Crucial Star - Fall 2

Lyrical Interpretation: Crucial Star – Fall

In Miscellaneous by Lena

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An interpretation of the title track ‘Fall (가을엔) (Feat. Kim Nayoung)’ of Crucial Star’s latest mini album ‘Fall 2’, as well as a few background facts about the album.

Fall 2

was released on October 28, and is the second part of the mini album ‘Fall’ that was released on November 27 in 2012. This second part is Crucial Star’s first album release under C-JeS Entertainment, after leaving Grandline. While in ‘Fall’ Crucial Star participated only in composing four of eight tracks, this time he has left his mark on every single track but the instrumental ‘그녀는 내 것이 아닐 때 아름답다 (She’s The Most Beautiful When She’s Not Mine)’. The promotional text promises “a musically mature album with a trendy feel to it.” The album’s pre-released single ‘또 있을까 싶어 (Ain’t Nobody Like You) (Feat. XIA of JYJ)’ reached 2nd place on the charts and is just an example of the album’s many featurings – again, only the instrumental track does not feature another singer or rapper. Crucial Star usually does not have that many featurings on his albums, ‘Drawing #3: Untitled’ for example had no featuring at all, but he says that this time he borrowed the help of various artists in order to create a multifaceted album. And it really is as colorful as the leaves in fall, expressing the season’s various emotions, from the melancholic-sad ‘Fall’ over the cutesy ‘Pretty’ to the hiphop track ‘Bulletproof’. Talking of leaves, Crucial Star says that the album’s overall topics are the season ‘fall’ and the verb ‘fall’, which opens the doors to a variety of interpretations, more so if we use the Korean word ‘떨어지다’ (tteoreojida) which has even more meanings than the English ‘fall’ (Naver Dictionary lists 19 meanings). The most on-topic ones are certainly ‘falling leaves’ and ‘be separate/parted’, but it could also refer to ‘wear out’, ‘fall down’, ‘fall apart’, ‘fall behind’, ‘fall off’, etc. and each of these meanings can be applied to at least one of the tracks, of which many contain surprising little plost twists that will make your jaw drop fall.
Last but not least, before moving on to interpreting the title track, it should be pointed out that neither the word ‘mini album’ nor the word ‘EP album’ is used to promote ‘Fall 2’, but the Korean word ‘소품집’ (sopumjip) which can be translated to ‘little work/piece of art‘. This shows how much effort has very likely gone into the album and also underlines its artistic side.

Fall 2 - Translated Lyrics
Click on the titles below to view HiphopKR’s translations of all the album’s tracks (minus ‘Ain’t Nobody Like You’ and the instrumental track ‘She’s The Most Beautiful When She’s Not Mine’).

 

Lyrical Interpretation of ‘Fall (Feat. Kim Nayoung)’

The album’s title track and probably most poetical piece has a bittersweet story: A man leaves his girlfriend to go travel, chasing after something, thinking he can return to her whenever he wants. When he decides to go back, he realizes that he had been remembering everything wrong, that it was not him who had left. He had intentionally changed his memories to protect himself from the pain of her telling him to leave.

Let us start with the intro (part of which is at the same time the outro):

가을엔 가을엔 가을엔
그댈 떠나가려 해요
Go away go away go away
내가 낯설었다면

어차피 우리는
죽은 것처럼
사랑해왔으니
good bye

The syllable counts of these two four-liners are: 9-8-9-7, 6-5-6-2. Supposing an even syllable count as the standard, the last line in each four-liner is notably lacking syllables which creates an emptiness that underlines the lovers’ breakup: something is missing. While the line “내가 낯설었다면” (If I felt like a stranger [to you]) is only missing one syllable (it has seven instead of eight), the ‘good bye’ is missing three (of five), strengthening the impact of that word of parting. Also note that the use of English in between the Korean lyrics allows further emphasis.

While the intro is sung by Crucial Star, the hook that has the exact same structure and syllable count is sung by Kim Nayoung:

In fall, in fall, in fall
I try to find you
Come away, come away, come away
We used to imagine it together

On that day, we
made a promise
as if we’d last forever, so
good night

Each of the artists represents one of the characters in the story (hereafter ‘he’ and ‘she’). While he sings about leaving her, she sings about finding him and uses the phrase “good night” (instead of his “good bye” in the intro). Now, ‘good night’ is a phrase with a very positive connotation. It reminds us of someone dear, maybe a parent or a lover, it conveys love and the promise of seeing one another again in the morning. Observable is also the use of the poetic ‘you’ (그대, geudae) which is used to refer to one’s lover. So, content-wise, his part includes the negative words ‘leave’, ‘stranger’, ‘anyway’, ‘death’ and ‘good bye’ while her part contains the positive words ‘find’, ‘together’, ‘promise’, ‘forever’, and ‘good night’. This tells us that he is done with their relationship while she is still longing for him. However, as mentioned above, the two parts are very similar which is likely a hint at the fact that her part too is a construction of his mind. The whole story is in fact told from his perspective, even her parts.

Verse 1 also has two parts:

Your face that haunts my memories
looked beautifully sad
Your eyes that tried to melt the cold me
were filled with warm tears

Seasons change,
flowers bloom again in my bare heart
and I, who traveled far away because of a fantasy,
once again make my way to you, like a salmon

In the first four-liner he describes his memories of her trying to hold him back, trying to keep him from leaving, and the second four lines describe a change in him which leads him to return to her. The first part is a lot of sugarcoating (“beautifully sad,” “warm tears”) which demonstrates that he does not see his leaving as something sad but as something bittersweet, romantic even. The first and second line both start (or, in the Korean lyrics, end) with “your” (너의, neoui) which brings her into focus. This is also the first time the word “memories” is mentioned, along with the word “haunt” (아른거리는, areungeorineun). The Korean word used here means ‘to faintly remember something’; it expresses that his memories are flickering through his mind and are not vivid and clear but see-through, vague and unseizable like ghosts. This is the second hint at something being wrong with what he is remembering. In the next four lines, the phrase “Seasons change” is singled out due to its briefness. This phrase is a reference to the title ‘Fall’ and also tells us that something inside of him changed naturally, “flowers bloom” in him as if it was spring. Very interesting is also that he compares himself to a salmon. Salmons (so Wikipedia) “spend about one to five years […] in the open ocean, where they gradually become [sexually] mature. The adult salmon then return primarily to their natal streams to spawn.” Pair this information with him saying that he left chasing a fantasy. All of this implies that he was immature, that he did not know he was trying to find something he had already had, and that he was also going through a natural phase of growing up which was necessary for him to mature and return to his roots, i.e. to her where he would then settle down. In other words, he is going back to her with the intention to pursue their relationship more seriously.

However, in comes Verse 2, the disastrous and least poetic verse in which he realizes that everything he remembered was not real:

One night as rain is pouring down, like a déjà vu,
the moment I stop in front of your place the conversation from that day comes to mind
Back then I cried and asked you for forgiveness
and you pushed me away, saying that you don’t want to see me again

I thought I could have you back anytime,
whenever I want, but that was a sophistry I had made up
In order to protect myself I falsified my memory
It becomes clearer and clearer and I fall apart

All the negativity appears: pouring rain, night (to be interpreted negatively in this case), stop, tears, mistake, beg (ask for), don’t want, push away. The lyrics also say “that day,” hinting at the dreadfulness of the day she broke up with him. Though she did not simply break up with him, she pushed him away and told him that she never wanted to see him again. The text does not mention what happened, what mistake he committed, but that mistake is certainly the one thing that was erased from his memories and caused the altering of his recollection of the breakup. He calls it “a sophistry,” thus saying that it was a good thing, an intelligent thing to do in order to protect himself from the painful reality. Here again English is used (“but,” see below) to emphasize and stress the shock he experiences. The rap in this verse is rather fast, expressing his confusion and the sudden realization that pours over him like the rain. A look at the syllable count is more proof:

비가 쏟아지는 밤 마치 데자뷰처럼
집 앞에 멈춘 순간 떠오른 그날의 대화
그때 난 눈물을 보이며 너에게 잘못을 빌었고
두 번 다신 보기 싫다한 넌 밀쳐냈지 날

언제든 다시 널 가질 수 있을거라 생각했지
내가 원할 때면 but 그건 내가 만들어낸 궤변
내 자신을 방어하기 위해 조작해놨던 기억
점점 선명해지고 난 무너져

The first four lines have a count of 14-15-18-15 and the second four a count of 17-17-17-11. The line with 18 syllables is very prominent (“Back then I cried and asked you for forgiveness”) as well as the one with 11: “It becomes clearer and clearer and I fall apart.” The latter is especially prominent because the previous three lines all have the same amount of syllables. This, just like the “good bye” and “good night” lines before, emphasizes the emotional impact.

In the end, the outro presents us with what is apparently an actual, non-falsified memory:

We have been loving each other
as if we had been dead
anyway, so
good bye

Very ironically, this outro is part of his intro but now sung by her; the tables have been turned. They are the exact same lyrics but now have a completely different meaning. It is she who told him good bye.

 

As you can see, everything in the lyrics seems very intentional, the use of stylistic devices to better convey the story and the feelings involved is excellent. Crucial Star has surely put in a great effort, a lot of care and attention to detail, which needed to be honored. And this not only goes for ‘Fall’, the album’s other tracks are lyrics-wise equally interesting, each a work of art on its own.
Although it is no longer fall anymore, it will return like the salmons, and hopefully you will then listen to the album with even greater gusto than before!

 


Resources/References:
Crucial Star’s Genie interview about Fall 2

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