The band I’d like to present you today is called Jang Ki Ha and the Faces. This band likes to sap away emotions from their songs as a protest against the melodramatic, emotional porn that’s considered music by many Koreans. If you’re familiar with Korean culture, you’ll be able to easily picture Koreans balling their eyes out, singing Michael Bolton or some other Korean singer replete with weepy emotions. When Jang Ki Ha came to the scene with his talk-singing–resembling Jarvis Cocker and Serge Gainsbourg–young Koreans were enthralled by the breath of fresh air he brought to Korean music. His band often pays homage to the old folk singers of Korea from a few decades ago, who sang meaningful lyrics and philosophy. On top of this rather old school approach to music, he brings in the disillusionment of the younger generation plagued by an insane amount of work–they work all the time, but what is it really for? What do I work for? Status? Does that really give meaning to my life? It doesn’t seem so, when I see so many of my peers committing suicide. It doesn’t seem so, when we’re one of the unhappiest nations in the world. He breathes life in to these sentiments by focusing on the mundane, boring, and rather coarse aspects of life. e.g. watching TV, drinking an old, nasty cup of coffee ’cause he’s a crusty millennial, finding no meaning in life, etc.

Below is a link to the first song I present to you by Jang Ki Ha and the Faces.

TV 를 봤네 music video

눈이 시뻘게질 때까지 TV 를 봤네*

I watched TV until my eyes turned red

아 아 아 그냥 봤네

Ah Ah Ah I just watched it

TV 속 사람들은 기쁘다 슬프다 말도 잘해

Folks on TV express happiness and sadness, they surely know how to talk

아 아 아 참 잘해

Ah Ah Ah. (They) Speak well

무슨 드라마든 쇼프로든 코미디든 뭐든 간에 간에

Dramas*, Talk show, Comedy, whatever it is

아 아 아 뭐든 간에

Ah Ah Ah Whatever it is

일단 하는 동안에는 도대체 만사 걱정이 없는데

While they’re doing it, there’s nothing to worry about

아 아 아 만사 걱정이 없는데

Ah Ah Ah, Nothing to worry about

왜 자막이 올라가는

Why is it that when the credits roll up
그 짧디 짧은 시간 동안에는

–during that short amount of time

하물며 광고에서 광고로 넘어가는

–even from ad to ad

그 없는 거나 다를 바 없는 시간 동안에는

–That time similar to nothingness

아 아 아 아 아 아

Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah

결국 나는 눈이 시뻘게질 때까지 TV 를 봤네

So I watched TV until my eyes turned red

그냥 봤네

I just watched

그러고 보면

Now that I think about it

난 참 웃음이 많어 많네

I laugh pretty easily

아 아 아 참 많어

Ah Ah Ah Very easily

TV 속 사람들의 별스럽지도 않은 농담에도

Folks on TV laugh at vapid jokes**

아 아 아 이렇게 웃음이 나는데

Ah Ah Ah, it makes me laugh like this

왜 자막이 올라가는

Why is it that when the credits roll up

그 짧디 짧은 시간 동안에는

–during that short amount of time

또 보다보다 더 이상 볼 것도 없어서

— finding nothing worth watching

채널만 이리 저리 돌리다가

while I look from channel to channel,

꺼버리고 나면

so I turn off the TV

아 아 아 아 아 아

Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah

아 아 아 아 아 아

Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah

눈이 시뻘게질 때까지 TV 를 봤네

I watched TV until my eyes turned red

아 아 아 그냥 봤네

Ah Ah Ah I just watched it

TV 속 사람들은 기쁘다 슬프다 말도 잘해

Folks on TV express happiness and sadness, they surely know how to talk

아 아 아 참 잘해

*For those who are unfamiliar with Korean culture, many folks watch TV until late at night. Koreans have a vibrant and active night culture, which makes staying up late at night pretty common, even if you’re not going out to clubs. Also, many students stay up late due to such a culture and the colossal amount of studying they do. Thus, popular TV shows do many re-runs until late at night. Plus, it’s very easy to watch popular shows online. It’s very common in Korea for folks to do so.

**Korean TV comedians are famous for laughing at any joke to provide entertainment. Their strategy tends to be laughing for the sake of laughing, rather than laughing at a clever joke. Watch 무한도전 if you want to see examples of that. I like the show, but they definitely laugh a lot more than you would normally at the kinds of jokes they throw around.

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