나랑 아니면 (Who Do You Love)

Artist: The Black Skirts

Genre: Korean indie music

Lyrics: 

야 나랑 놀자 밤늦게까지 함께 손뼉 치면서
나랑 마셔 너와 나의 몸이 녹아 내리면
나랑 걷자 저 멀리까지가다 지쳐 누우면
나랑 자자 두 눈 꼭 감고 나랑 입 맞추자

나랑 아니면 누구랑 사랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면 어디에 자랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면

야 나랑 놀자 어디 가지 말고
그리울 틈 없도록
나랑 살자 아주 오랫동안
우리 같이 살자

나랑 아니면 누구랑 사랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면 어디에 자랑 할 수 있겠니
나랑 아니면

아무렇지 않게 넌 내게 말했지
날 위해 죽을 수도, 죽일 수도 있다고
알아, 나도 언제나 같은 마음이야 baby
아마도 우린 오래 아주 오래 함께할 거야

Translation: 

Hey, hang out with me till late at night
Come drink with me
Once you and I get drunk
So when we feel tipsy, let’s walk
Once you and I get tired
So when we lie down, Let’s sleep
Close your eyes and let’s kiss

Without me, who can you love with?
Without me, where can you tell?
Without me

Hey, let’s hang out with me
Don’t go without me
So we don’t miss each other
Let’s live with me for a long time
Let’s live together

Without me, who will you love?
Without me, where will you go?
Without me

You told me lightly
You can die or kill for me
I know, I can do the same thing, baby
Maybe we’ll be together forever

Korean pop or K-pop, has gained a lot of popularity since 2015, but that’s just the company-grown bands. While South Korea relies heavily on its entertainment industry for generating income, it has a very conventional way of grooming its artists, usually to fit the rest of the world’s opinion of South Korea. As a result of this, Korean artists don’t have the provisions or space to experiment. Highly influenced by western music, K-pop is just a mainstream replica of the same kind, except with a few Korean lyrics, ostentatious costumes, tacky music videos, and frisky dance moves. Very few Korean indie artists have made it into the scene, while the rest of them hope to be scouted by popular entertainment agencies.

‘The Black Skirts’ is a one-man band consisting of Jo Hyu-il or Brian Cho, who is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/bassist/keyboardist. Hyu-il  was born in Seoul, South Korea on December 5, 1982, and later moved to the United States when he was 12 years old, where he grew up in New Jersey. Heavily influenced by American music, Hyu-il recorded his first album in 2009, in his basement, and won a Korean Music Award. ‘Who do you love’ is a romantic ballad released in 2017, as a part of his 3rd studio album ‘Team Baby’.

Revolving around a problematic couple, the song has managed to beautifully fit into their lives, moulding into the story like they were meant to co-exist. The actress is a Korean party host, while the actor is a janitor working in the same karaoke joint. The music video slowly transitions from their everyday life, to the incident that broke the girl: robbing a man, and killing another in the attempt to run away unnoticed. Dramatic and tragic, the song captures the essence of being in love, and doing almost anything to prevent separation. Nothing has been sugar-coated here, unlike the typical Korean music videos. Brian Cho is also known for capturing emotions crudely, which makes his works seem more mature in comparison to the popular songs. The melodramatic tune of a violin progresses into the livelier part, with the drums in the background, the keyboard in the middle ground, and the fragile voice in the fore ground. Akin to an orchestral hit, the song has used a wide range of instruments, including the electric guitar during the bridge. With his roots buried deep into indie rock, Brian has managed to incorporate some rock music into the song, without making it seem out-of-place. The lyrics are minimalistic, but is compensated for by the composition of the song.

Artists like The Black Skirts are important to ensure Korean music doesn’t lose it authenticity by giving in to the conventional methods of making popular music. With the emergence of independent artists, Korean music will cater to the needs of different sub-cultures, thereby making it all the more popular. Several artists go unnoticed while the big bands earn millions by the minute. Digging into SoundCloud or YouTube will expose several independent artists, and this is necessary because experimentation is the key to revolution, at least artistically speaking.

MARDY BUM

Artist: Arctic Monkeys

Genre: Alternative Rock

Notable lyrics: 

Well can’t we just laugh and joke around
Remember cuddles in the kitchen
Yeah, to get things off the ground
And it was up, up and away
Oh, but it’s right hard to remember
That on a day like today when you’re all argumentative
And you’ve got the face on

And yeah I’m sorry I was late
But I missed the train
And then the traffic was a state
And I can’t be arsed to carry on in this debate that reoccurs,
Oh, when you say I don’t care
But of course I do, yeah, I clearly do!

Here’s a fun fact about me: when I first saw the album cover, I thought the man on it was the lead singer, with the rugged look and all that. But when I saw Alex for the first time, I was skeptical, because ‘how can such a wiry dude have a sturdy voice?’. Looks can be very deceiving, my mates.

You’re a blithering fool if you have a music blog/ call yourself a music fanatic and haven’t ever mentioned or heard of this phenomenal band. Being one of the very best bands this century has witnessed,  The ‘Arctic Monkeys’ continue to deliver mind-blowing, jaw-dropping songs till date.  The band, a garage project, was founded in 2002, in Sheffield, England; Alex Turner, the lead singer, happens to be one of the more talented song-writers today. With chart-busting singles like ‘Do I wanna know’ and ‘R U Mine’, the band has maintained a very prominent image in the post-rock revival industry. With their ‘The Smiths meets The Cure’ (Morrissey won’t be pleased) style of music, at least most of them, they’ve established a whole new meaning to alternative/indie rock. If indie rock is at all, a popular genre in the 21st century, this band deserves most of the credit.

Mardy Bum, one of my favorite works by the band, happens to be a very happy-go-lucky song, disguised as an apology to the livid missus. The song has been beautifully crafted, with a very first-hand remorse, explaining the reasons for him being late.  A ‘Mardy Bum’ is someone very unhappy with the way things happen; a moaner, basically (no, not like THAT). What I much prefer is the acoustic version; it sounds more appealing and casual, unlike the energetic album recording. The band’s signature use of electric guitars and lively drums are also very evident. Alex’s heavy, North England accent adds more charm to it than necessary. Released 11 years ago, this has to still be one of their very best, authentic songs. The British roots are so very evident, it’s almost too surreal to take in. I’m just really glad to see that Brit Rock hasn’t become completely obsolete.

Also, if you follow the band closely, there’s always a change of trends in their style of music, with every successive album. The new album, ‘tranquility base hotel and casino’ has failed to meet the expectations of many-a-persons, me included. Hopefully, Arctic Monkeys won’t fade away into the shadowy world of mediocrity and loss of self-recognition, like most bands have. Fame and money does that to people, getting into their heads and whispering gibberish. Alex better turn around and chase his humility, before it’s all too late. The Beatles were a disaster in the later years and we can’t afford to let another mastermind go berserk.

 

 

VIOLET

Artist: Hippo Campus

Genre: Indie Rock

Notable lyrics:

The sky is lushed in the company
Of those American eyes
See good on earth and truth in lies

Violet, trying to start your riot
Trying to get up and then go
So the world will always know
Violet, you and your fucked up riot
Trying to get up and then go
So the world will always know

You know what’s sexier than a talented “boy-band” which writes its own songs and composes its own music and has a smart name? I can’t think of anything.

Originally from Minnesota, these 20-something (maybe even younger) dudes know what they’re doing and where they’re going. If I’m not wrong, they could be the next big thing. In the era of duplicated, superficial music, these unquestionably talented kids have raised themselves through the thick fog of indolence and good marketing with their own vigour and fresh talent, giving the passionate indie-rock fans what they were in hot pursuit of: clarity.

Deriving inspiration from both retro and modern music, this song is definitely a whole new approach to the making of indie rock; Heavy-rock snobs will not condemn it and mainstream-music fans will not repel it, owing to its eccentricities and tiny regularities alike. The music is definitely nothing like you’ve ever heard before, and is in no way similar to the likes of Arctic Monkeys or Vampire Weekend; it still manages to stand out as a pioneer sub-genre, a one-of-its-kind, with the vague lyrics and the harmonious discrepancies. The guitar sounds are very unconventional and yet, manages to capture the attention of a million people with varying tastes in music.

When I first came across the song, I was very skeptical of a good looking boy-band being any good. Boy, was I ever wrong! The song wasn’t even a bit appealing, initially. It was very different from what I was used to and so, I took my time to get accustomed to the entire concept of this song. But when I did, it hit me hard and, do you know how every person has a set of songs they’d never skip when played on a shuffle? This song definitely belongs to the category. The video is just so endearing, with the pastel shades and beautiful boys with their guitars and random inanimate objects, pretending to be lost in a world of magnificent sounds and not making kissy-faces to the camera. Speaking about the song, which we inevitably must, there are several bold and ear-catching elements, like the strong guitar solo at the beginning, the gradual addition of the drums, the subtle rise in the zeal of the entire performance at the chorus and the final instrumental piece, everything almost too perfectly coordinated. The vocals are definitely just as atypical as the rest of the song; it’s not too try-hard or reverberatory (watch any reality singing contest to understand what I’m talking about).

Being different in the ordinary world is fine. As a matter of fact, different is more welcome than ordinary. In a futile race to be as normal as possible, people often lose their individuality and eventually, the person they are. The reason I chose to create a blog IS to expose the world to the more extra-ordinary, less explored side of music. The band is far from pretentious and very mature in the way thousand other “boy-bands” have failed to be, with their incomprehensible obsession with fame and a large fan-base. More often than not, young boys in the show business are made to believe that good-looks are more accredited for, in comparison to actual talent. They don’t believe in appearing to be prudish or innocent and are not too unsure about cussing, which is fucking great! What’s wonderful is that these young lads have resorted to being unique and experimenting, and that’s the reason they’ve got such unabashedly brilliant songs on their hands. They are aware of their self-worth and are bound to climb up the sky, if they don’t conform to conventions. It’s hard to come across such young geniuses in the music industry, in today’s world of greed and power and I’m happy to inform that all hope has not been lost.

TAKE ME OUT

Artist: Franz Ferdinand

Genre: Indie rock

Notable lyrics:

I say don’t you know
You say you don’t know
I say, take me out!
I say you don’t show
Don’t move, tide is low
I say, take me out!

This song is what is best described as ‘one of the best Indie rock prodigies of the 21st century’ (That’s right ‘Arctic Monkeys’ and ‘The Strokes’, I’m looking at you for you made the cut more lavishly).

The band has a rather interesting name I previously failed to notice; it was named after the infamous Archduke, Franz Ferdinand whose assassination triggered the beginning of the First World War. Released 14 years ago, you’re still in for a major roller coaster ride of physical enthrallment and an extreme case of ‘disco legs’. The song starts off with a mild (not so mild, to be fair) and brilliant electric guitar riffs while gradually exploding into what can be defined as a ‘sudden surge in the level of adrenaline’; It’s essentially divided into 2 parts: the exciting part and the more exciting part, each equally capturing. In all honesty, this is one power-packed song, potentially the background music of a cool teenage super hero’s life with some great taste in music. Complete with the exact amount that essential gritty and edgy vocals, one listen and you won’t need EDM to, gee, ‘hype you up’ anymore.

The video appears to be filmed on the inside of a 19th century statistics text-book? (who am I kidding, it’s been the same lessons for centuries now) basically the epitome of an eccentric Brit rock song (they’re Scottish, I know) and intellectually buzzing lads. Now, addressing the elephant in the room: what IS the song really about? My pals, it’s the same meaning as the title – asking someone out except you’re going to be a part of the most Emo relationship ever (the song was released in early 2000’s, what do you expect?). Cleverly coined lyrics, a good amount of dedication and this song is the perfect proposal song for that rock star chick/bloke you’ve been longing after. If they ever happen to call the song ‘out-dated’, MOVE ON, they’re not the one. So if you’re ever lucky enough to be asked out with the smooth assistance of this sell-out, make it a point to never let them go because what have you even got to lose?