Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Am A Singer 나는 가수다 Has Won Me Over

A while ago I asked whether that show, "I am a Singer" is a ghastly spectacle, trotting out great old singers and making a spectacle of them competing in a "survivor" type show.

Some people argued that it wasn't like that at all: more of a celebration of music.

Well... I'm convinced. I've been converted, I've jumped the bandwagon, and I'm on board with both feet. The show is not only topping the ratings charts since it came back from a one-month break, but my wife's been watching it in the other room while I study, and at least once per episode, I've overheard a song I've liked quite a lot.

Here's Yoon Do-hyeon (윤도현) (famous for singing the 2002 World Cup Song) doing an AWESOME version of SNSD's most melodic song:

Thanks to copyright claims, this is the best video I can embed of the song:

And if other videos on this post get taken down... go to Google or and search them. Keeping up with videos pulled by Korean network copyright claims is like a game of whack-a-mole, and if the networks don't want me giving their show and artists free publicity, I guess I won't.

임재범 (Lim Jae-Beom) - 빈잔 Binjan - he went straight to the hospital after singing this song, because he was so sick when he sang... but not before delivering an inside-the-park homerun.

(Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering about the musicianship of these guys, have a listen to the original song: these singers are really bringing it.)

This show is, sez Wifeoseyo, giving us a look at these artists, and these songs, that we've never seen before... I saw an 이소라 (Lee Sora) concert a while ago (review coming, if I can bear to write about something so lovely).. and she spent the whole time seated, which is usually how she does things.  But in today's episode, she actually danced!  (if somebody has a link to that video, I haven't been able to find it yet: just drop it in the comments, thanks).

It's also really satisfying to hear these songs - these celebrations of song - in coffee shops, and other public places, where one used to be able to count on hearing bubblegum pop songs from interchangable girl or boy-bands.

Here's another one. The original song: "Number One" by Boa - a perfectly good song.
By the amazingly-voiced Lee Sora: --it's like Neko Case taking a song by Wilson Philips and breaking your heart.

So... if you see it while you're channel surfing, check out what's good about Korean pop music. 나는가수다 means "I am a singer" and if you search it on's front page, you'll get a bunch of video results as well. Most of which aren't embeddable (grumble grumble).


Unknown said...

Youtube has every single video available. And kudos to you for liking Run Devil Run... all my colleagues hated it and I thought I was the only one D:

Roboseyo said...

Oh, Run Devil Run isn't SNSD's best song. Just their most melodic.


wizwidz said...

Hi, Rob! I also watch this show. I can admit I am very much a fan of the show. I always try to watch it live. I like it and because of this show idols are worried a lot :D I also like the YB's version of Run Devil Run. Kudos to all who like this show!

This Is Me Posting said...

Checking your lyrics on your iPhone is fuckin' boss. Rock cover of RDR is equally boss. That video was so full of win.

Lorne said...

I firmly believe that this show is the most important thing to hit the Korean music scene in many, many years. It shows real singers touting their craft, real musical chops in making arrangements, and focuses on real lyrics that often move people (including me) to tears of appreciation. It is so important for younger Koreans to see something other than post-pubescent girls (and androgynous boys) scamper about a stage to half-assed choreography and nonsensical lyrics with wickedly bad Konglish.

I work with a lot of bands in Hongdae and I can testify to the fact that many of them are watching their son-baes bust it out. YB rocks all the time and I thought Run Devil Run was bloody brilliant. But by far, Im Jaebeom is my favorite though; he has an amazing voice, impeccable timing, and charisma out the wazoo. I hope he can cycle back in soon after his appendectomy surgery. Lee Sora has really stepped out of her comfort zone, BMK is doing her best with an audience that doesn't appreciate jazz, and I was mightily impressed with Ok Juhyun's first showing. The ballady boys (and the lovely but too-aegyo Baek Junghyun)are good but the don't move me like the others do. That other new guy JK-something has apparently been cursed with always being compared to (and failing) Im Jaebum and that showed in his performance; it was good, but not as good as the real thing ;)

Unknown said...

roboseyo : Nah, I get flamed because I don't like SNSD. But I just really enjoyed YDH's remake of the song...

btw your second video got killed.

Roboseyo said...

Thanks, SS.

The Korean networks are kind of jerks about copyrighted content on non-proprietary portals.

Like NBC in America.

Suzy in Seoul said...

FYI, Daum has a deal with the show and puts up unedited vids (i.e. clips with no audience reaction shots)of just the singers' performances after the broadcast. All the previous performances and highlights are available as well. Plus, it's legal so no worry of the clips being taken down. You do have to download the Daum Player, btw.

*Peeps who can't read Korean : click the second menu button titled 동영상

Suzy in Seoul said...

Leaving the link again:

wookie919 said...

Stumbled on your blog while I was Googling after creating an English based fansite for "I am a Singer". This show has completely won me over as well, but it was probably easier for me to relate to it as I am a Korean. I could not agree more with Lorne's comment below. The current Korean music industry is completely skewed towards the idol groups.