Monday, October 10, 2011

Review: Sung Shi Kyung–“I Like You”

It’s love at first taxi ride for Sung Shi Kyung and the girl of his rainbow-colored dreams.

Did you like the song?
Ballad prince Sung Shi Kyung is back from the army with a new album and music video, and his voice is lovely: very clean, clear, and smooth. That said, though I’m impressed with how well the song is doing on the charts, it’s nothing special, in my opinion. It…just seems like a pretty standard ballad to me. I’d be grateful if any of Shi Kyung’s fans could explain what’s so special and appealing about this song because I am clearly missing it.

Sung Shi Kyung

Sung Shi Kyung

What was your favorite part of the song?
I like the way this part builds to what I see as the climax of the whole song, that “mianhae hajima.”

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
Like many ballads (it seems), there isn’t any English. I really wish I could tell what that Korean at the beginning means, too! But more than that, I want to know what the proper translation of 난 좋아 is. Most sites are listing it as “I Like,” but I don’t know why; that phrase begs the question “You like what?” in English. Despite the fact that it reminds me of Enrique Iglesias, I’ll just call it “I Like It” until someone explains it more convincingly.
EDIT: Please see the comments for a very helpful explanation of why it should be “I Like You,” which I have changed the title to, or just “I Like.” Thank you!

Sung Shi Kyung Korean language

Both Jo Yeo Jeong and the language look very attractive, though.

Did you like the video?
Despite the relatively slow pace of the song, the visuals seem to move fairly quickly. They tell a rather moving story in a series of creatively filmed, if heavy-handed on the symbolism, shots. By the end, I definitely wanted a happy ending for their love story, even though I wasn’t expecting that I would actually get my wish.

Similar to Ram’s “Deceived by Love,” this music video plays with different color filters for memories/fantasies. In “I Like You,” the filter is rainbow-prism colored (see this scene for an example).

Sung Shi Kyung I Like rainbow prism symbolism


So what was the deal with that glass prism? Let’s explore:

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
So apparently (because of that annoying ex-British colony issue) in Hong Kong they drive on the left side (i.e. the steering wheel is on the right side of the car—confusing, huh?). That must be pretty frustrating when traveling from mainland China (where they drive on the right side) to Hong Kong. At any rate, this concerns us because Jo Yeo Jeong has just arrived in Hong Kong, fresh and smiling, and Sung Shi Kyung is her taxi driver.

Sung Shi Kyung I Like taxi

Way more attractive than your usual taxi driver.

Sung Shi Kyung I Like taxi ride

Clearly they managed to miss Hong Kong’s rush hour traffic.

We cut to Shi Kyung and Yeo Jeong going about their daily lives being constantly and pleasantly (at least at first) reminded of each other. During this time, there’s an entertaining collage of Yeo Jeong being a tourist when she reveals she has this:

Sung Shi Kyung I Like triangular prism

The Triangular Crystal/Glass Prism of Symbolic Symbolism!!

Sung Shi Kyung I Like triangular prism

And look, Shi Kyung has one too!

I interpret this as the glass prisms symbolizing their connection to each other. Except by constantly looking into the prisms, they keep being reminded of each other to the point when it stops being cute and starts being depressing. They realize how much they have lost by allowing the other person to just slip through their fingers and not getting to know one another when they had a chance. And they each begin to be...overwhelmed by fantasies of what life would have been like had they not just parted ways after that fateful taxi ride. Like, really overwhelmed.

Sung Shi Kyung I Like Jo Yeo Jeong crying

There, there. *pat pat*

Enraged by the future he will never have, Shi Kyung hurls the prism into the water in an attempt to forget about Yeo Jeong and carry on with his taxi driving. As the music video winds down, we get a montage of nine kisses that it appears will never occur…except it turns out Shi Kyung didn’t actually throw it into the water. He keeps the prism—and his hope of finding that girl of his one taxi ride dreams—and eventually it pays off because soon they meet again and get to have A Moment…in the middle of Hong Kong traffic.

Sung Shi Kyung I Like Hong Kong traffic

As the horns blare around them and they both become casualties of road, I mean, yay! An actual happy ending in a ballad music video!

Wait, what? So they shared one taxi ride, during which it looks like they never even talked, and then base their entire future happiness upon finding each other again? Wow. That is some really intense love at first sight. At least nobody got hit by a car at the end of the video (thanks, JYJ).

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
Let’s do the dance together. Grab the nearest sparkly or shiny or reflective thing you have, then look deeeeeeply into it. No, deeper than that. Keep looking. What do you see? That’s right, that person you passed on the street, that person in line at the coffee shop, that person you were going to say hi to at the mall but didn’t—that person could have become your One True Love. Instead you will be tormented by memories of what could have been until you go borderline crazy. Wasn’t that a fun dance?

All kidding aside, I think this MV is trying to teach us to value the relationships we have with other people because life is random; any encounter we have in life could fundamentally change the course of our futures. However, I do personally think that you can’t analyze every happenstance meeting in this fashion; you’ll lose your mind. Sometimes you just have to move on.

Do the members look good?
They do, and what’s more, they look almost plausible. (You could almost meet people this attractive in real life.) In most Kpop music videos I’ve seen, the actors and actresses look like they’re in their early twenties or younger, so it’s nice to see portrayals of slightly older people falling in love.

Which member stood out the most?
I’m pretty sure this was a deliberate choice on Sung Shi Kyung’s part, but it’s kind of like he was trying to be as low-key as possible in this role, the rather stoic and quiet taxi driver, in order to let his leading lady, Jo Yeo Jeong, take the spotlight. Well, it worked for me, and she was really convincing as a person distraught by what-might-have-beens. Also, she had awesome fingernail polish.

Sung Shi Kyung I Like Jo Yeo Jeong boat ride

Fortunately, she got her happy ending.

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Unfortunately, no. I wish the song had continued in the traditional Chinese music vein it had at the beginning of the music video; I liked that part!

Any ending thoughts?
This is kind of an odd observation, but this music video is the first I’ve seen (in Kpop, anyway) where there are actual credits before the song really gets going (and in English, too, yay!). This may not seem like a big deal, but often it’s very difficult for me to tell who is actually in music videos. I’m not familiar with every idol and performer, and it seems like there are a lot of music videos (especially ballads or indie music) where the artist/singer isn’t acting in the video. So I was really grateful for these opening credits.

Sung Shi Kyung I Like credits


I’m not necessarily advocating for music videos to go crazy on credits, but knowing the actors and actresses and connecting their names with faces is really helpful for me as a viewer. (I even love this in films—like the awesome Lord of the Rings closing credits.)

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Don’t you hate it when people get out of their cars in the middle of traffic and just stare at you?” (Also, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!)

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments below. :)


  1. While the title could be technically be translated as "I Like", that's ignoring the context the song provides. The entire song is addressing "you," and the song actually cleverly ends with "Then even now I..." which naturally leads to the title again "...I like you". So the title would be "I Like You." It's not actually specifically written in the title, though, because the object can be omitted in Korean, especially spoken and poetic forms of Korean.
    To answer your question in another post, Jinsil is the vocalist of the indie band Mad Soul Child (매드소울차일드) so that's why you couldn't find information about her individually.
    I'm reading all the way through your reviews right now and I really enjoy them ^^

  2. !!! Thank you thank you thank you for your thoughtful explanation! This is so helpful! I really appreciate it. I will correct the song title. :D

    Oooh, interesting. "Mad Soul Child." I will have to check them out.

    I hope you enjoy the rest of the reviews. I'm still an amateur but hopefully learning slowly. Nice to meet you. :D

  3. Its actually a tale between a man and a woman that were having a hard time after break up.. 난 좋아 literally mean i like but colloquially means I'm ok.. referring to the condition after break up.. the song is supposed to be heartfelt of the man that clearly are not ok and keep on remembering the woman.. Especially when their memories are all over the place... And the woman also make a visits at hong kong..Thinking that she can still visits that place with a calm heart, showing that she is ok but eventually burst into tears as the memories starts to replay again...

  4. Oh, cool! Thank you for the explanation. That actually makes the song so much more sad, though! I hope they still get a happy ending...