Spring Days Are Passing (봄날은 간다) and That Year’s Spring (그해 봄에) are the theme songs of the movie One Fine Spring Day. Singing of the trails of beautiful memories from one’s younger days, they are like an ode to that young and vibrant time of life each of us has had or has yet to experience. Whether it was a period that led to the happy foundation of your present life, or just a faint memory you can only fondly remember about with a pang of regret, they are a crucial part of our being all the same.
Spring Days Are Passing
That Year's Spring
Spring Days Are Passing by Kim Yoon Ah (김윤아, 1974-) is a bright, exquisite beauty of a song about remembering a long past, innocent time of one’s life. Kim is an artist of diverse talents who tried her hand in acting and authoring in addition to singing. She started out singing in the Hong-Dae (홍대) venues, a leading art and entertainment block of Seoul from which many many artists hailed from over the years. After a period of underground years, she has formed the progressive rock-jazz group Jaurim, in which she does the main vocal as well as some songwriting.
The song is said to be based on an original tune by the Japanese songwriter Matsutoya Yumi (마츠토야 유미, 松任谷 由実) and Kim’s own lyrics. It reminisces about a long gone time, the nostalgia living in one’s heart which seems to act like a anchoring point for one’s present life with its indelible impression of beauty. It is a nice reflection on the bright side of our existence, and happily, Kim’s vocal style and looks all work so very well for it.
That Year’s Spring is, surprisingly, sung by Yoo Ji Tae himself, the protagonist Sangwoo in the movie One Fine Spring Day. It is quite unexpected since Yoo is not known for singing of any kind as far as I know. In any case the outcome is even more of a surprise because it is so good. His unassuming voice is really attractive here, and creates the mood of dreamlike remembrance that sinks deep into one’s cocoon of the heart.
The narrator remembers those unforgettable days with deep fondness at heart even though he was hopelessly lost and pining through them. Warm rays of sunshine returning at long last, to a heart that’s been aching, spring is already on its way out, he sings, which is exactly what Sangwoo would have felt some years after the breakup with Eunsoo, the object of all the pained longing. This is one rare case where the movie and the music thematically came together so perfectly, with the actor even personally singing the theme song himself. It certainly is a happy outcome you would like to see more of.
Paik Seol Hee’s old song started out with a deep sadness in the 50s, which is not surprising if you think about the war ravaged (Korean war ended in 1953) and impoverished country that Korea was at the time. Five decades later these exceptionally talented artists turned it around completely and created a beautiful, nostalgic work out of the very same title. It’s a job well done.