Roundtable: White Day Serenades
It was never the easiest of choices: three chocolates, three biases, no compromises. But you managed to overcome self-sabotage and a crippling exercise in elimination to gift said chocolates to three of your favourite Korean celebrities. Mission Success! After hand delivering the chocolates, you virtually float home in a state of ethereal bliss. However, your feet come closer and closer to the ground as the 14th of March approaches: White Day. Will your affections be returned?
Fear of rejection plagues you during the month in between, but your anxiety dissipates once you see the neatly wrapped package on your doorstep. There’s no sender identified, but who cares — you got a White Day present! Taking it inside, you tear open the package to find… a Walkman? What, no chocolate? Not even something from this decade? What is this ancient relic — Oh! There’s a cassette inside, with your name on it… You cautiously press play (and grab a nearby pencil just in case), but the tape smoothly winds and unwinds, playing for you a mixtape. You sit transfixed, yet moved by the music; each and every song is beautiful, but three songs in particular stand out: your favourite romantic tunes.
What are those three songs for you?
Amy: I’m going to cheat and just name one song, because this is easily the most beautiful and romantic love song to me, and I can live without hearing any other: Exo’s “Angel” (Chinese lyrics, Korean lyrics).
The first time I read the lyrics, I cried. Huge kudos to Lu Han and Baekhyun for singing those two opening lines perfectly, as I do think that the song is special because of the opening lines.
Fannie: I wanted to love “Angel” (especially since I am in love with Lu Han’s vocal timbre) but it bothers the hell out of me that the first sung note of the song starts before the keyboard chimes in. The fact that it’s out-of-sync really ruins the rest of the otherwise-gorgeous song for me. I’m sure it was intentional on their part, but I don’t personally see any justifiable reason (artistically) why the composer would choose to do so. There’s a time and a place for playing around with syncopation, but it shouldn’t have been done with “Angel.”
Amy: I think it’s perfect the way it is, and it definitely syncs up as soon as Lay/Suho start their lines, but doesn’t add to the lines any more than it being out-of-sync does to subtract from Lu Han/Baekhyun’s.
Gaya: I think that part would really irritate me if I were the one singing it; as it is, I think I’ll just sit back and admire Lu Han and Baekhyun for pulling it off so well, because it really does grab your attention.
For me, my first favorite would be “Beautiful” by Super Junior‘s Donghae because I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. The English lyrics alone were cheesy enough to get my heart fluttering but when I read the full translation I basically melted. Plus, I find Donghae’s voice extremely relaxing, and the fact that he composed this himself makes this song that much more romantic to me. Block B‘s “Romantically/Dreams Come True” would be next because while the original by Cho PD is already great, Taeil‘s smooth crooning in the Block B version brings it to another level – that scatting at the end blew me away. And my third favorite would be Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry Answer” because it is just one hot song. The harmonies in the chorus are great, KRY are great, and Donghae’s whisper rap at the end seals the deal.
And all these songs work perfectly in my scenario because it just so happens that I gave my chocolates to Donghae, U-Kwon, and Yoo Young-jin (though hopefully the mixtape came from one of the first two).
1. Baek Ji-young‘s “Don’t Forget.” I’ve never seen IRIS, but this song gets to me every time — Baek isn’t the “Queen of Ballads” for nothing. It’s a good one for the noraebang too.
2. IU‘s “L’amant.” Last Fantasy is just one well-curated album. This song has a tinge of those Blue Note sounds, which I really like.
3. Jaejoo Boys‘ “Save the Last Dance for Me.” A more upbeat tune, simply because I wouldn’t want a soppy mix!
Lindsay: If I were ever to be in love with an idol, or an idol in love with me, I can only imagine there would be more pain than happiness in the relationship. If my White Day mix-tape came from someone on my Valentine’s chocolate game list, Sung-jae from BTOB for example, these would be the songs I would connected to most:
1. VIXX‘s “I Don’t Want To Be An Idol“
2. B.A.P‘s “Secret Love“
3. SHINee’s “Noona Neomu Yeppeo (Replay)“
The first two have a similar message, both talking about the hardships of being in love while being an idol, knowing it is impossible to have a normal relationship but still loving the person despite that. And the last song, well, I’m older than almost all boy groups I am biased towards nowadays so it seems appropriate (and it is a super cute song).
1. Block B’s “11:30.” I love the sound of this song, and if done right, it would completely melt me.
2. Super Junior’s “From U” (minus Leeteuk‘s ridiculous introduction and ending lines, which would work out since I don’t want Leeteuk to be singing to me.) It’s a lighthearted song with love, appreciation, and a solid beat. What more could I want, that is, aside from the above mentioned. And I have a major soft spot for when Super Junior KRYED and any subunit within happens.
3. B.A.P’s “Dancing in the Rain.” Okay, this is one of those crack choices with lyrics that really aren’t that great, but I couldn’t resist. If someone sang this to me, it’d be because they know that I’d get a kick out of it since this song and its lyrics amuse me oh so much.
Jasper: GAH, so hard choosing. Bom‘s “You and I” and OnSica’s “One Year Later” was THIS close to making it…
As a huge sucker for sappy and sentimental ballads, I have a considerable list of romantic songs to choose from as my favorites. But if I were to limit my choices to three, I would probably say the following:
1. Juniel and Yonghwa‘s “Fool.” Such a warm and cozy song, yet it’s so swoon-worthy as well. Sure, it’s lyrics are a little simplistic and naive, but it’s surprising how accurate it could be, especially when it comes to young love. I absolutely adore duets, and delivery-wise, Juniel and Yonghwa do not disappoint at all.
2. Sandeul‘s “Crush.” Okay, this choice may or may not have been solely because of my unerring bias for B1A4‘s Sandeul, but I have an inexplicable sweet spot for the song nonetheless. It’s sweet and delightfully honest, and Sandeul’s voice is just sheer perfection.
3. Narsha‘s “I’m in Love” While all of the Brown Eyed Girls surely deserve more fame and credit for what they offer in K-pop, I really think that Narsha’s voice is severely underrated. It’s so delicate yet so strong and stable at the same time, and it really shines in subtler and softer tracks like this. Narsha really knows how to tell a story with her voice, and you can just feel her emotion through this song. While I would never trade off Narsha’s quirky adult-dol image, sometimes I really wish she gets the chance to sing more songs like this, since they’re absolutely spectacular.
Nicholas: I’m going for some left-of-field choices here:
1. Yoo Jae-ha‘s “You By My Side.” The lyrics are pure poetry even in translated form and I love how he compared his lover to all the various little beautiful moments of the world and simply showcased her beauty that way. For the ultimate in starry eyed moments I choose the Jung Yeop cover.
2. Kim Hyun-sik‘s “Love Love Love.” The song that best describes the rough and tumble bitter sweet moments of love and how it brings great pleasure and sorrow but still be so tempting. Different covers bring different approaches but I would stick with the original.
3. Clazziquai‘s “Romeo & Juliet.” As, sadly, sometimes love is not meant to be I would choose this as that track to round out the mixtape as I ponder on great loves that were not meant to be whether through fate or other factors.
Gaya: My mixtape would without a doubt include SHINee‘s “Your Name.” A certain someone whispers “nol saranghae” at the end and Onew‘s lyrics are sweet, but soothing backing vocals and the chirping of birds at the start are what do it for me; it’s just a really soft and pleasant song to listen to.
I also find cherry blossoms to be terribly romantic, so naturally Busker Busker‘s “Cherry Blossom Ending” would be in my top three; it’s such a sweet, laid-back song, and I love the use of harmonica here.
And finally, including SNSD‘s “The Great Escape” would have the benefit of being a different genre to the previous two songs. I like a man who has no problem with expressing himself through a “girl song,” but I’ve always been partial to the “genderbent” version of “The Great Escape,” too.
Fannie: I tend to gravitate towards love songs that have a classic and timeless feel. Shin Seung-hun‘s “I Believe” from the My Sassy Girl soundtrack has always been a go-to romance song for me. Alongside that, there’s also Ra.D‘s “I’m In Love” as well as Jung Yeop (Brown Eyed Soul)’s “Nothing Better” (which also seems to be a rite-of-passage song for virtually every single male idol to cover at least once during their career).
Nabeela: For, this song would have to be “Happy Birthday” by B.A.P. because, 1) I cry tears of blood for anything B.A.P. related and 2) for anything Bang Yong-guk related, and also because 3) White Day just happens to be my birthday. So this song would just about kill two birds with one stone for me.
(YouTube (as linked/embedded), FNC Entertainment, Stardom Entertainment, LOEN Entertainment, MNB, Nega Network, Arena, Maypole. Ra.D image: credit to owner)