For the past 2 weeks, I’ve reverted back in time to the classic Korean music days. In those days, music videos were like love stories to be analyzed. No sweaty singers on stage flaunting their washboard abs and sexy, skinny legs. Music in the early 21st century were sappy ballad songs, like what the Taiwanese are so well at singing nowadays. I’ve taken a hiatus to today’s K-pop craze to take a dip in bygone Korean music.
And I have fallen in love with SG Wannabe. The first time I listened to them was maybe sophomore year of college, when my fobby roommate introduced me to their song “Only Wind, Only Wind.” She told me, “Oh, they have REALLY good voices but not the best looking men in Korea.” Okay, I took not-so-lightly and did not expand beyond that Korean song for the longest time. I think I even got tired and bored with SG Wannabe, so I just stuck with Taiwanese music.
However, things changed around May 27th, 2011. I was in my Pathology lab lecture, and I was browsing on the Internet for Asian gossip. I found my way onto Asian Fanatics after a long vacation. The first news story I saw was “Chae Dong Ha Found Dead.” I thought to myself, “Huh, another suicide in the Korean entertainment circle?” When I read further, I realized he was a former member of the all-time Korean band, SG Wannabe. I was shocked and saddened. Apparently, he was found dead in his apartment after hanging himself. For years, he has been suffering from depression, and two years ago, he was deeply affected by his manager’s suicide. And so began my interest in SG Wannabe.
SG Wannabe stands for “Simon and Garfunkel – Wannabe.” They are way more handsome than Simon and Garfunkel. And I don’t know what my former roommate was talking about, how they’re ‘ugly.’ I think they are rather fine looking young men. I should’ve fell in love with their voices much earlier so I wouldn’t be inundating my iTunes with their music all at once. I would’ve been a veteran fan, and not a noob SG Wannabe fan, because I have a hell of a lot of SG Wannabe stuff to catch up on now.
They debuted in 2004, with members Chae Dong Ha, Kim Jin Ho, and Kim Yong Jun. Quickly becoming popular, they were a rather mysterious group, only heard but not seen. Early in their careers, they made few live performances, citing they preferred fans to appreciate their voices and not their physical appearances. What a selling point! In almost all their music videos, they never appeared. Instead, the MVs came in multiple parts in a mini-movie fashion. It’s like watching a typical Korean romantic drama in the span of 10 minutes and SG Wannabe singing in the background. Never before have I had to work so hard to analyze the videos for underlying themes and meaning, mainly because I know very minimal Korean.
In the coming days, I shared my sadness with my sister. We went on a Youtube rampage looking up their all-time hits. We fostered a newfound appreciation for SG Wannabe after a tragic event. The first song we watched was “내사람 Nae Saram (Partner for Life),” because it had the most views and Kelly yelped, “Hey! It’s Dong Wan from Shinhwa! Let’s watch this!” Little did she know she was unleashing inner monsters within the both of us… I’ve been addicted for the past two weeks to the video and live performance. Studying for my Pathology finals, I had my iTunes set on repeat with my top SG Wannabe songs and a separate window for watching Youtube videos while studying my powerpoints. I’d like to say it’s a foolproof, productive method to success in medical school, well at least on a short-term basis!
Truthfully, SG Wannabe is a truly unique group. Their voices are sent straight from the heavens, soothing and spine-tingling. Really, their powerful vibratos and glass-shattering octaves gave me the shivers because it was THAT good. They sing with such passion that their jugular and temporal veins are about to burst. The last time I saw such passion was DBSK with “Love in the Ice” and “How Did I Fall in Love With You?” and those were with dripping sweat. SG Wannabe, they serenaded and belted high-pitched tunes with such passion. Unbelievable, truly unbelievable. They are a mix of the Italian greats, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti, and Chinese opera singers. That’s how fabulously talented they are.
Over time, while watching these old SG Wannabe performances, I would start tearing up. The reality of tragedy struck me, the death of a talented, well-loved singer, the permanence of his absence. Chae Dong Ha will forever be missed =(
SG Wannabe+ (2004): Timeless **
Saldaga (살다가) (While You Live) (2005)
– Sin and Punishment 죄와벌
– While You Live 살다가
The 3rd Masterpiece (2006) ** Awesome album!
– Crime and Punishment (죄와벌)
– As We Live (살다가)
– Partner for Life (내 사람) **
– Slow (느림보)
– Song of Love (사랑가)
– Even If I Could See You (그저 바라볼 수만 있어도)
– Ordinary People
– Untouchable **
– Gone with the Wind (바람과 함께 사라지다)
The Sentimental Cord (2007): Arirang 아리랑
Happy listening =)