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Beautiful Lyrics series: Deli Spice’s “Chow Chow”

The “Beautiful Lyrics” series has been put on the back burner during my blogging hiatus, but I’m bringing it back! I personally find it very rewarding to work on these posts and share some of the lesser-known (at least outside of Korea) K-pop music of the past. Thanks to Answer Me 1997, I have been reminiscing about the 90′s A LOT lately. And thus, at least until the remaining running of the show, this series will be dedicated to songs from the late 1990s. I will also try to incorporate songs featured in the drama as much as I can.

And so this week’s song is none other than Deli Spice’s “Chow Chow.” I coulda, shoulda, woulda featured a photo of the actual band as the main image considering, you know, this post is about their song. But in my current one-track mind, I thought this photo of Yoonje and Joonhee better illustrate the lyrics. Or perhaps I’m just disillusioned.

“Chow Chow”
Singers: Deli Spice
Music written and composed by Kim Min Kyu
Lyrics translated by Blue1004

 

너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice
너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice
너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice
너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice

 

아무리 애를 쓰고 막아 보려 하는데도
No matter how hard I try to make it stop
아무리 애를 쓰고 막아 보려 하는데도
No matter how hard I try to make it stop

 

너의 목소라가 들려
I hear your voice
너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice

 

아무리 애를 쓰고 막아 보려 하는데도
No matter how hard I try to make it stop
아무리 애를 쓰고 막아 보려 해도
No matter how hard I try to make it stop

 

너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice
너의 목소리가 들려
I hear your voice

ABOUT THE BAND:

Deli Spice currently consists of members Kim Min Kyu (vocal), Yoon Jun Ho (bass, guitar), Seo Sang Jun (drum), and Lee Yo Han (keyboard). Past members included Choi Jae Hyuk (drum), Oh In Rok (drum), Yang Yong Joon (keyboard), and Lee Seung Gi (keyboard).

 

WHY IS THIS BAND IMPORTANT?

Excerpt from Ask a Korean:

 

“By the late 1990s, Korea’s pop music culture was in a highly partisan mood. The commercialization of K-pop was well under way, filling the television with cheap dance music and banal soft rock. Responding to this mainstream trend, the counterculture demanded genealogical and doctrinal purity, deliberately taking the decibel of hard core rock to unprecedented heights.

Deli Spice presented the third way. Its music is sophisticated without being pretentious. It is elaborate without being unapproachable. Its lyrics are mostly about love and affection, but at times slightly disturbing lyrics would be carried on a light tune. (For example, Laika was Sent to Space [우주로 보내진 라이카] on Esperesso describes how the first space dog Laika slowly dies without air in a confined space.)

While such music (dubbed by some as “modern rock”) has always been around in the world pop for a long time — U2 and R.E.M. have been around for ages — Deli Spice is likely the first band in Korea that made this type of alternative rock popular among regular music fans. The fact that Deli Spice made indie music of Korea veer away from its self-destructive tendencies makes it one of the more significant bands in K-pop history.”

 

ABOUT THE SONG: 

“Chow Chow” was first released in Deli Spice’s self-titled debut album in 1997, and then later featured once again on the soundtrack of the 2002 romantic comedy film Who Are You, starring Lee Na Young and Jo Seung Woo.

The entire song consists merely of the lyrics, “I hear your voice, No matter how hard I try to make it stop, I hear your voice.” But it is exactly these simple lyrics combined with the melody of the song, which makes the result so… haunting.

Many assume “Chow Chow” to be a love song, the lyrics representing the longing for and inability to get over someone. However, the songwriter Kim Min Kyu explains differently. Early on in the band’s career, they felt that they were dismissed by everyone. The song was in fact expressing the band’s resentment and desire to turn a deaf ear to those people who criticized and judged the band simply based on appearance. In this context, the song title represents the Chow Chow dog breed and the people’s voice is compared to the barking of a dog.

“Chow Chow” was recently featured in Answer Me 1997.  Whatever may have been the original meaning of the song, the lyrics here hauntingly represent Joonhee’s desire to shut off his growing feelings for Yoonje, and his inability to do so.


(Excerpt from Episode 7 of Answer Me 1997)

 

 

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  1. Indigo

    How weird. Just the other day I was thinking about making a list of great Korean song lyrics and Deli Spice’s “Chow chow” was one of the first I thought of. I really love the song and strangely I’ve been hearing it song in several places lately, last one being Reply 1997. And I’m glad that I’m not the only one thinking that this has great lyrics. Even though it repeats two lines all over again the entire song, they carry such meaning.

    1. blue

      Cool! I look forward to seeing your list as well! It would be interesting to see what different people consider to be great lyrics!

  2. Laica

    Wow, thank you! I fell in love with this song after hearing it in Answer Me 1997 and Running Man in the same week, and I’ve been listening to it obsessively ever since.

    It’s cool to find out the history of the song, what it means and what context it was written in. I’ve missed your beautiful lyrics series, Blue.

    And that scene with Joon-hee and Yoon-jae was perfect, as all their scenes are. The unrequited love, it hurts so good. And reminds me so much of what it felt like to be a teenager, when it felt like everything and nothing was possible at the same time.

    1. blue

      Hi Laica! Ah, so they played this song on Running Man too? I heard it was recently played on Infinity Challenge as well. Not to mention, Chow Chow is one of my favorite songs of all times. I’m glad other people are finding about this gem of a song!

      I know JH and YJ can never be, but the portrayal of JH’s love for YJ is so heartbreaking! This drama is so perfect (for me at least) in all possible ways.

      1. Laica

        This drama IS perfect. Or pretty damn close. And today is Tuesday! *squeals*

  3. youngyoung

    i like this song very much bcus of RUNNING MAN xD !!!!!! i like it i like it like it !

  4. Sabah

    Thank you for educating me. I have always felt that knowledge requires something beyond facts alone. I loved the song, like many others here after hearing it on RM then Answer me 1997 in the same week, seemingly haunting me. However understanding it in this wider context has added another layer. I am much obliged.

  5. goldeng

    thanks!! i was all hyper trying to find the names of the songs ive heard in the drama.. especially ths one!! i seriously love all of them! this song gave me the goosebumps! this is going directly to my all time fav songs list! it seriously had this haunting feeling that i love lol! it reminded me of blink 182 i miss you a song I love! even when the song is about wanting to ignore haters, I thought it was about love and trying to ignore your feelings for that person so I’ll stay with that one since it fits Joonhee’s situation so well!! I sincerely got my eyes all teary when this song played during his flashback!

  6. Softy

    Hey blue – please help me cuz this is driving me nuts. when I read the name deli spice, my mind just jumped to coffee prince – was this song on it? Cuz I know this band and this song from somewhere but I just can’t put my finger on which drama I heard it from. Please put me out of my misery and tell me where I heard this?

    I used to love this song, but I totally forgot the name of the group and title – I only remembered the music. I think I must be the only one who hasn’t seen this drama Answer me – for some reason I thought I wouldn’t get it cuz I don’t know Korean music well. Growing up I never listened to Korean music. the first time I ever liked a Korean song was in college and that was just one or two songs even back then. I can count on one hand how many Korean singers’ names I know right now off the top of my head – Alex and Tim are the two that pop up the quickest cuz their names are easy to remember. But when it comes to the music, I remember from the first note if I liked it or not. But have no clue who sang it or the title – how sad is that. That song “May” from coffee prince by belle époque used to be my all time fav.

    1. blue

      Softy!!!
      I’m not aware of this song being on Coffee Prince (at least in its OST). But if is sounds familiar to you, I wonder whether they may have played it in the coffee shop background scene? Hmm, do you watch variety shows like Infinite Challenge or Running Man? I heard they also played this song recently on those shows!

      And do watch AM1997, like pronto!!! You don’t have to know anything about older Kpop to enjoy the show. The Kpop culture is just the background of it, but the reason why the drama’s so wonderful is because of its portrayal of first love, friendship, parents-kid relationship, and all the good stuff. I really think you’ll like it too! Trust me!

  7. Softy

    Thanks Blue – will try to start watching it soon. Was going to anyway since you seem to be so into it. You got me so curious about it. :)

  8. aozora

    firts time I know this music from runningman ep 106 when Han Ji Min find her true love..
    I like this melody although the lyric is simple but easy to follow it..
    and I downloaded this song beacause I really like it
    but, I can’t find it’s lyric when I seacrh in internet..and know after drama reply 1997, somepeople post this lyric..thanks a lot.. ^^

  9. noname

    I know this song first from Running man .. only to hear it once, I’ve made ​​to fall in love with this song. :)
    I really like this song.

  10. Eugene

    This song is really haunting me since the first time I heard.
    But, really.. No clue. I have big problem with my ears and ‘some’ good quality music sense.
    For the 2nd time after Luna Sea *Japanese band* I can felt ear*gasm again #sorry. I told you I have big problem with my ears ♥

    I can heaaarrrr youuur voiiiicee~

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