Even Though I Loved You (사랑했지만), With The Thought That I Must Forget You (잊어야 한다는 마음으로)

Sad Girl


Even Though I Loved You (사랑했지만) and With The Thought That I Must Forget You (잊어야 한다는 마음으로) are songs released by Kim Kwang Seok (김광석, 1964-1996). About parting with one’s love interest, they are emotionally charged confessions of desperation. Kim’s songs are typically love poems like these two songs, delivered with an acoustic guitar backing and singing the purest of human sentiments arising from the deep recesses of our heart. He is remembered for many of his beautifully lyrical songs after his life came to a tragic end in 1996.


사랑했지만


어제는 하루 종일 비가 내렸어
자욱하게 내려앉은 먼지 사이로

귓가에 은은하게 울려퍼지는
그대 음성 빗속으로 사라져버려

때론 눈물도 흐르겠지 그리움으로
때론 가슴도 저리겠지 외로움으로

사랑했지만
그대를 사랑했지만

그저 이렇게 멀리서 바라볼 뿐
다가설 수 없어

지친 그대 곁에 머물고 싶지만
떠날 수밖에

그대를 사랑했지만

Even Though I Loved You


Yesterday it rained all day long
Upon the thick layer of dust

Your voice quietly echoes in my ear
Before disappearing into the rain

At times tears would be shed, out of longing
At times the heart would ache, out of loneliness

Even though I loved you
Even though I loved you, my sweet

I can't help but just watch you from afar
Unable to come close

Though I want to stay beside your weary self
I can't help but leave you

Even though I loved you

잊어야 한다는 마음으로


잊어야 한다는 마음으로
내 텅빈 방문을 닫은채로
아직도 남아있는 너의 향기
내 텅빈 방 안에 가득한데

이렇게 홀로 누워 천정을 보니
눈앞에 글썽이는 너의 모습
잊으려 돌아누운 내 눈가에
말없이 흐르는 이슬방울들

지나간 시간은 추억속에
묻히면 그만인 것을
나는 왜 이렇게 긴 긴 밤을
또 잊지 못해 새울까

창틈에 기다리던 새벽이 오면
어제보다 커진 내 방 안에
하얗게 밝아온 유리창에
썼다 지운다 널 사랑해

밤하늘에 빛나는 수많은 별들
저마다 아름답지만
내 맘 속에 빛나는 별 하나
오직 너만 있을 뿐이야

창틈에 기다리던 새벽이 오면
어제보다 커진 내 방 안에
하얗게 밝아온 유리창에
썼다 지운다 널 사랑해

하얗게 밝아온 유리창에
썼다 지운다 널 사랑해

With The Thought That I Must Forget You


With the thought that I must forget you
With the door closed to my empty room
What is left of your sweet scents
Still thick in my barren room

Lying down alone staring at the ceiling
With your figure hovering before my eyes
Dewdrops silently roll down my face
As I turn over trying to forget

When the bygone days may well be
Simply buried in memory and forgotten
Why am I still pining unable to forget
Through another long sleepless night

The dawn creeping in through the window
To a room looking bigger than yesterday
On the windowpane now brightening up
I write only to erase back, I love you

Countless shining stars in the night sky
Each beautiful in its own way
The lone bright star shining in my mind
There is only you in the world

The dawn creeping in through the window
To a room looking bigger than yesterday
On the windowpane now brightening up
I write only to erase back, I love you

On the windowpane now brightened up
I write only to erase back, I love you


Kim Kwang Seok

Kim Kwang Seok was one of the renowned singers of the 80s and 90s in the genre of straight folk and folk rock. He had made quite a name with a loyal fan base by the time his career was cut short, through his quietly moving songs and the many live performances he was known for. Together with Kim Hyun Sik and Lee Moon Sae he was one of the big three of solo singers of the 80s and 90s who left a lasting mark through high quality songs and orthodox singing.

Kim was known for lyrical songs that relate stark, unemblished sentiments in poetic languages. According to friends and acquaintances, a possessor of a warm heart and upright personality, he seemed to approach his music and business like a perennial upstart, with youthful honesty and innocent passion. Lacking the slick facade that some entertainers hide behind, his tender and uncompromising personality showed through in some of his live show monologues as well as songs that dealt with personal thoughts. After having considerable success anyone would envy, he took his own life in rather murky circumstances, giving rise to conjectures and theories after his death.

Even Though I Loved You is a quintessential romantic love song, albeit the sad kind singing of parting against one’s will, with a melody that is beautifully sweet and soothing.
Kim Kwang Seok 2 This type of songs about parting forced on you or resignation in the face of such fate seem to proliferate in Korea compared with the western world - there are innumerable such songs in any time period. This defeatist attitude if you will probably doesn’t easily resonate in the western mind - one might say why the loser attitude when you should give it another shot to change your lot. However, in Korean, and more broadly in the Asian culture, love isn’t always such a simple one dimensional thing that you can approach with a logical and forward thinking mindset. It seems in the east, these insurmountable forces around you, your fate or karma as they say, manifest itself much more readily than in the west.

With The Thought That I Must Forget You is another one in the same vein, only more heart breaking if anything. Its detailed depiction of the day the narrator I goes through is sad enough to bring tears to your eyes. He stares at the ceiling and sees her face, tears rolling down, pines through the entire night without sleep, and sees the indifferent dawn arriving as if everything was the same. Some may find it maudlin, but if you have had an experience even remotely similar, you would know the anguish that is sung about here. Maybe it is because Kim was such a tender soul who found it hard to navigate this world that he sang so much about parting and losses instead of happy endings. Some of his songs are truly tearing at your heart.

After his passing, many of Kim’s songs have been remade by friends and successors, and several tribute albums and concerts were dedicated in memory of him. His was another of the sad stories that seemed to break with no end in the 90s.

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