In the music industry, one of the most talked about TV programs in 2011 was ‘I’m a Singer.’ The show was intended to present high-quality songs to the public through a contest among the best singers in Korea, and it drew audiences from the idol-dominated pop scene to the real talented singers. This also has increased the global recognition of K-POP once again. “K-pop Star” is another excellent show these days, but as a survival program, ‘I’m a singer’ seems to have the upper hand.
<Prologue> - Why do we admire ‘I’m a singer’?
How has this show become such a phenomenon? It might be because the “Idol Culture” has made the mass culture standardized. These days, most people realize that to some extent there is a shortage of cultural content that the older generation can appreciate as numerous Idol groups practically occupy the TV.
It is quite understandable that the older generation craves songs to sooth their ears, like the old retro numbers that they used to jam to. By “Retro,” I mean not only style and genre of music, but also singers that people used to love decades ago. Perhaps the older generation needs a certain flashback, or better yet, a throwback to what they once used to enjoy when they were our age.
Most of the songs that are performed on the show are the numbers that were once at the top of the charts. Let’s look at the secrets of the show’s popularity by theme and singer.
<Track 1> - Experimental version that is completely different from the original.
Let’s listen to the new arranged version of the hit that hooked the audiences
Jung Hyun Park – First impression
We can drift into Latin music and feel Latin America, India, Spain, and even Portugal through Park’s Voice.
Jaurim – Abracadabra
Getting out from the original song’s sexy feeling, this version takes us to the forest of fantasy.
So Ra Lee – No.1
The impression of the original is cheerful, but Lee turned it eccentric, which left the audience in awe with their jaws dropped.
Jae Bum Lim – Empty Glass
He recreated the song of the living legend Nam Jin, ‘Empty Glass’ into a rock style and the stage was filled with dismal energy.
<Track 2> - Music making us feel high!!
Are you the person who wedges into a room just because it’s cold outside? From now on, turn the volume up with the music so that it can fill you with energy!!
Bum Su Kim – With you
This song immediately dismisses the impression of Bum Su Kim as a singer who can only sing love ballads. He showed that he could perform other genres and he lighted up the room with his voice and performance.
Jaurim – Whale hunting
Jaurim turns this song into their signature style, making people forget the original for a while.
BMK – Beautiful Country
This song proves why BMK is called the mother of Soul. She showed her own style with this song and we could feel her soul and powerful energy.
YB band – Round and Round
Critics said ‘YB band totally digests Nami’s original ‘Round and round.’ The band’s tremendous stage presence makes the audiences yell ‘encore, one more time!!’
<Track 3> - Sad and Slow Ballads that would make you shed tears
If you are aching because of love, you should listen to these songs.
BMK – When the Blooming Spring Comes
This song presents properly a feeling of bitter experience from love and deep afterglow.
Hye Jin Jang – It’s alcohol
Lyrics full of pity and farewell, Jang’s tone caught the audiences’ hearts through her appealing voice.
Jaurim – One Late Night in 1994
Even though Jaurim changes the original number by Hye Jin Jang into their band style, the lead singer maximizes this song’s sad emotion and touches the audience.
Yeon Woo Kim – My Love, By Me
The original ‘My Love, By Me’ has a different tone compared to Yeon Woo Kim’s voice, but Kim was able to perform the song with his clear high-pitched tone. We were able to enjoy the song with more tender feeling.
<Track 4> - Touching Music that Brings You To Tears.
Here are the songs that touch our hearts with their words
In-Soon-Ee – Father
You’d know that there is no rival to In Soon Ee when you listen to this song. We could feel the dignity of her career as a singer for 33 years.
Jung Hyun Park – Now I Want It This Way
‘Now I want it this way’ makes the audience absorbed into the song thanks to Park’s unique singing method and emotion, delivered through the melody of the piano. Especially at the refrain, with her powerful voice and her play with the rhythm, she made the audience go wild when she finished the song.
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‘I’m a singer’ has made a major impact that clearly deserved it’s MBC Entertainment Award last year. Before the announcement of the Grand Prize, MBC officials said, “At this time, we will not give the Grand Prize to a specific person, but to the entire cast members of the program.” There were rumors that the winners were already decided, and that the ‘I’m a singer’ cast already knew the results.
The show takes us deep into Korean music culture that even rumors spread: people at karaoke always sing the songs performed on the show. It might be because the program wasn’t targeting a certain group of viewers. It may be agreed that idol singers are produced targeting the 10~30’s, and it is hard to appeal to all generations. On the other hand, the songs on ‘I’m a singer’ succeed in integrating the old and new generations, as the singers newly arrange old songs and make people enjoy the old songs once again. This works in the best interest of people.
As the program gathered great popularity, the audience judges’ concerns were also great. Furthermore, if there was one little mistake, the impact would have also been a disaster. ‘I’m a singer’ is just another TV program, and we must know that it is virtually impossible to fulfill all the expectations that the audience may have. At this point, the audiences’ positive attitude should also be required. Instead of pointing out the mistakes and complaining about the performances, we should be thankful to the artists on the show and be gracious that we are able to see such a show being performed each week.