Lamenting and anguish… different interpretations

It is certainly a surprise that a Korean version of Tamaki Koji’s song is remade 18 years after its release in Japan. Below are the original Japanese version, the Chinese (Cantonese) version and the most recent Korean version of the song, in chronological order.

There’s no doubt that the song is of deep sorrow, given the minor tonality and slow tempo. In fact, it’s pretty interesting to hear singers from different countries, with different vocal styles and of different eras, interpreting the same song. Personally, I adore Tamaki’s original version most, for the reason that he conveyed the emotion in the simplest and most direct way. Minimal ornamental singing. Airy voice to portray the feeling of being lost in the vast emptiness. Tamaki’s version also has the best instrumentals. Lovely solo oboe and violin.

I grew up listening to Jacky Cheung’s version and have always thought it’s the best until I came across the original Japanese version in recent years. Well, Cheung is well-known for his impressive vocal skills, but then it’s also a trap for singers to show off the technical side of things but miss the focus of delivering the emotions which the music is supposed to deliver. In this aspect, most of Jacky’s live performances are pretty disappointing, not to mention the unimaginative arrangement of the song. It’s practically a direct copy of the Japanese version.

Typical of tragic ballads in Korean pop, with the way lyrics are articulated and the tension carried by the singing, Tae Won’s version should be easily distinguished as Korean even if you don’t know the three languages. I appreciate the bamboo flute solo which differs from the original Japanese version. This gives a strong character to this remake of the song, which is both pleasant to the ears and well-suited to the atmosphere of the song.

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玉置 浩二 (たまき こうじ) – 行かないで
Tamaki Koji – “Ikanaide (Don’t go away)”

Single “行かないで”/ Released 20 Nov 1989

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張學友 – 李香蘭
Jacky Cheung – “Yamaguchi Yoshiko”

Track 5 / Album “夢中的你” / Released Jul 1990

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태원 (Tae.1) – 독(毒)
Tae Won – “Dok (Poison)”

Track 1 / Digital single “Love Ballad In 2007 Vol.3” / Released 22 Feb 2008

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