There is definitely a certain type of song that gets me all emotion…like totally emo. We’ve all heard them, I’ve put a few of them up here or mentioned them in passing or forced them onto many of you in one way or another. But sometimes I stumble across a song from out of nowhere and it changes the game. I hear the first few notes and think, “Eh, it’s alright, but not my thing.” And then…then, something happens. A certain feel, a set of lyrics, a voice crack at just the right moment, and WHAM I’m feeling it so much it’s almost hard to breathe. I collect these songs on a playlist I call flutter…because they make my little heart palpitate. The playlist is a hodgepodge of songs that all mean something to me, either from a specific moment in my life or just in general. It includes songs from all over the world and in a few different languages. I love it and I hate it. It makes me feel things and I go back to it over and over and over.
One of the songs on that list surprises me every time it comes on. It’s from Kim Sung Kyu’s (A.K.A Sunggyu) solo album ‘27’ released in 2015. Kim Sung Kyu is the leader and main vocalist of Woollim’s group Infinite (like you don’t know who Infinite are….(my god, sometimes I’m too academic for my own good). Growing up, this guy wanted to be a musician pretty desperately. He lived all of the tropes we see in idol dramas, had a high school band, had disapproving parents, moved to Seoul on his own as soon as he graduated high school, failed his first audition, and then befriended, by coincidence, the manager of his favorite band, Nell, in a coffee shop. He auditioned at Woollim with a stomach ache and was rushed to the hospital immediately after to have an appendectomy. Are you freaking kidding me? Who does this happen to? He received news of his acceptance as a trainee on the day he was released from the hospital. His friends teased him as a sellout but he saw it as an opportunity to reach his dream. Cue montage of long hours practicing.
Both of Kim Sung Kyu’s solo albums were heavily influenced, written, and/or produced by members of Nell so they have a bit of edge that Kpop solo albums frequently lack. Admittedly, they’re a bit poppier than I would normally lean toward when I’m looking for some feels, but Kontrol is really the exception to that. I tend to really like super sad lyrics when I’m feeling down about something (because I’m a 15-year-old girl in the full throws of puberty) and apparently it doesn’t matter if those lyrics are even in English. I’ve been listening to this song since 2015 and didn’t bother to look up the translation until recently. It’s heartbreaking. Boy loves girl, girl leaves, boy keeps girl shaped place in his life hoping she’ll return. This is totally me. I have so many people-shaped holes in my heart, I am like freaking lacey swiss cheese. Now I love this song even more.
Kim Sung Kyu, Kontrol