Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do you love love songs?

John Cusack in the beginning of High Fidelity has a moment of clarity about life and music. He is sad and reflects on pop music and how depressing it really can be and says something like, “Did I listen to pop music because I was depressed or was I depressed because I listened to pop music? Who knows?”

I recently had a similar question to ponder in my mind concerning Korea and love. Let me first say, far as I am concerned America is home of poppish songs with catchy words and melody (and now for younger people hip-hop). Africa is king for dance music and music with cool beats. But Korea, well, I think it has to be home of the ultra corny love song.

I found this out when I recently went to a ‘Norebang’ or ‘Singing Room’. It was end of the long and dreaded winter intensive and we all went to party. After a huge meal and a couple bars and many drinks, there we were spending the wee hours of the night (or start to the morning) singing our winter intensive stress away. After a couple songs, I was noticing a pattern. Everyone was picking cheesy love songs and then I would pick a fun song like Joy to the World. I was singing about bullfrogs and wine and they were singing about ‘the one’ that they just couldn’t live without. These weren’t even love songs like Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. These songs, in both words and melody went more like, “I will always love you, and need you, and cherish you, and have to have you by my side, so I can’t live without you even for a minute of a day of a year because you mean so much to me, forever, and ever because you and me baby are made for each other perfectly and it is the most right thing since the beginning of time and you are my only true love ever.”

This type of thing went on and on until at the end of the night after two hours of the singing room we had a count of 3 fun songs by me and 22 intensely devoted love songs by them and with a total 0 songs of any other kind thrown in.

So, I can’t help but wonder if my other observations about dating and love in Korea and just how different, funny, and intense it can be compared to American dating is at all related to the music. Dating here as explained to me by Koreans is often times such a big deal and people are so intense on finding the one that they can spend years without having a date because their standards are so high. When they do find somebody they like, it can again take months or years to express it, and then the dating process itself can also be very intense. I think everyone here is looking for “the one” and is a little stressed out when they haven’t found him/her. So, I sit back and wonder, “Is the dating in Korea so melodramatic/conservative because the music is so sappy or is the music so sappy because the dating is just not laid back enough?” Or then again maybe everything here is perfect and I am just lost in a sea of misunderstanding when it comes to finding the one.