Sunday, October 13, 2013

50 Most Influential K-pop Artists: 12. Rain

[Series Index]

12. Rain [비]

Years of Activity: 1998-present (last regular album in 2008, last single in 2011)

Discography:
Bad Man [나쁜 남자] (2002)
Rain2 (2003)
It's Raining (2004)
Rain's World (2006)
Rainism (2008)

Representative Song:  How to Escape the Sun [태양을 피하는 방법] from Rain2




태양을 피하는 방법
How to Escape the Sun

울고있는 나의 모습 바보 같은 나의 모습
My crying self, my foolish self
환하게 비추는 태양이 싫어 태양이 싫어
I hate the sun, the sun that illuminates it brightly
누군가 날 알아보며 왜 우냐고 물어보면
When someone recognizes me and asks me why I cry
 대답을 해줄 수 없는게 너무 싫었어
I hated that I could not answer

태양을 피하고 싶어서 아무리 달려봐도
No matter how much I run to escape the sun
태양은 계속 내 위에 있고
The sun stays on top of me
너를 너무 잊고 싶어서 아무리 애를 써도
No matter how much I try to forget you
아무리 애를 써도 넌 내 안에 있어
No matter how much I try, you are inside me

아직도 너의 그 미소 나를 만졌던 그 두 손 그리워하는게 너무 싫어서 너무 싫어서
Because I hate, I hate still longing for your smile, those two hands that touched me
많은 사람들속에서 웃고 애길 나누면서 잊어보려 했지만 또 다시 눈물이 흘렀어
I tried to forget, laughing and talking among people, but a tear fell again

태양을 피하고 싶어서 아무리 달려봐도
No matter how much I run to escape the sun
태양은 계속 내 위에 있고
The sun stays on top of me
너를 너무 잊고 싶어서 아무리 애를 써도
No matter how much I try to forget you
아무리 애를 써도 넌 내 안에 있어
No matter how much I try, you are inside me

모두 다 내가 잊은줄 알아
Everyone thinks I forgot everything
하지만 난 미칠것 같아
But I think I'm going crazy
너무 잊고 싶은데
I really want to forget
지우고 싶은데 그게 안돼
I want to erase; but I cannot

태양을 피하고 싶어서 아무리 달려봐도
No matter how much I run to escape the sun
태양은 계속 내 위에 있고
The sun stays on top of me
너를 너무 잊고 싶어서 아무리 애를 써도
No matter how much I try to forget you
아무리 애를 써도 넌 내 안에 있어
No matter how much I try, you are inside me

(rap)
너무 깊이 박혀 뺄 수 없는 가시같이
Like a thorn that is stuck too deeply to be pulled
너무 깊히 다쳐 나을 수 없는 상처같이
Like a wound that is too deeply injured to be cured
너라는 사람 도무지 지워지질 않지
You simply cannot be erased
헤어져도 같이 살아가는 것같지
Even as we are apart, it is as if we are living together
눈물로 너를 다 흘려서 지워 버릴수만 있다면야
If I could drain you out and erase you with tears
끝없이 울어 내 눈물 강을 이뤄 흐를 정도로
I will cry endlessly to have a flowing river of my tears
많이 울어서라도 너를 잊고 제대로 살고 싶어
I will cry that much to forget to you, and live my life

Translation notes:  The juvenile lyrics is not the result of poor translation; this is one of the dumbest lyrics that the Korean ever had to translate.

In 15 words or less:  Pioneer of K-pop manhood

Maybe he should be ranked higher because...  Is there anyone in K-pop who has gone farther internationally than Rain?

Maybe he should be ranked lower because...  Is he anything more than a pretty face? Did he achieve anything musically?

Why is this artist important?
Why is Rain important? Part of the answer is quite obvious. Before PSY burst onto the scene, Rain was the forerunner of the international expansion of K-pop. When he was not earning a spot in Time magazine's most 100 influential people in the world, Rain filmed a movie that may as well be a feature-length tribute to his ripped abs (i.e. Ninja Assassin.) His repeated appearance on the Colbert Report also made him a cult favorite, penetrating American culture like no other K-pop artist before him did.

But all of the foregoing pales compared to Rain's most significant achievement: he was the blueprint of K-pop manhood. Before Rain, K-pop's international outreach was mostly consisted of female artists, whose appeal did not require them to overcome any pre-existing stereotypes. (If anything, the prevailing stereotypes played in their favor.) In contrast, it took male K-pop artists a longer time to concoct the perfect blend of K-pop and masculinity.

In the end, Rain was the winning formula, the ideal mixture of boyish face, winsome smile, chiseled body, sensitive singing and sensual dancing. In this sense, even after Gangnam Style, Rain remains much more influential than PSY. Since Rain, every internationally-oriented male K-pop star aspired to be some version of Rain; PSY cannot say the same. Considering that those K-pop stars, collectively, are in the process of adjusting the international standard of what constitutes manliness, we may not have seen the full reverberation of Rain's global influence.

Interesting trivia:  Rain finished his military duty on July 10, 2013. During his service, he violated the military code of conduct by meeting with his girlfriend, the top actress Kim Tae-hee, during an official trip outside of the base. As a punishment, Rain was censured for seven days.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

10 comments:

  1. To my fellow members of the Colbert Nation, his name is of course:

    RAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNN!!! *fist shake*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the trivia!!
    I didn't know that he was Kim Tae-Hee's boyfriend... what a lucky guy, she is my first favourite actress. I mainly know him fro the drama Full House, though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. One of my white female friends is crazy about Rain, so crazy that she endured "Ninja Assassin" for him, LOL. She's not some crazy Kpop fan either.

    It's funny because a lot of Koreans think that Rain is ugly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Since Rain, every internationally-oriented male K-pop star aspired to be some version of Rain; PSY cannot say the same."

    I would submit that PSY is an inimitable one-of-a-kind and no matter how talented or driven - no one could ever become a decent version of him. Rain, on the other hand, while extremely talented - can be successfully copied to one degree or another.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rain is very handsome, I have to admit. Like before going to the army, he was stunningly beautiful (for a guy that is). Well, from what I've heard he did violate the military conduct, but not to see his girlfriend, but to visit some bar with.... girls. Not sure how the facts could change so much over time.

    As a member of Colbert Nation, here a link to Colbert's version of the song:

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-collections/418304/stephen-sings-/182950

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he's not the guy who went to some bar during his military service, that was se7en.

      Delete
  6. Oh yea. My first K-pop obsession, along with BoA back in 2004. My Name and It's Raining was my jam. Never saw Ninja Assassin, but he isn't a bad actor, from what I remember from "Full House" and "Cyborg". I still have my signed "It's Raining" CD and photobook. Even with the military fiasco, I still wish him well.

    I do agree that Rain started the "ripped 6-pack" male idol trend. Groups like 2PM and Beast, plus all the shirt-ripping/lifting, pelvic-thrusts in male idol choreography after 2005.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm surprised Rain is ranked so high in Tier 2. Bit much to call him "Best of an Era". If anything, he belongs in Tier 3 with Boa. "Strong Impact" suits him better. His forays into the American scene were mediocre at best. That TIME 100 poll takeover by fans was embarrassing and shows how much TIME magazine has gone to shit. Furthermore, that Colbert appearance was forgettable and if anything, exposed Rain as a generic foreign pop-star. I've always cringed at his self-proclamation as "World Star". Yes, his attempt at the American market was note-worthy as a first of many to come from Korea, but he should still be in Tier 3.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anyway, looking forward to the rest of the series. Was listening to Lee Jung-Hyun's new single the other day and wonder if she'll show up.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rain is whole package. The best Korean singer, dancer and actor. he's one ultimate performer! I could go on and on about him you know.... and ran out of adjectives... What can I say? For me this man's got everything.... except me of course....

    ReplyDelete

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