The Korea Herald


Timeless tunes reworked with trendy spin by young musicians

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : Feb. 20, 2024 - 14:27

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Hong Joo-chan (Woolim Entertainment) Hong Joo-chan (Woolim Entertainment)

Masterpieces stand the test of time, retaining their value and significance throughout the ages. Songs from the 1970s to the 2000s are these days gaining new life through reinterpretations by junior singers.

Hong Joo-chan, a member of the boy group Golden Child, released solo digital single "Still Thinking About You" on Sunday. It is a remake of ballad singer Lee Jung-bong's debut album title track, which was released in 1996.

The original song gained huge popularity, mesmerizing listeners with Lee's delicate voice and sorrowful lyrics, and has been reinterpreted by various singers several times, even before Hong's remake.

The recent remake version starts calmly with a piano melody and was rearranged to highlight Hong's calm voice. Unlike the original song, which wrapped the vocals with a dreamy sound, the remake fills the first part by focusing on the piano and vocals. The second half of the song bursts with emotion via a new, trendy rhythm and intense string section. Hong’s dramatic vocals make it seem as if the listeners are watching a drama.

KCM (Image 9 Communications) KCM (Image 9 Communications)

KCM, a ballad singer who recently released his 20th debut anniversary album, has released a remake of legendary singer Yim Jae-beum's masterpiece, "For You."

"For You" is the title song of Yim Jae-beum's fourth studio album, "Story Of Two Years,” from 2000, and was also used in the movie "Ditto," which was released in the same year and has been loved for more than 20 years. While Yim's original rendition carries a distinct quality, KCM's reinterpretation shines with his commanding vocals, skillful use of high notes, and grand orchestra sound.

Aespa's remake of Aespa's remake of "Regret of the Times" (SM Entertainment)

“Regret of the Times,” a 1995 song by Seo Tai-ji and Boys, a groundbreaking trio led by iconic producer and vocalist Seo Tai-ji, was reborn as a remake by girl group aespa. Aespa dropped the remake of “Regret of the Times” on Jan. 15.

Until the mid-1990s, all popular music was censored before its release. The government had demanded that the lyrics of "Regret of the Times" be edited, as it claimed they contained distrust and criticism toward older generations. Seo, who had written the lyrics and composed music, decided to release instrumental versions of the songs, removing all of the lyrics out of protest. This incident raised public awareness about the problem of government censorship, and eventually led to the Constitutional Court’s ruling abolishing the mandatory pre-release censorship system of popular songs in 1996. The complete version of the song with the original lyrics was released in June 1996, after Seo Tai-ji and Boys had disbanded.

The exciting alternative rock sound of the original song was elaborately reinterpreted through unique trendy pop sounds. Compared to the original song, which is full of intense drum and guitar sounds, the remake added relatively slow parts that focus on the vocals and highlight the rapping with hip-hop rhythms.

Kim Sung-kyu (DoubleH TNE) Kim Sung-kyu (DoubleH TNE)

Boy band Infinite's leader, Kim Sung-kyu, unveiled three remake digital singles from late January to early February.

The first song is a remake of rock band Jaurim’s "I am Sorry, I Hate You," which was released in 1998. The opening of the original song, which began with Kim Yoon-ah’s dreamy, whispering vocals, has changed with the rich use of instruments and Kim's calm vocals. Kim preserved the original melody as much as possible, but added new elements such as contemporary synth-pop piano, drums and other rock sounds.

The Sand Pebbles -- a popular rock band from the 1970s and 1980s -- made their debut with "What Should I Do" in 1977. The remake of this song boldly has transformed it into a new city-pop-style track. Kim has added a twist to the song with rough, high-tone vocals at the end.

The finale of the remake project is Lee So-ra’s "The Wind is Blowing," a song released in 2004. This remake maintains a dreamy, yet lonesome atmosphere, focusing on the poetic lyrics of the song.