These two songs are the Lee Young Hoon-Lee Moon Sae collaboration’s fourth LP album released in 1987, probably their greatest work, which have sold phenomenally breaking all records. Together with Lee Moon 5 that came out the following year, this album etched the two artists’ names indelibly in the history of Korean pop music, ranking at 16th of the all time greatest list. Both are love songs in the pop and rock genre with slick and boast refined composition that don’t sound dated even to this day, as well as nicely complementing lyrics evoking a dreamy and nostalgic mood for the listener. it is one work that upped the state of the art of the Korean pop music.
밤이 머무는 곳에
Where The Night Stays
Only The Sound of Her Laughter
The album was such a masterpiece that it had about five hits apart from these two songs, three of them huge ones. They saw massive radio play and TV show appearances, and Lee Moon Sae was elevated to a stardom of new heights. It is estimated to have sold nearly three million copies, which is an unheard of number for the small Korean music market of the time. More than the sales number, though, the artists introduced some of the most artistically accomplished songs to the pop music genre, which was significant in many ways. For example it inspired many burgeoning artists to try and produce similarly artistic songs in the nineties and beyond.
Where The Night Stays (밤이 머무는 곳에) is one of the lesser hits in terms of the conventional measure of record sales and media play. Artistically, however, it might have reached the highest point of accomplishment. It is all subject and depends on personal tastes, but I personally find this song to be among the five best of the Lee-Lee duo no matter how you count it. Its delicate, caressing melody and dreamy mood are unusually refined and stand out from the run of the mill pop songs. The melody appears to have a relatively simple structure but an inviting warmth and fuzziness to it that feels out of this world. The lyrics deepens this experience with evocation of many wistful images in the citiscape, like the lighted boulevard where the night descends, the narrator’s girlfriend heading out to a mysterious place where the night stays, him seeing her off without words teary eyed, and her image under a street lamp continually moving away.
Only The Sound of Her Laughter (그녀의 웃음소리뿐) was a massive hit in every way, shape and form. It has the protagonist reminiscing about an unrealized love of his past. In an emotional lurching and floundering, he hears the rain falling on the old street they used to walk together, looks up at the sky looking for the one he used to see then, remembers her remarks, smiles and all, with a gripping nostalgia, lamenting that all is gone except the sound of her laughter. In contrast with Where The Night Stays, it is a faster rock number with a feel of pressing urgency and deep pathos. The emotionally charged cries and laments build up throughout the song, climaxing with Lee’s screaming cries toward the end. It is a remarkable vocal performance that doesn’t appear often in Lee Moon Sae songs. All in all, one of the lasting Lee Moon Sae classics for many fans.