You know how you get obsessed with a song, and you watch the music video, and then both the song and the music cycle through your brain basically ALL day? Well, when it’s a song/music video that’s in your non-native tongue it’s even worse because you have no freaking clue what the actual lyrics are.
Sure, you can hum the tune, but if you try to sing it out loud you’re just sort of squeezing in soundalike words where you can in order to sing it. Come on, you all remember “Ken Lee“, and I’m sure all of us non-Spanish speakers are doing it with “Despacito” every time it comes on the radio, am I right? (I LOVE THAT SONG.)
We’ve all got the songs that we semi-murder with our lack of talent when it comes to picking up a language. Well, here’s a Korean song that I’ve been pretty much mutilating for weeks as I try to sing it in my head.
“Gashina” is a song by artist Sunmi, a former member of the girl band Wonder Girls. “Gashina” is her title track upon returning to her solo career, and while it only peaked at #5 on the charts, the song is still a marked success.
“Gashina”, which roughly translates to “Leaving” or “Going”, talks about the confusion post-break-up, asking why a man would ever leave a pretty, desirable girl. Lyrically, it’s almost kind of silly, as Sunmi sings, “Why are you leaving such a beautiful woman as me behind?” Really, the song touches on what we all go through when our heart’s broken, that bargaining thought-process we go through to figure out why–all to a very catchy beat.
Within the lyrics, there’s also a flower motif used throughout. As Sunmi concedes that she’s done feeling sad she decides that she’ll just “live like the flowers, that’s who I am”. The lyrics also talk about her “fragrance” and her digging in “like a thorn”. This theme plays through both the song as well as the music video, which utilizes florals in background, wardrobe, and prop.
The whole “a woman is like a flower” idea is actually culturally significant in the case of Korean standards. The idea that, just like flowers, women were designed for beauty is right in place with Korean beauty ideology. In the case of “Gashina”, the lyrics have Sunmi basically saying that she meets these standards, so there’s no reason that this guy should be leaving her now.
Perhaps that’s not what the song is exactly going for, but it’s an interesting thing to look at from a cultural standpoint. Who knows, I’m probably just pulling at straws here! The music video definitely focuses on Sunmi’s natural sex appeal, but what music video doesn’t, right?
Beyond the lyrics, “Gashina” may not have ever hit #1 on the charts, but the choreography definitely hit a mark throughout South Korea. The music video doesn’t show the entire dance work, but Sunmi has put on several live performances of “Gashina” and it’s full choreography and, dang, it’s a phenomenon. In fact, the dance practice video of “Gashina” quickly went viral, with fans even finding that video sexier than the music video.
The choreography for “Gashina” was so iconic that fellow idols were often asked to perform the moves on variety shows, like Weekly Idol. The most well-recognized part of the dance is in the music video and features Sunmi and her dancers using their hands as a mock gun. Not going to lie, I love it just as much as the rest of them.
The dance itself is so well-loved that Sunmi and her backup dancers even posted a choreography change-up, which features the male and female backup dancers switching their roles. It’s pretty hilarious, not going to lie.
While I’d normally post the official music video, “Gashina” and its popularity is not solely about the song, it really is about the dance moves. Thus, I’m posting two videos for you to not only enjoy what I think is an excellent song, but also some legit choreographed moves. The first video is of the original choreography and the second–just because it’s too funny to not post–is the gender-swapped version.