiful. the stage, the voice, the emotion. and IU was like a forest fairy.

. don’t remember why i came to think of it but i did, and i watched The Princess Diaries. i watched the second one briefly before on Disney Channel when i was in Vietnam, still remember Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson on it at the time. watching this first one this time felt different. seeing Mandy Moore, then music by Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, and B*Witched reminded me of the world back then. i saw a post on tumblr a while ago, saying like just yesterday we were thinking about the end of the world in 2012, and look at how we’re reaching 2015 now. i also thought about Y2K bug. the world of possibilities, time, my life. made me all emotional. or maybe it was just because of the cold.

quotes i like:

  • Joe: [speaking to Mia] Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
  • Amelia, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. […] From now on, you’ll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey. (Mia’s father’s letter to her)

. changed the desktop wallpaper. it’s time.

Yoon Hyun Sang (윤현상) – When Would It Be (언제쯤이면) (Duet. IU (아이유))

I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ nonstop for the last couple of days, and finally there’s a song that breaks the chain.

I actually had a bit of a roller-coaster ride with this song again.

Usually I don’t watch teaser, because teaser is one thing and the actual final product can be something totally different. Two examples I can clearly remember on top of my mind right now are Sea of Moonlight – Fiestar ft. IU (teaser/song) and Step – Kara (teaser/song). They are not bad songs. Brilliant, in fact. It’s just that the feeling they create from the teaser is so much different with what the songs convey. When I watch the teaser and I really like it, my expectation is hanging up for something that might not be there. It easily meets with disappointment. I find it difficult to build up my feeling for the song again. Even if it’s good, it’s not what I expect.

But it was IU and I couldn’t stay away from the updates. I also needed to watch clips so I knew what I was talking about while translating news.

The first thing I watched was the pre-listening for Yoon Hyun Sang’s 1st mini-album ‘Pianoforte’.

I had to say that I loved that final song – the duet with IU (at 4:18). Although it was short and there was no singing, I loved every single bit of it. It also matched with what IU said about the song:

Fan: Give us a spoiler from your new song.. Will I get scolded again? Hehehe
IU: Shall♥?we♥?become♥?that♥?kind♥?of♥?relationship♥?
(x)

and

Bangbaedongchick: Will the duet be a heart thumping concept like ‘Friday’?
IU: A sweet couple song that will make your heart explode from the butterflies ^^
(x)

The songs she sang recently give me the feeling that they had a close touch with the real world, so I really didn’t see what was coming next.

'When Would It Be' teaser.

‘When Would It Be’ teaser.

This is the photo teaser for the song, and it caught me quite off-guard.

LOEN has created many MVs with fantasy theme and I’ve liked many of them (e.g. You & I, The Red Shoes). IU also said in one interview previously during Modern Times promotion about a year ago:

Next time, I want to do a ‘Rapunzel’ concept. I’ll be dragging my really long hair around on stage as I put on a fun performance. (x)

Imagine that, it would be fun. It was just… all so conflicting. Reality vs. fantasy, fun performance vs. soulful ballad, Rapunzel theme for IU’s own  comeback vs. collaboration. My mind couldn’t put the pieces nicely together.

Then came the teaser.

It was even more confusing to me. So… this song and the song in the pre-listening, were they one? The harmony between the two didn’t sound very smooth either.

I’m not the type who finds everything about my bias is perfect. I think I made Keo surprised with that. But yeah, there are things I like and things I don’t, and I just choose to support them at best of my ability. Nobody is perfect anyway. Simply accept that and continue supporting them.

At this point, my expectation was rather low. Keo said it would be a long story ~ long MV like ‘You & I’, I said I wouldn’t eliminate the possibility that it wouldn’t be long. I wasn’t even sure I would like the song. There’s this quote though, “When you’re at the bottom, you have no other way but going up”. I don’t think they meant it to be something like this situation, just my mind wandering in web of connections. But anyway, eventually I was able to feel full song and the MV.

I have to admit that I didn’t put my full attention to it at the first time listening. It was because I had to post the news at the right time so that other people wouldn’t have chance to post it earlier than I did and that I could give away the virtual money on kites to create buzz for the news, reserving places for U’s and Keo’s comments on the first page – going back and forth between accounts and my laptop has been very easy to freeze for a while already, checking for English news to edit my original post which had only the MV without any information or descriptions. When those were settled down a little bit, I watched the MV but my mind was still a bit distracted.

I also experienced another deja vu. Just like with ‘My Old Story’, I thought it would be the first stage of a relationship where the feelings have just shyly blossomed. It would be the kind that makes your heart flutter and your stomach full of butterflies. But then again, it was a sad story where two of them separated and weren’t able to face each other again although they still had feelings for each other. Apparently my expectation is deadly.

The sparks from the first time watching would be when IU started singing. I was like, “Oh. my. god. Her voice is just… I can’t even…”. I know I say it all the time, but her voice is… wow. This familiar voice surprises me all the time, it brings such an emotion that is so mesmerizing and alluring. Visually, the moment that made me grasp for air was when she was sitting so small in a vastly foggy place, the wind and the hazy light was moving swiftly around her. Well, when I watched it again, I had a second thought though. It must be the reflection of the light on the water, it made more sense. And the moment at the end when IU was walking away and at one point she looked back, the wind blew through her hair which made them fly up then gently flowing down, her eyes blinked slowly, and the gaze… IU, take a drama project, please?

I fell for the song when everything got much calmer and so did my mind. It was when I closed my eyes, put my headphones on, played the music, and let it resonate within me. Staying still for a while, just me and the music, with their voices, with the emotions. IU’s angelic voice fascinated me as ever, and I appreciated Yoon Hyun Sang’s voice more. I especially love the bridge where it was like IU and Hyun Sang had a conversation back and forth, questioning, wondering, each of their own, then their voices blended in together and climbed up the climax at the end. That climax must be the same with the one in the teaser, but I didn’t feel as weird as before. I really seriously love that bridge part. At that moment, I understood why they released both the mini-album and the MV at midnight instead of releasing the MV during the day as usual. It needs to get in touch with your soul.

The tumble users who made gif-sets and screencaps and graphics from the MV contributed greatly to the way I see the details in it. When I watched it again, it appeared very clearly to me how incredibly beautiful it was made. All the shots were a piece of art in itself. I had so many more favorite scenes. And I love the idea of turning the mirror into the pond. How brilliant!

As for the story in the MV, I agree with weldud on YouTube that IU’s Rapunzel look means she was waiting for him. I’m not sure how to interpret the rest though. Maybe they were both waiting for each other in the fantasy world, then she stepped in the real world through the pond and saw his reflection in the old man playing piano just like him, which at the same time represented him getting older waiting for her, too? Sad and beautiful. It doesn’t always work out in reality, but sometimes a brave moment of encouragement would do.

When I watch the MV again now, I couldn’t help but admire this masterpiece. Seems like I’m late to the party, everyone was already in verge of, or actually in tears the first time they watched. I blame my expectation. But better late than never, I’m happy that I could finally enjoy the song wholeheartedly.

(x)

(x)

The song is gently charming in both rhythm and lyrics. I don’t think it’s ever easy to compose a song, so I really admire Yoon Hyun Sang for being able to compose, write the lyrics, co-arrange the songs, play the piano, and sing them all. He isn’t the typical handsome idol that steals the hearts of fangirls right away, but I hope people can recognize his talents and embrace his special charms. I wish him all the best.

Seo Taiji (서태지) – Sogyeokdong (소격동)

"The cover is an artwork that metaphorically depicts an innocent girl and the symbols that are in contrast. We decided to express the entire theme of the album through a girl that had both fear and curiosity towards the world she faced." (x)

“The cover is an artwork that metaphorically depicts an innocent girl and the symbols that are in contrast. We decided to express the entire theme of the album through a girl that had both fear and curiosity towards the world she faced.” (x)

The way I saw Seo Taiji and his music changed drastically for the last few days. It might have something to do with his appearance in Happy Together. I had thought he would be a serious man, but he wasn’t at all. He was just calm and gentle, even hilarious (whether he intended to or not). He talked about his wife being a fan of IU and she used to listen to IU’s songs during the time when they dated (she’s same age as me, maybe we could form a 88-line IU’s fan or something, ha ha), and that he thought the main reason for Sogyeokdong to top charts right upon its release must be thanks to IU. When Myungsoo mentioned IU sent him ginseng (again, it was the 2nd time I heard about this, lol), Seo Taiji said he received it from IU, too. It was funny to see these ahjussis proving how close they are to IU.

When Seo Taji’s version of Sogyeokdong was released, I had a bit of mixed feeling. Although I had known his voice from the Happy Together clip, I was still taken aback. To be honest, he sounded somehow girly to me at times, especially at the beginning. It got better along the way though, and I liked it already the second time I watched. This morning when I woke up, as usual for these current days, I grabbed my headphones and listened to music with my eyes closed and my mind still being in a haze. It felt perfect. His voice, the music, its soul. Everything.

After watching his version and also the director’s cut, it still wasn’t clear what happened to the girl, but I had my own interpretation. So she tripped while running to the taxi. Her bleeding lips might be from her abusive father then. She got the boy’s attention but was still shy when being caught in a state she didn’t want him to see. They went on to have a beautiful relationship, with all the pure and soft and tender of a young couple. Awkward and shy, fragile but important. The girl’s family was involved in protests or activities against the military government at the time though, and the police came to take (at least) the father away for “re-education”. The girl might be taken away, too, or she was put into the orphanage. Years later, they came back. Same place, different times. They didn’t meet each other, but I liked to think it wouldn’t stay that way forever. The paper-crane he picked up at the end, it could be the message that she left, right? I liked to think of it as an open ending with high possibility of happiness. I read a comment about don’t expect happy ending from Seo Taiji’s music (lol), but I have the tendency to head to the light, so I will keep my interpretation that way.

It was interesting to know that Seo Taiji spent his childhood in this area. I supposed it was a good material to start with. Up until now, I still find it fascinating how well-thought and well-executed this project is. I mean, Seo Taiji managed to get people interested in Korea’s history. I saw people asking and some others appeared to be quite dedicated to explain. Even if it was just a small part of the history, people had the chance to get to know about it in a creative way. From this dark background, Seo Taiji told a sad but beautiful love story, one that was full of longing and would stay in people’s mind for a very long time.

Another interesting thing was that this collaboration was so unique. It was rare to see a collaboration which was not a duet (I actually don’t remember any on top of my mind right now). It was also a brilliant idea to have IU’s version to tell the story in the eyes of the boys, and Seo Taiji’s version filling the missing pieces by the heart of the girl. Breaking typical logic all the time. Brilliant, brilliant.

It caught me by surprise that Sogyeokdong was only a pre-release, only a stepping stone to a bigger release later on. Such a meticulous piece of work was just only the beginning of something bigger? I heard about it in comment section before but I doubted, now of course apparently his fans/people who followed his music for a long time knew it better. Keotronvo told me that Sogyeokdong was more of a song for IU. I would have doubted it before, but I saw the most recent teaser for his title track MV earlier today and I thought there might be some truth about it. Seo Taiji was versatile and he could easily step into many genres, he was good in Sogyeokdong but look at this.

I was never a big fan of Halloween, scary stuffs would never be in my interest, but unbelievably I found myself liking this teaser. I hadn’t known Seo Taiji before Sogyeokdong, but I knew instinctively this was clearly more like him. Some people might say IU wasn’t suitable for Sogyeokdong, but I believed she was the most suitable choice. Seo Taiji might not be as serious of a person as people painted him to be, but obviously he was serious with his music, and he chose IU. IU’s popularity was built solidly from her ability to deliver music in its most possibly artistic way, he must have realized it. The fact that Seo Taiji’s wife could be a fan of IU and IU was well-received by the public could add to that but I didn’t think those would be the main reason. And IU did well. It felt a bit silly, I was a bit afraid to admit I liked IU’s version more. I shouldn’t be afraid of it though. Seo Taiji wrote, composed, produced the song, yes, but it didn’t necessarily equal with expressing it best. He suited more to the title song, for sure. My preference was also subjective. I liked IU’s version more didn’t mean I was looking down on IU’s senior, it was just me having an opinion on a “good vs. better” subject which I should be honest with myself. When two versions of a song were to be released, it was bound to be compared. Whether I liked it or not, I unconsciously compared them.

Talking about comparison, I also noticed that Seo Taiji’s version had higher tone than IU’s. It was an coincidence. I planned to listen to Seo Taiji’s version first but iTunes played IU’s one first, my laptop was slow so before I could switch to Seo Taiji’s version, I heard a bit of the beginning from IU’s. It was a small incident that made me smile.

All in all, I really liked this Sogyeokdong project. It should absolutely be something that both Seo Taiji and IU could be proud of. I was glad Seo Taiji trusted IU in this. I wondered whether it would be a duet between them during his concert, but thankfully MBC was set to broadcast it so it would be a good chance to spot it in higher quality than fancams. I also wondered which version would be put into his album, I wouldn’t think it would be IU’s version, but would it be Seo Taiji’s version only or would it be duet? Hm, this way of arranging obviously kept my anticipation. Additionally, Seo Taiji succeeded in converting me to be interested in his stuff. I was very willingly to translate news about his teaser from English to Vietnamese to kites. Well, I don’t regret to get to know better about a legend, one who appreciates IU and has good music.

IU (아이유) – Sogyeokdong (소격동)

cover

When I first heard the news about IU’s collaboration with Seo Taiji, my heart dropped a beat. I know Seo Taiji was considered a legend in K-pop, but before I knew him, I had known Lee Ji Ah first (despite the fact that his name had been somehow familiar to me beforehand). I loved The Legend (ha, the irony) mostly because of her, and I watched Beethoven Virus and Style also because of her. For a while I didn’t follow what was going on for some reason (life?), and I didn’t follow celebrities’ lives and scandals anyway (that’s a good life), so I only heard vaguely about her secret marriage with a huge influential figure which shook Korean entertainment industry (imagine how big it was that even a person who was oblivious of that world even heard about). I think the news broke out when they were handling their divorce process? Anyway, little by little, pieces came together, then “ah so that’s that Seo Taiji”. I couldn’t help but taking Ji Ah’s side, probably because it was natural to support another woman and also because she was suffering so much. So when there was news about IU’s collaboration with Seo Taiji, I was stunned. There was rumor before about Seo Taiji’s comeback, I heard about it but didn’t pay attention, let alone imagine it to be collaboration with IU!! Why did everything about this man had to be so shocking?

Then I translated the news from English to Vietnamese to kites. It calmed me down a lot, and when I finished I was actually much more fond of the project than initially. Seo Taiji complimented IU a lot, he was the one who suggested the idea, and for IU who had always shown her respect to her seniors and her eagerness to learn, she seemed to be genuinely honored for the chance to collaborate with such a big name.

Seo Taiji said through his agency Seo Taiji Company, “When I was looking for the female singer who could express the song Sogyeokdong well, I thought of IU right away, who I’ve always thought of as the hubae female singer with the best singing ability. I wanted her to sing the song with her charming voice so I requested her participation. She accentuated the charm of the song more than I expected, so I’m happy.”

‘Sogyeokdong Project’ will release IU’s version first on October 2 followed by Seo Taiji’s version of Sogyeokdong to be released on October 10. This is the first time in 22 years where another singer will be singing a song written, composed and produced by Seo Taiji.

IU’s agency Loen Tree stated, “IU was very happy to receive Seo Taiji’s request and expressed her desire to participate in the project. She felt honored to be participating in the senior singer’s song, who she respects greatly in terms of music, and said that Sogyeokdong will be a meaningful song for her too, showing anticipation and excitement for this collaboration.”

Source: mnetamerica

I had usually struggled with the idea of whether I should listen to artists that had troublesome private lives (the same went for actors/actresses, well, celebrities in general), but I was all for IU’s growth as a musician. What happened between Seo Taiji and Lee Ji Ah was their own business, both of them suffered and their lives moved on, they had to continued despite the past. We didn’t know the whole story and maybe never will, so there was no point to judge. And if Seo Taiji decided he didn’t want people to be nosy of his private life, he had the right to do so. It shouldn’t be something suspicious and to be made fun of. It shouldn’t affect the way people see his ability to make music.

When the teaser came out, I was ecstatic!

I loved everything about it. The electronic sound, IU’s voice, the lingering feeling of the past. It was all so mesmerizing. I replayed it again and again and again. I thought about how IU never failed to surprise me with the music she delivered. You might have thought the previous time was the best it couldn’t get better, then as if it was “challenge accepted” from her, she came back with another piece that blew your mind away.

When the audio release at midnight between the 1st and 2nd of October, I was a bit confused though. It lost a bit of its charm from the teaser, I felt it right away from 1-minute listening on MelOn and got it confirmed when I listened to the full audio. Many people said that the music was too loud it over-dominated IU’s voice, but to me it wasn’t that (most probably because I listened to it with headphones – I always listen to first-time music with headphones). The song structure was weird. It went up and down in an unexpected way which I couldn’t really grasp the essence of it, and I got drifted away when it came toward the end – it passed by like din’t leave a mark. It was still a very nice song, just that I had too high of an expectation from the teaser.

Another confusion was that they didn’t release the MV right away, they waited until the 6th. I didn’t quite understand it. I mean, when the feeling was still fresh from the teaser and the audio, shouldn’t they add this important spice right away? My guess was that they wanted to have an all-kill with the audio first because it might be possible to manage with daily chart (perfect all-kill for a song that release on Thursday would be a miracle), and the MV on Monday would be good then to deal with perfect all-kill on weekly chart when songs’ points reset for a new week. But the competition was fierce, the song got an all-kill on real-time chart upon its release but it didn’t reach certified all-kill. The MV did make an impact but it soon dropped down again. It was a time to clearly see that IU’s continuous certified all-kills and perfect all-kills and cups from music shows weren’t easy achievements, they weren’t a given because it was IU, we never should take it for granted.

Anyway, as for the MV itself, it was good to know things before watching it.

  • The song has two versions as well as two MVs, one from IU and another from Seo Taiji. It shows the woman’s and the man’s perspectives, and these two secret stories will fit together like a puzzle. So, no freaking out when IU’s MV version wasn’t clear of what was going on, it was supposed to be completed by Seo Taiji’s version.
  • [Sogyeokdong Back story] Sogyeokdong used to be a dark and troubling period in the Korean History. It used to be the headquarters of the Defence Security Command and has now converted into a Fine Arts Mueseum. During the early years of Major General Chun Doo Hwan’s regime (1981~1983), students were forced into military service and martial law was forcefully implemented. Confrontation and protest started to arise and more reform was initiated and in the process many young people died. (FYI this major general carried out a military coup d’état and assassinated the then president Park Chung Hee) (x)
  • The message on the paper inside the paper-crane is “Meet me when the lights go off”, and on the other side it was “Let’s participate in the night blackout drill” (x)

And side note:

  • The girl was Kim Hyun Soo. I got to know her from Good Doctor. Most people would recognize her from her role as child actor of Jun Ji Hyun’s character – Chun Song Yi in You Who Came from the Stars.
  • The boy was Sung Yoo Bin. He was the child actor of Jo In Sung’s character – Jang Jae Yeol in It’s Okay That’s Love.

After a couple of days listening to the song whenever I felt like it (which was often the case), I got more used to the rhythm than previously. By the time I watched the MV, I somehow got the feeling from the teaser back. The more I listened and watched, the more I liked it. Everything seemed to contradict – modern and old, happy and sad – but it all blended in harmoniously, strangely. IU was gorgeous, she had the kind of sweet and nostalgic beauty and voice that matched so well with the MV atmosphere. And I agreed with Leeteuk (Super Junior) that it made me feel both bright and melancholic at the same time it was hard to explain. I hope this mesmerizing feeling will continue on to Seo Taiji’s version.

I actually wasn’t very much keen on understanding the story-line. Just like how I normally watched films, I didn’t question things all the time. I would be just like, we would understand eventually. This time it was even more open for interpretations. I thought about the girl with the bleeding bruises, was she shy and that was why she hid when the boy saw her, and like majority, the biggest question was what happened to the girl, why didn’t she appear and where did she go. But yeah, I suppose when the time came, we would understand.

All in all, I really liked this collaboration that IU did. The song felt as if pretty IU put on Seo Taiji’s dreamy piece and suited it to herself, like a fairytale (couldn’t describe it better than Kim Jong Seo; it was clearly Seo Taiji’s song but IU’s color shined through also). The MV was beautiful and well-made, I could see how much thought was put in from its high quality. My favorite scenes would include the part when the girl put her hands on her laps and grabbed her skirt tightly for a moment, the pinwheels spin in the sunshine when the wind blew (extra: the background was also green at that point!) which felt soft and gentle, the umbrella scenes especially the one when she turned the umbrella and her face would appear vaguely behind, the scene when the lights gradually went off, and all the ones that IU was in (of course). I also made a gif-set (because, yeah, how I love it so), which would be better to click on the images for the actual size because they were enlarged to fit with my tumblr theme.

It wasn’t as well-received in South Korea as I expected, but from that I grew even more protective toward the song and embraced it even tighter. I loved it for everything it was. I was happy IU took this new sound and once again expressed it beautifully in her own unique way. I was glad she was invited as guest to perform this song at Seo Taiji’s concert. As long as she’s happy with her music, I’m happy, too. And her music is great, her voice is one of a kind. I, really, couldn’t ask for more.

A Flower Bookmark – IU.

Earlier I posted an entry mentioning that IU’s newest mini-album was coming out. Since I really liked it, I decided to write my thoughts down.

I think it was my first time ever to really looking forward to an album release. I used to just wait for it to be available while doing all other things, used to think “What’s the rush?”. Then that day on kites (a forum in Vietnamese, concentrating in entertainment, well-known for Vietnamese subtitles for Korean stuffs), many of us Uaenas (IU’s fans) were online, we were talking about the things we wrote for IU’s birthday and naturally I joined in the wait (I didn’t turn to facebook since it’s usually dead quiet when it comes to Korean music, which is such a shame…). When it first came out, I listened to the preview of a minute each song on MelOn (a Korean online music store), and I fell in love immediately. It was heavenly good for the ears, especially the first song named My Old Story which was also the title song for the album. It’s very rare for me to like the title song of any IU’s album, this time was the first.

Before I talk more about the songs, I want to explain a bit about the background of this album. It’s a remake album, not from IU’s previous songs but ones from the last decades. IU personally chose the songs she wanted to sing, and for some she also asked the original artists to help. About the title “A Flower Bookmark“,  IU said:

For this album, just as the name suggests,
it’s like the kind of flower… that people would stick in their books in the past.
Then someday when you’re flipping through the pages, you find the flower again!
In that moment, it’s like receiving an unexpected gift
and memories from the past resurface.
It’s that sort of feeling.

Beautiful, isn’t it? At first I thought it was like maintaining the beauty of the songs from the past, no matter how much time passes it will always be pretty, but it sounds even better with her explanation.

The color theme of the album was purple.

Flower Bookmark teaser image

There were some guesses but we didn’t know for sure since there was no official explanation. My personal guess was that purple was the color of the past (I’ve had this impression ever since I was a child, for reasons I don’t remember). It has quite a nostalgic feeling whenever I think about it. IU’s personal favorite color is yellow. When these two colors come together, they actually fall nicely into places, combining IU’s favorite color and the feeling of the past for the remake album. I kind of have the image in my mind that they all throw in ideas, as it seems to often be like that from the BTS and IU’s talks every now and then.

A Flower Bookmark album cover

A Flower Bookmark had in total of 7 songs. Before I go deeper into each song, I would recommend you to put on headphones and listen to the preview of a minute each song like I did from here (I know it’s all Korean but the buttons are familiar, and actually it should play automatically when the window opens). I recommend this because when you watch the MV, you will be easily distracted by the story-line and the lyrics, and forget about the pure pleasure of IU’s voice and the instruments sounds and the emotions the song itself brings. Please do put on headphones, close your eyes, really listen to the music, and absorb it all.

And here’s the whole album.

The first song, as I said, was My Old Story. I watched a couple of MV reactions. I was never interested in reaction videos, just that this time I wondered whether anyone had the same reaction as I did. Of course it was different I guess, since I listened to the song first before I watched the MV (the album was released at midnight, and then the MV was released at around noon). I had no idea if any of them did it like I did, but from my impression, their first interaction ever with the song was also with the MV. Only one of them had similar reaction with mine. I held my breath the moment I heard IU’s voice.

It wasn’t midnight here in Finland when I first listened to it. Midnight in Korea means 6p.m here in Finland. It was quiet enough here though. Together with the eagerness and excitement shared with other Uaenas (10p.m at the time in Vietnam), it created quite an atmosphere. I was mesmerized already with the sound of the piano at the beginning, then IU sang the first notes and I was breathless, speechless. She had such an angelic soothing voice. I had liked her voice long ago but it had always taken me time to get used to the title song; this time it was just perfect. Her husky voice was soft like wind like air, effortlessly beautiful. I was floating into the gentle sounds and nostalgic feelings. The piano and the accordion blended nicely together, which was tender and brought a deep sense of nostalgia, fitting well with the general feel of the whole song. IU asked Cho Deok Bae (original composer and singer of this song) to listen to her cover and he seemed to be satisfied with the result.

Then about the MV…

My interpretation for this MV was that it was about a girl who liked a person and had the feeling that he liked her, too. However, the boy, for some reason, couldn’t confess to her, so she was wondering whether he was too shy to say it, or he didn’t like her for real. Up until now, she didn’t have the answer.

Without words of love
Days gone by in waste
Did you know about them?

You naive one
You’re taking away
my everything
You cruel one
Maybe you were too shy to say
Maybe you didn’t like me
I still have no idea

One of the Uaenas on kites said that Cho Deok Bae also wrote a song named Letter, about a boy who liked a girl, writing a letter to her but wasn’t able to hand it; so this MV would be about this girl knowing about the fact, telling the boy her feelings on the radio, waiting him through the night but he didn’t come, finally he knew her heart and was regretful.

However, there was another explanation which was confirmed by IU herself in a BTS video. “A guy and a girl miss each other after they broke up so they recall their story”. It explained why not only the girl but the guy was also crying. I personally never regretted any of my breakups, and I was bothered about the guy’s cry which was a bit over the top (which was supposed to be that way, I guess, but still). So at the beginning, I really liked this MV with my own view of the story base on the lyrics and I took the guy’s cry only a bit of sand. Then when I knew the real message, it kind of turned my mood off and what I didn’t like became more significant. It was still beautiful, I especially liked the way they portrayed the story – the guy on the bench, him being hesitated at the phone booth, him being in the car on one side looking at IU’s seat and her being there at different times, the beautiful flowers and the old-style radio mic, his shadow of him trying to write letters to her reflecting on a wall full of old photos,… Everything was beautiful, conveying the feel of longing for the past. It was just me. I still liked it, it was still my most favorite song in the album, I just didn’t share the same feeling with it anymore. For my own peace of mind, I refused to accept its real meaning : p I left it to my own interpretation. When I listened to the song, I didn’t think much about it anyway.

The second song in the album was Flower. It was impressive, but wasn’t my taste. I only liked it more when IU sang it while playing piano in her concert as the opening. I like its lyrics though.

The third song was A Pierrot Smiles at Us. It made quite a confusion when the third teaser for the album was about this song, since the previous two teasers created quite a gentle mood and then suddenly this retro dance teaser came out with the setting as if it was going to be the title song (now we all know it wasn’t, but at the time it created quite a buzz). (Inserting the BTS video since I liked it better)

This song would be very suitable for the title song if she decided to promote this album. It didn’t capture me from the beginning but it gradually grew in me the more I listened to it. Plus, it would be more fitting to perform on music shows since she could dance along. Of course it would be very different with Kim Wan Sun (the one who was considered as Madonna/female Michael Jackson of South Korea, this song was originally hers), but it would be fun nonetheless. I also like its quirky lyrics.

The fourth song was When Love Passes. This song with the sixth song Midsummer Night’s Dream, they took me a while to differentiate. They were both very nice and soothing, it was just a bit difficult for me to recognize them separately at first. I think both of these were composed by Yoon Sang and he rearranged it for IU? Yoon Sang was known to collaborate with IU for a long time already, notably with The Story Only I Didn’t Know.

The fifth song The Meaning of You was my second favorite from the album. It sounded refreshing and harmonious, as if I could even hear the sound of their genuine laughs in there. I thought Flower would be the most difficult song to sing in this album, but according to IU, this song was the most difficult. She had to ask Kim Chang Wan (this song was originally his) to come and help her.

The last song, which was also my third favorite, was Kung Ddari Sha Bah Rah. An Uaena told me the original song was very funny, but my Internet connection went off when I attempt to listen to all the original songs before IU’s album release and my mood for it wasn’t recovered since then, so I didn’t know about that. IU’s version had such a pure feeling to it though, like a folk song. Whenever I listened to it, it made me feel as if I was running on a sunny windy greeny field. It made me want to go out and have fun in the nature. I also liked IU’s slow rap along with Clon (the song was originally theirs, and they lent their voice in this).

Here’s the BTS of the recordings for some of the songs:

Here’s the BTS of the photoshoot for the photobook (it’s so pretty and also fun, like a piece of art iself, I never get tired of watching it):

I kind of got the pattern that IU would release a full album at around the end of the year, then she would release something lighter in May for her birthday. The fact that she didn’t do any broadcast promotions for this mini-album ‘A Flower Bookmark’ was a pity but it didn’t surprise me. Many people were surprised, which was reasonable, considering how good this album was. But even without any broadcast promotions, she gradually achieved all-kill, then certified all-kill, and finally perfect all-kill on Instiz iChart (the chart that combines all 10 charts in South Korea) with My Old Story. Most artists would have chance to achieve an All-Kill (no.1 on 6~7 charts) when they first release their song/album. A Certified All-Kill takes longer to happen, being no.1 on both real-time chart and daily chart on all 10 charts. It will be marked with green badge by Instiz.

Perfect All-Kill (marked with a red badge)  is an Certified All-Kill on weekly chart. Therefore, it’s very rare and hard to achieve. (Since it’s counted for weekly chart, we were a bit worried that she couldn’t achieve it since the album was released toward the end of the week, exactly on her birthday. It would be easier if it was released at the beginning of the week, but we can’t change her birthday just to achieve some charts right : p And she proved IU’s power again. Why worry, huh? ^^)

IU’s My Old Story Perfect All-Kill was also the first Perfect All-Kill of a Korean artist in 2014. Before it was Let It Go by Idina Menzel, and before Let It Go was also IU with Friday at the end of last year. And who says IU’s popularity in Korea was dead? It’s enormous! And not only digital sales, ‘A Flower Bookmark’ also ranked 2nd for physical album sales on Gaon chart (the week of May 18 to May 24). I’m so proud of her!

I kind of want to talk about her concert but this is like an overwhelming amount of information already… Maybe next time, or not, it depends. : p

Just a last bit. I thought this album would only suitable to listen at night, but it’s nice to listen to it during the day as well. Last time I went out for a walk on a sunny day, the wind was blowing the pollen softly across the sky, my mind was fresh and it felt like I was in heaven. (I know it would be hell for people with pollen allergy, but you know what I mean).

Ah, yes, before I forget. This album, to many people as well as critics, marks IU’s maturity, not as an idol anymore but more like an artist. I saw it coming already since ‘Last Fantasy’, ‘Modern Times’ made it clearer, and it was proved in this ‘A Flower Bookmark’. IU never failed to surprise me. Every time when I thought it would be the best already, she brought something else to the table and totally caught me off-guard. She’s not following any trend in K-pop now. She’s making her own path.