Lyrical Saturday: Epik High ft. Younha - Umbrella

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Epik High's "Umbrella" featuring singer Younha was first released back in 2008, along with an artistic music video. It is one of my favourite Korean rap ballads of all time. 

What makes this the perfect time to discuss the song today is that Younha just recently released a solo remake of "Umbrella" and achieved her first #1 single on Gaon Charts. Although the original remains my favourite, I am also linking Younha's solo version here as I warmly recommend that one as well. 


"Umbrella" is beautiful but extremely sorrowful, both in sound and in meaning. As can be expected from Epik High, the lyrics are exceptionally poetic, describing the sadness and wistful longing for love that has passed. Tablo and Mithra's rap sequences have easy melodious rhythm and are in perfect harmony with Younha's angelic vocals in the refrain. The gentle keyboard opening and the overall use of instrumentals in the song gives it a wonderful melody that emphasizes the yearning and heartache expressed in the lyrics. Yet, at the same time, there's a lovely balance that keeps the song from becoming overdramatic. 


English translation:

My ankles start to sink in the rain
My eyes start to sink in tears I once held back
I cry

Ticking of clock in empty room
Noise of rain kissing the roof
Wearing that coat for first time in a while, a ring in the pocket
memory seeps through the fingers

Coming out into Seoul's night, it's been some days
Puddle becomes a small mirror
In that I stumble along, cos it hurts
Without you, I'm like a chair with an odd leg

Umbrella that was small for two of us
That seemed like an island in a cold world
It's now too big and awkward
My left shoulder always used to be drenched
Burdened by memory, I drop my head, there
Shoelaces are undone as if they're chucked away
But there's only rain and wind around, no,
no-one to hold the umbrella up for me, and I cry

My ankles start to sink in the rain
My eyes start to sink in tears I once held back
I cry

You're an umbrella over my head
Night with cold rain dripping on my shoulders
You being beside me became a habit of mine
I can't go on without you, alone in the rain

Puddles of heaven's tears on the ground
Moon that shines through star-covering clouds
Lonesome noises from shoes along the alley
I turned around, anxious, it was only an echo of mine
Shadow that looked just like myself
We couldn't see each other, us
Are we separated, at last? I draw an answer
drawing in mind, and the answer, I smudge them

Umbrella that was too big in my eyes,
that unfolded from the world that made me cry
that blossomed with everlasting promise
Now, it's torn up above two broken hearts
You'd never be there even if I turn around
My hands would be deep in my pockets
Wherever I freely walk around, my cheeks
Will soak up too easily, even in a drizzle

My ankles start to sink in the rain
My eyes start to sink in tears I once held back
I cry

You're an umbrella over my head
Night with cold rain dripping on my shoulders
You being beside me became a habit of mine
I can't go on without you, alone in the rain

I've opened up, the door to my heart,
You're an umbrella above my head
Your shadow is my shade,
You're an umbrella above my head
I've opened up, the door to my heart,
You're an umbrella above my head
Your shadow is my shade,
You're an umbrella above my head

As you are no longer beside me...
You used to wait outside my window with an umbrella
I cry

You're an umbrella over my head
Night with cold rain dripping on my shoulders
You being beside me became a habit of mine
I can't go on without you, alone in the rain
(I need you back in my life)

You're an umbrella over my head
Night with cold rain dripping on my shoulders
Without you beside me, the world's only a half
You can't go on without me

Forever in the rain

(Translation from JpopAsia, all credit goes to the translator. Click on the link for hangul and romanization.)

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2 comments

  1. Love this song.
    Younha's solo version though just sounds so .. empty to me? I've listened to it a few times, and I just hear Epik High in the background.

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    Replies
    1. Younha's version doesn't sound empty to me, I find very lovely in it's own way. But I do understand what you mean because I'm really attached to the original just like you. The song feels more complete with Epik High in it.

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