Back to the Basic: Terri’s Take

Hello lovely Clouds!

Well, it took me awhile, but this morning I was finally able to sit down and give Rain’s Back to the Basic album a good long listen. I took my time, because I wanted to make sure that the feedback I provided came not only from my heart, but also from my head. In other words, I wanted to be able to speak with some intelligence about his work and not sound like a “fan girl,” which is exactly what I would have sounded like if I had said anything at all yesterday.

First of all, let me say that since I’m a relatively new fan of Rain’s, I had no clue where he was going with with this album. Yes, I’ve listened to as much of his older work as I could find. And I have honestly enjoyed all of it. Still, after all of the different Back to the Basic teasers and photos were released (with Rain in long hair, with fake eyelashes, in glitter, and clean-cut) I didn’t know what to think. I just didn’t.

Which I’m predicting is exactly what Rain was going for. That’s right. It’s my take that he didn’t want people to get it. Why? Well, you see, if you drive people crazy with the hype, then they get all flustered and confused, which causes them to abandon all of their expectations.  Then when they finally do get to hear the actual music, they are more likely to be transported “back” to that “basic” place in song we writers call story—where love is painful, where nice guys don’t always get the girl, and where dancing can be a hell of a lot of fun.

So, what’s my take on his music?  Let’s take it track by track.

Love Song (the Korean version), music and lyrics by Rain.

Love Song is a bittersweet ballad that rips our hearts out as 1) we watch the girl he desperately loves leave him forever and 2) we are treated to some of the sexiest choreography I’ve seen in a long, long time (on multiple continents).

As far as #1 goes, why the heck any girl would leave Rain is certainly a mystery to me. But hey, I believed it. Didn’t you?

With regard to #2, those of you who keep comparing his dancing in the music video negatively to a “Chippendale’s” show have obviously never actually experienced a Chippendale’s show, or you would never ever believe that to be a negative. Trust me on this one.

You don’t know how many times I’ve wished our American musicians would break out in some kind of smexy dance number as opposed to glaring morosely at the screen while flexing their underdeveloped biceps. It’s absolutely refreshing that the musicians coming out of Korea aren’t afraid to strut their stuff on stage and give us what we want—performers who can sing and move their butts. Nicely done, Rain!

Hip Song, music by Rain and Bae Jin Ryul (Jr. Groove), lyrics by Rain.

Hip Song truly is hip, with a mix of Hip Hop and Old School that really swings. I can actually see this being a big hit in “da club.” I’m especially eager to seeing the choreography Rain puts to this song. I’ll bet it’s smokin’ hot. If you want to see where I think he was going with this song, just do a search for “Nelly and Fergie—Party People” on YouTube. “Where my party people at?!” Heh, heh.  :-}

One, music by Kim Tae Wan (C-luv) and Jang Young Chan (YC), lyrics by Kim Tae Wan.

In One, Rain delivers up some sweet R&B style vocals and totally convinces his listeners that each one of them is his one and only girl. Super sexy, sweet and totally believable. Really. I did think that the song ended a little abruptly though. It was only three minutes long, so there was room for another repeat of the chorus and some Rain improv there at the end. I’m not sure why he chose to just end the song where he did.  But I still liked it anyway.  So there.

Same, music and lyrics by Kim Tae Wan.

Although I can’t quite figure out the lyrics from the direct translations, the gist of Same seems to be Rain wanting a girl who wants some other guy and not him. And he’s trying to tell he that he wants her, but she’s not listening. Okay, someone please smack this woman upside her head.

This was another cool and easy song that highlighted Rain’s sultry vocals exceptionally well. The “hey, hey” of the backtrack and the “break” were both terrific additions to the sound. Again, this song also ended a little too abruptly for my taste.

Which brings us to:

Love Song (the English version), music and lyrics by Rain.

Okay. Everybody out there knows how much I love Rain, right? Which is why it pains me so greatly to have to say this.  The English version of Love Song is not good.

First of all, let it be known that you should never directly translate anything from one language into another, if you want to be understood properly.  In particular, direct translation should never be done with music.  As a consequence of what I believe to be the direct translation of Love Song from Korean into English, some of the word choices in this song are seriously strange and unromantic.

An example. If one of my ex-lovers was “prowling” around my house while I was away, I’d be getting a restraining order against him, okay?  “Roaming” around is fine.  “Prowling” around is what stalkers do.

And despite the fact that someone somewhere should have taught Rain how to pronounce the word, “intolerable” is a word that should never be used in a romantic song. Ever. “It feels horrible” would have worked.  “It feels terrible” would have worked.  Intolerable did not work.

Yes, it’s obvious he was directly translating this song.  But why?  Who the heck advised him to do that?  He has produced other songs in English before.  Double Dragon Productions did a terrific job with the English versions of Love Story and Rainism.  So good in fact, that I can’t for the life of me figure out why Rain didn’t ask them to create an English version of Love Song for him. It simply blows my mind.  Ah well.

That being said, let me add that the emotion in Rain’s voice actually seemed stronger to me in the English version of Love Song, than in the Korean version.  I’ve heard others say the opposite, so maybe it was simply because this version was in my own language?  And of course, the music and the dancing was spectacular in both versions.

The bottom line?  Overall, I found Back to the Basic to be an entertaining mini-album that I’m sure will delight Rain fans all over the world.  It certainly delighted me, and I can’t wait to get my pre-ordered copy.  Then all I have to do is stay calm until he completes his next projects.

In the meantime, I do hope Rain gets to take a well-deserved break, don’t you?  After all, he has been working really hard.  It would be nice if he was able to sit back, relax, and bask in the glow of a job well done for awhile, before being called to his next adventure.

Wishing you all many Rainy days,

Terri :-}

~ by Cloud USA on April 7, 2010.

8 Responses to “Back to the Basic: Terri’s Take”

  1. Interesting, Haley! I should have known there was a good reason why Roy and Elmo weren’t involved. Thanks for the info.

    And thanks for representing–letting them know how much we want them to work with Rain again. I honestly can’t picture a better threesome when it comes to a product.

    Stephe ^@@^


  2. I was just chatting with Double Dragon and they were asked to work on tnis with RAIN, but there were time constraints! I made sure that Roy knows how much we want to see them working with RAIN on the larger album that is to come out next! We will keep our fingers crossed!!!!!!


  3. Absolutely, Double Dragon should have been the choice for the English version…I agree, some of the wording seems really awkward, they surely could have done a better job. But, hey, none of us are perfect, including RAIN, but we love him anyway (like who won’t, he, he)!


  4. Cuckoo,

    Thank you for the response. I hope I didn’t sound too harsh in my post. My intent was not to hurt Rain’s feelings, but to help move him closer towards achieving his goal of succeeding in the U.S. music industry.

    I think what confused me the most was that I had already heard the English versions of “Love Story” and “Rainism,” and both of those songs sounded wonderful. They were produced by the Chong brothers, at Double Dragon Productions. The Chongs did a terrific job translating the Korean lyrics of both songs into English. They did NOT try to directly translate the songs. Instead, they tried to keep the intent of the songs’ messages while staying within their arrangements. Both songs worked beautifully.

    So when the direct translations of Love Song kept being posted everywhere on the Internet, I just kept telling myself to wait until the English version was released, to wait for the real thing, because I was sure it would be better. It wasn’t.

    Whatever JTune’s reasoning may have been, I just don’t get it. If Rain’s wish is to be successful in the U.S. music industry, then why would he make what I think is such a critical mistake at this point in his career? He’s a very smart guy, so it doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t.

    Terri :-}


    • Terri,
      I love your comment. It’s fair and your examples are good. You are not hurting Rain. He needs us to tell him how to polish his sword if he wants to succeed at the US market, either movie or music.
      Obviously,we have the same opinions about the Eng version Love Song. I think the English lyric writer has never lived in the country other than Korea. He knows English but probably didn’t understand the culture very well. He just translate the meaning from one to another. The tone is the most difficult part. He really didn’t do the good job.


  5. I vote for the Chong brothers (Double Dragon) too. What a beautiful version that would make!

    Stephe ^@@^


  6. Hi Terri,
    About your comment on “Love Song (Eng version)”, I totally agree with you. In fact, I have already reflected to J.Tune or Rain about the direct translation from Korean to English didn’t work at all when they did it on “Love Story (Eng)”. Perhaps, they have their own thought. I don’t understand why it needs exact lyrics in two different versions. In my opinions, unless they remix or rearrange the song, it might work but it’s not worth though. Hopefull, Rain will work with new composer and lyric writer exclusive for English song in his future album.


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