After a resounding success in the late 80s, Boohwal had another glory period in the early 90s with the new singer Kim Jae Gi (김재기, 1968-1993). The more I Love You (사랑할수록) and The Shower (소나기) are from their third album released in 1993, featuring Kim Tae Won compositions as usual and the lead vocals of the new singer Kim Jae Gi’s. Kim jae Gi had a remarkably smooth style with good range and control to boot. These two songs remain the greatest work by him, who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident shortly after recording them. He is fondly remembered by rock fans, and the album Boohwal 3 remains among the top few albums in Korean rock history.
The More I Love You
Boohwal had ups and downs following the phenomenal success of their first and second albums, the downs part mostly coming from brushes with the narcotics law as well as intra-band frictions among the members. Boohwal 3, with the alternative title Loss of Memory (기억상실), came out in 1993. Kim Tae Won (김태원) recruited Kim Jae Gi (김재기) with high expectations after he split with the previous singer Lee Seung Chul. Kim, who had great vocal talents, did an initial demo recordings of the songs which were destined to be the only existing takes, as his life was cut short in an accident almost immediately after the recording. Boohwal had no choice but to use the demo versions for their LP, and thus the Kim Jae Gi legend was made. The album eventually sold close to one million copies setting a new rock album sales record.
The More I Love You (사랑할수록) is right along the lines of earlier Boohwal songs except the new Kim Jae Gi vocals, which seem to have a smoother texture and heightened fluidity. The song is about an unrealized love affair deteriorating into mutually inflicted hurts, getting the more painful the more I loved you. Together with The Shower, It is the best song on the album if not the entire Boohwal oeuvre.
The Shower (소나기) was inspired by a short story written by the acclaimed author Hwang Sun Won (황순원, 1915-2000) from the 1950s, a widely loved little gem of a story that seems to have found a permanent spot in the hearts of people as well as on the 7th grade textbook. It is a story of a boy who meets a girl, feeling the funny stirrings of love for the first time, then goes on to experience the intense emotion and events of his life as if taking a sudden shower falling from the sky, only to tragically lose her in the end to an illness before even getting to know much about her. The shower is therefore both the triggering event of this sad fate and a metaphor for the life’s turn that took the boy by storm. Looking back, Kim Jae Gi’s short lived fame after hooking up with Boohwal was much like a passing downpour too.
Kim Jae Gi had the potential to be the best vocalist Boohwal ever had and could have pushed the band’s place up a notch in Korean rock annuls. Alas, fate would have it otherwise and Kim didn’t even have much chance to perfect the songs on his only Boohwal album. You can imagine Kim Tae Won and other Boohwal members’ devastation. They subsequently recruited Kim’s brother Jae Hee who had a similar voice color as their vocalist. But, as would be expected, things didn’t turn out as well as they had hoped. Kim Jae Gi has thus become a wistfully remembered rock legend.