Song of the Day: “Never Ending Story”

I was challenged to come up with an epic love song that doesn’t have the words “love” or “like” in the lyrics. As I went through my playlist, I was frankly surprised that there were in fact many such songs. After some contemplation, I decided to go with the song “Never Ending Story” by Boohwal because not only is it a great love song, it is one of my favorites, period.

Although the song is originally from 2002, drama addicts might be familiar with it from when Tae-bong (YOON SANG HYUN) serenaded it to Ji-ae (KIM NAM JOO) in Queen of Housewives (2009).

(English translation of the lyrics below…)

Never Ending Story

Verse 1:
손 닿을 수 없는 저기 어딘가
Somewhere beyond my reach,
오늘도 넌 숨쉬고 있지만
You breathe on once again today.
너와 머물던 작은 의자위엔
Over the little bench we used to rest on,
같은 모습의 바람이 지나네
The same wind from then passes by.

Verse 2:
너는 떠나며 마치 날 떠나가듯이
As you walk away, as you leave me
멀리 손을 흔들며
Waving your hands from afar
언젠간 추억에 남겨져 갈꺼라고
Saying that someday it will become a distant memory.

그리워하면 언젠간 만나게 되는
Like in the movies where you reunite one day
어느 영화와 같은 일들이 이뤄져가기를
if you long for each other, how I wish that would happen to us.
힘겨워한 날에 너를 지킬수 없었던
Because in hard times, I couldn’t protect you
아름다운 시절속에 머문 그대이기에
It is you who remained in the beautiful days.

(Repeat Verse 2)

(Repeat Chorus)

Lyrics translated by Blue1004

Note about the lyrics:
As it is typical of songs written by Kim Tae Won (the leader of Boohwal), the original Korean lyrics to this song have many ungrammatical sentences that make it difficult to fully comprehend the meaning behind them. This translation was my best interpretation as I understood them, which may or may not be correct.

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9 Responses to Song of the Day: “Never Ending Story”

  1. xesre8 says:

    hey blue, thanks for sharing. lovely song. If i recall correctly, this song is also in one of the 동감 (Dong Gam) Volumes? I love this song too!

  2. Softy says:

    Hey blue
    I love this song – never really knew what it was about before. Thanks for sharing your beautiful translations. Why did you want to find a song without love or like in it? Just as a challenge? Curious.
    Isn’t the singer lee seung chul? He was part of a band? This might be a dumb question but what’s with all the old long haired dudes? they sort of scared me in between all the make out scenes – it’s so jarring to see pretty bucolic scenery then suddenly a korean bigfoot look alike playing guitar. It might have been better if they had them in the woods playing guitar- more like they are in their natural environment kinda thing.

    • blue says:

      It was just a suggestion made by kcomments, and I too got curious on whether there were many love songs without the words “love” or “like” in them. So it became a new challenge for myself. But I was surprised to find that there were many such songs.

      Yup, the singer is Lee Seung Chul, but he started his career as the lead vocalist of the band “Boohwal.” He eventually left to go solo, but for this particular album, he and Boohwal briefly got back together again in 2002. The guitarist with the long hair is Kim Tae Won. You might recognize him from the variety show “Qualifications of Men.”

  3. martha says:

    Thank you so much – What a beautiful song! Your translation is beautiful as well 🙂

  4. kcomments says:

    Wahhhhh! Epic love song indeed! Hands down! You are the winner, hehe.
    I love Lee Seung Chul’s vocal, he has such powerful voice , even if I don’t know the meaning, I can connect what he’s trying to convey easily. Your translation is beautiful, no ‘love’ or ‘like’ but I can feel his love and pain. WOW!

    The reason behind my curious is, I was debating with my dear soompi-ers whether or not writer Moon should give us a proper love declaration scene with three words. Then your song came up, I thought would there be a song that I really feel the epic love without saying? Well, I can see now, that there is one. Thanks Blue. ^^

  5. Artemis says:

    This is one of my absolute favorite K-pop songs. I say k-pop even though this is a Boohwal song. Kim Tae Won writes some of the most beautiful tunes out there. I started crying when they showed how it was written in “Rock Rock Rock”- Lee Seung Chul is fantastic. He is one of the few that sounds better live than in recording.

    Mr X translated the chorus like this in “Rock Rock Rock”:

    May it end like in one of those movie scenes
    Where if I long for you, I one day will meet you again
    As if forever lingering on in my mind
    Bringing me back to those beautiful days when I didn’t wipe your tears

    I don’t know any Korean but I guess like with Japanese song lyrics can have several meanings.

    Thank you so much Blue! 🙂

    • blue says:

      Indeed, Kim Tae Won is extremely talented and although I’ve always been a fan of Boohwal’s music, I’ve gained an even deeper appreciation after watching “Rock, Rock, Rock.” It was particularly moving how the song 회상 III came about, with the backstory of his wife. I now get chills whenever I hear her voice portion in the song.

      As for the chorus to “Never Ending Story”, I really like X’s translations of the first two lines much better than mine. He definitely managed to capture both the meaning and the poetic feel very well.

      As for the last two lines, if you’re curious of what the actual translations should be because X’s and mine are so different, my translation is the literal translation of the Korean lyrics, word by word. I didn’t attempt to put any of my own interpretation spin to it because frankly, I too was confused what he (the lyricist, Kim Tae Won) was trying to say here. Thus, in my translation of the last two lines, I tried to stay faithful to the ambiguity of the original lyrics so that the listeners can arrive at their own interpretation themselves.

      In contrast, X took some artistic license in translating the lyrics, such as interpreting “protecting” as “wiping the tears.” Koreans often use the phrase “protect a loved one,” and it means to stay by that person’s side and shield him from any harm, whether internal or external (ex. financial problems, mean mother-in-law, betrayal, lowered self-esteem, etc). And of course, wiping that person’s tears would be encompassed under “protect” as well. I think his was a pretty damn good interpretation of the lyrics, especially since the original Korean lyrics to this particular song is so open to interpretation.

      I wanted to point out that it’s not that all Korean lyrics have many different meanings, but it’s that this particular song has so much room for different interpretations because of how ambiguous the lyrics are written. Hope that helps clear up any confusion!

  6. Artemis says:

    I also thought the first two lines were very beautifully translated and made me love the song even more. I was thinking Mr X took some artistic licence, as I have a feeling he does that every so often. 🙂
    Thank you so much for explaining the differences. I’ve always enjoyed reading your explanations about Korean culture and linguistics on Soompi so I am happy I found your blog! 🙂 Still can’t thank you enough for stepping in and making such awesome subs for SKKS!!!

    The part about “Memories III” in the drama was beautifully done, same with “Rain and Your Story”. I am so glad KBS made a drama out of Kim Tae Won’s life story. I think it showed a lot of kdrama fans that the music scene in Korea is more than just idol groups.

    Now off to read what you’ve written about Korean names.

  7. luvyoo says:

    hi blue, love your post about this song that captured my heart after watched Kim Bum Soo rendition@I am A Singer and 2AM ChangMin@Immortal Song 2, Kim Taewoon daebak, i knew him fr Qualification of Men’s Choir, thank you for share the translation of the lyrics,appreciate it ^ ^

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