MV Monday this week celebrates the return of one of the founders of KPop, Seo Taiji. Seo Taiji is due to release his album Quiet Night on October 20th, but amongst his promotional activities are a prerelease track featuring IU.
This track comes from the SOGYEOKDONG Project, a collaboration unlike any other before. This track involves two versions of the track and mv, an IU version and a Seo Taiji version, both with the same themes. IU starts the story here, and Seo Taiji is set to complete it.
Abbey Road Studio’s Miles Showell, who directed mastering of the album, said, “I really love the old and rustic keyboards sound, and it brought lots of old memories back.”
Featuring a slow tempo electronic sound complimented with a strong melody held by IU, SOGYEOKDONG is enchanting.
The lyrics are about SOGYEOKDONG (a neighbourhood of Jongno-gu, Seoul) in the 1980s, and is centred around themes of longing.
Abbey Road Studio’s engineer Miles Showell, whom mastered the track said of it:
I really love the old and rustic keyboards sound, and it brought lots of old memories back.
The 1980s in Korea were pivotal for the country, strict political policy say midnight curfews enforced daily, and monthly air-raid style sirens rang out to signal civil defence practice against an imaginary North Korean attack. Though Korea in the 1980s was set for revolution.
Sogyeok-dong in the 1980s was home to the Korean Defence Security Command and student activists began to rebel against the dictatorship, however many student activists were kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured.
The story is purposely incomplete, Seo Taiji’s version will reveal its ending, but during this first half the young girl gives the boy a note, asking her to meet him once the lights went out. When the siren rings, a siren you may liken to those during the Blitz in which everyone must be in their home, and lights go out, he does go to meet her, both of them defying the curfew.
We are left believing however, that because he cannot find the girl that in her bid to meet the boy she is caught breaking the rules.
This isn’t an often used Kpop narrative, last year the boy group Speed created a moving drama version mv based on the Gwangju Uprising, in which students rebelled against soldiers’ enforcement of marital law and imprisoning students. Speed’s mv tells the story of young men who gave their lives to rescue their arrested girlfriends, and they hoped more young people would be informed about their history though the video.
All of the Speed members were born in the 90s, none having lived through the times they told a story about, Seo Taiji however is 42, born in 1972, growing up in the 1980s.
If you enjoy the refreshing sound of SOGYEOKDONG, and its historical narrative, you’ll find the completion of its story here at UnitedKpop when Seo Taiji releases his part of the track.
Following the release of IU’s half of the unique collaboration, SOGYEOKDONG Project, earlier in the week, Seo Taiji has now completed the track and mv with his cut.
With the same sound as the IU version, SOGYEOKDONG remains a little left of field for the veteran singer, though still works well with his sound.
The story too is essentially the same though we are left with no doubt as to what happens to the young girl in the story.
The mv, set in the 1980s, South Korea at the time saw strict political policy with midnight curfews, signalled by air-raid style sirens, enforced daily.
Sogyeok-dong was home to the Korean Defence Security Command and student activists began to rebel against the dictatorship, many student activists were kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured.
IU’s version of the mv saw the young girl disappear without explanation. Seo Taiji’s version includes flashback scenes to explain her disappearance.
With the radio and the paper on which she writes her note, the implication of her involvement with student activists is strong.
The scene depicting the Defence Security Command raiding her home, and her father trying to resist confirm her fate as one of the members of the public to be imprisoned.
Many fans had hoped the boy and girl represented IU and Seo Taiji, despite IU being half the age of Seo Taiji and not having lived through the 80s. Fans expressed their want for the final scene of Seo Taiji’s mv to be the two reunited when older.
Though just as IU’s mv had ended with her alone, Seo Taiji’s does too. Though not the happy ending wanted by many it is far more fitting, many of those arrested never returned.
If you liked SOGYEOKDONG Project Seo Taiji returns on the 20th October