It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. The eyes are, after all, the conduit between the outside world and a persons’ inner self. Almost everything has to go through the eyes before it can be internalized. Sometimes, though, that goes the other way, with otherwise concealed thoughts and actions bleeding through that most expressive part of the face. This month, Music & Lyrics is taking a look at how we take a look.

A duet between Super Junior’s Yesung and Kyuhyun, “Your Eyes” is all about the perception of those who matter and how it comes back to you. They tell the story of a man who cheated, and is now desperately pleading to win her back.

Before the seasons roll by, before even time fades away
I try to convey my heart to you but it’s too late
I hesitate and stop and then you’re crushed
If you’re still there, I’m an idiot, forgive me

They are filled with guilt and shame over their actions, because they are forced to see themselves from her perspective. Whatever rationalizations they used are stripped away, replaced with her agony, her betrayal, and her pain. Even as they plead for a second chance, she now sees them as cheaters, tinging the song with hopelessness as they are forced to confront what kind of people they really are and how that impacts their relationship moving forward.

Then there’s A Pink‘s “Eyes”. While A Pink are also concerned with how a partner sees them, they are more concerned with how they see their partner seeing them.

I like seeing myself reflected in your eyes
So I wish you would always look at me
Fill me up in your eyes
I’m right in front of you, look in my eyes
When I look into your eyes
Why does my heart hurt?

They have a slow deflation of their relationship, forced to acknowledge that things aren’t working. They loved seeing how their partner saw them in the beginning — a shiny, happy, light-filled version of themselves, exemplifying how a partner sees the best in you. However, things have gotten worse, with their partner looking less and less. He has checked out and started taking A Pink for granted. Where they used to light up his eyes, he now barely sees them at all.

Of course, sometimes the eyes are a warning, as in Sejeong‘s “Tiger Eyes”. She took one look at his eyes and pegged him as a predator — someone dangerous, cold-hearted, and not to be approached lightly. His eyes are a clear warning. And yet, approach she does, sneaking up on him carefully and quietly.

Tiger eyes, your pitch black heart
Silently I come closer (come closer)
Tiger eyes, your pitch black heart
With eyes open I silently
Deep in the night, tiger eyes

These lyrics make it clear Sejong has clocked that this guy is bad news, and has decided to go in anyway. She sees the darkness and danger as appealing, willing to take the risk for the thrill she gets. After all, just because someone is warned does not mean they will listen.

The opposite perspective can be seen in Shinee‘s “Odd Eye”. Here, they are the predators, tracking the apple of their eye. She has managed to catch every eye in the room, while they are stuck watching and waiting.

You don’t have to say it
Your eyes already told me your secret
Slowly turn your head,
look into my eyes
In the end,
you stole all the eyes in this place

They are convinced that if she would just look at them, she would fall for them. They are convinced that their eyes will win her over with love and admiration, seemingly oblivious to how most women would actually read their intentions here: as entitlement and ownership. They are charismatic enough to seem seductive, but the underlying sense of creepiness is too strong to be ignored.

Then there are the times when two people of matching intentions manage to lock eyes and a lifetime is lived in a heartbeat. One such case is Rainbow‘s “Eye Contact”.

When our eyes meet, my eyes trapped
When I’m breathing anxiously, I can’t breathe easily
Your heart acts so sweet
Today, this is me being teased

There is no physical contact here, and barely a whisper exchanged. This is just two people who seem to understand in an instant how things are going to go down between them. The anticipation and need to savor plays against the immediacy of the connection. One moment of eye contact and they read each other flawlessly, able to negotiate the ensuing hook-up without having to speak.

The eyes can say a thousand things, and these are merely a handful. What are your favorite K-pop songs all about the eyes?

(Lyrics via ColorCodedLyrics [1], [2], Popgasa!, Genius, LyricsTranslate, Images via Woolim Entertainment, SM Entertainment, DSP Media)