Old Time Love (옛사랑), Love like A Ray of Sunshine (사랑은 한줄기 햇살처럼)

Morning Dew 1

Old Time Love (옛사랑, 1991) and Love like A Ray of Sunshine (사랑은 한줄기 햇살처럼, 1988) are songs composed by Lee Young Hoon (이영훈, 1960-2008) and sung by Lee Moon Sae (이문세, 1958-). They are two of the finest love songs by this outstanding composer-singer duo who produced a number of acclaimed pop ballads in the 80s and 90s. Their songs seem to paint a prettiest portrayal of a love that came around to someone in that dreamlike time of his life, and which was too beautiful to last.


남들도 모르게 서성이다 울었지
지나온 일들이 가슴에 사무쳐
텅 빈 하늘 밑 불빛들 켜져가며
옛사랑 그 이름 아껴 불러보네

찬바람 불어와 옷깃을 여미우다
후회가 또 화가 난 눈물이 흐르네
누가 물어도 아플 것 같지 않던
지나온 내 모습 모두 거짓인 걸

이제 그리운 것은
그리운 대로 내맘에 둘 거야
그대 생각이 나면
생각난 대로 내버려 두듯이

흰 눈 내리면 들판을 서성이다
옛사랑 생각에 그 길 찾아가지
광화문 거리 흰 눈에 덮혀가고
하얀 눈 하늘 높이 자꾸 올라가네

이제 그리운 것은
그리운 대로 내맘에 둘 거야
그대 생각이 나면
생각난 대로 내버려 두듯이

사랑이란 게 지겨울 때가 있지
내 맘에 고독이 너무 흘러 넘쳐
눈 녹은 봄날 푸르른 잎새 위에
옛사랑 그대 모습 영원 속에 있네

Old Time Love

Pacing about hiding from others I broke into tears
Memories of bygone days grip my aching heart
Distant lights turning on under the empty sky
Cherishingly I call my old time love's name

As I pull my coat together against the cold wind
Tears roll down my face out of regrets and anger
Brashly thinking nothing could ever hurt me
It was all lies and deceit the way I was

This yearning in me
I will now leave it be in my heart
Just like I let it be when
Your thoughts come into my mind

If it snows I go strolling around out in the fields
Then to that street for memories of our old love
Kwanghwamun street turning white with the snow
The snowflakes keep drifting up into the sky

This yearning in me
I will now leave it be in my heart
Just like I let it be when
Your thoughts come into my mind

Love can be a drag sometimes to be sure
As my heart is filled with unending loneliness
In the green leaves of spring as the snow thaws
I see you my old time love through eternity

사랑은 한줄기 햇살처럼

그대는 한줄기 햇살처럼
흩어지는 나뭇잎 사이로
내 품에 잠시 머물은
보라빛 노을이었나

사랑한단 말도 모르는데
울먹이는 저녁 아이처럼
내 품에 잠시 머물은
한줄기 햇살이었네

그 마음을 알 수 없어 흐르던
눈물은 흐르질 않지만
그저 지난 추억이 아름다워
다시 또 생각나는가

Love, like A Ray of Sunshine

Like a ray of sunshine you came
Through the rustling leaves of a tree
In a purple twilight which abode
For a short while in my arms

Not knowing the words of love
Like a child at dusk bursting in tears
You were a ray of sun that stayed
A precious moment in my arms

Tears shed pining to know your heart
Even though they've long since stopped
In a beautiful ode to the bygone time
They come back to me all over again

Lee Young Hoon

Lee Young Hoon, who started his musical career writing classical genre music, crossed over into popular music when he met Lee Moon Sae in 1985, a fledgling singer at the time even though he was already successful as a radio music program host. The two produced huge hits of high brow ballads one after another and set all time sales records time and again. LYH’s brand of ballads was ground breaking because, on top of the solid melody and musical arrangement, the songs also had such high quality lyrics and classy vocals, creating a highly refined poetic songs that seemed a cut above the general pop music of the time. Many of the songs were about love, remembrance of a past love, the anguished emotions of parting and such, written in a language steeped in heartache of the exalted kind. Critics agree they notched the state of the Korean pop music up one level and while doing so became the catalyst for the Korean songs in taking back the music market from the English-based songs then dominant.

Old Time Love from the album Lee Moon Sae 7 is one of the best known and most representative of the songs of Lee-Lee collaboration. About a man looking back with regrets on his old time sweetheart now gone for good, it depicts this common, poignant feeling that many of us harbor in one form or other. As usual for their hit songs, the melody has such a strong hook that immediately pulls you in. Combined with beautiful lyrics of remembrance, it makes for one of the best of the genre.

Lee Moon Sae

Love like a Ray of Sunshine on Lee Moon Sae 5 is another one in the same vein, albeit a little lesser known. Its lyrics are even more poetic, using visual metaphors like rustling leaves and purple twilight, a child bursting in tears and so on. It has the narrator reminiscing on his younger days when many tears were shed. Looking back on that period of intense heartache with the benefit of a more mature perspective, he just sees a passage of his life that was beautiful. LYH songs as a whole seem to say that, after all the endless vagaries of life, what is left in the end is the sum total of the love you had, whether it be a happy, lasting one that is the foundation of your here and now, or a heart breaker that wasn’t to blossom to the full.

Lee Young Hoon collaborated with Lee Moon Sae for eight albums while also working on his own personal projects on the side at times. After an exceptionally successful career as a composer he succumbed to cancer and left us in 2008 when he was only forty eight.

Lee Moon Sae has become a legend of sorts thanks to his hugely popular songs, good looks and fine stage presence, as well as a talent in gabbing and canny ways with the audience in his TV appearances. Quite likely the most successful all around entertainer in the 80s and a good part of the 90s, his songs have been covered and remade by many later generation musicians.


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