Friday, September 9, 2011

My lights are blinking.

There are times when you hear a song and it immediately captures your imagination. 강아지 by 검정치마 (The Black Skirts) is one of those songs.

The melody is fun and rousing, and the English chorus is supremely catchy. But the thing that engaged my imagination was the fact that I couldn't really seem to simply wrap my head around what it was all about. The message wasn't abundantly clear.

Subsequently, I ended up listening to it again and again in an attempt to decipher the meaning behind the lyrics, because it just felt like there was something there, but I kept getting distracted by the mood and the flow of the song. It tricks you into mouthing the words without knowing what the bigger picture is.

It is clear that the lyrics are interesting. They're fun and idiosyncratic, and they have that subversive quality to them so indicative of the indie genre. A couple things keep you from seeing the bigger picture. The lyrics lack a sense of cohesion. They seem chaotic and disjointed, fractured by the chorus, but mostly they are usurped by the catchy melody and overall upbeat tone of the song.

Without the breaks and the tune, it turns out that it's a fairly straightforward anecdotal narrative.

"시간은 스물아홉에서 정지 할 거야" 라고 친구들이 그랬어. 나도 알고 있지만 내가 열아홉살 때도 난 스무살이 되고 싶진 않았어. 모두 다 무언가에 떠밀려 어른인 척 하기에 바쁜데, 나는 개 나이로 세살 반이야. 모르고 싶은 것이 더 많아.

우리가 알던 여자애는 돈만 쥐어주면 태워주는 차가 됐고, 나는 언제부터인가 개가 되려나 봐, 손을 델 수 없게 자꾸 뜨거워. 반갑다고 흔들어 대는 것이 내 꼬리가 아닌 것 같아. 사랑은 아래부터 시작해 척추를 타고 올라온 거야. 짖어대는 소리에 놀라서 도망가지마. 무서워서 그런 거야, 나는 아직 아무것도 모르니까.

If your lights are blinking and you're running low, come on, get filled up so you can drive away with my love.

The imagery is fantastic. The extended metaphors of the main character being a dog and his love interests, past and prospective, being a car are particularly whimsical.

By likening himself to a dog he emphasizes his reluctance to shoulder the responsibilities of adulthood even at the age of 29. After all, as a dog, as a young dog as the title "강아지" suggests, who would expect him to know better? Especially when it concerns the intricacies of romantic relationships between humans. And even as he distances himself from defining himself as an adult male, he still desires that closeness as he asks for "you" to not run away.

The only little nagging question left is my mind is that it's still unclear from the song itself if he's asking us to drive away with his love or to get filled up with his love?

if your lights are blinking
and you're running low
come on get filled up
so you can drive away
with my love
with my love

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