For this week’s Indie Pick I wanted to write about Jang Pill Soon. This indie folk singer has been in the industry since 1982 and is still active to this day. That’s almost forty years of releasing music, having an influence on the entire industry. Just like Kim Ildu, Jang Pill Soon is one of the OGs of Korean indie folk.
Let’s take a closer look at her discography.
Jang Pill Soon started off in 1982 by joining Sunlight Village at her university which was a creative musical group.
She debuted solo in 1989 with her self-titled album ‘Jang Pill Soon’. Kim Hyun Cheol worked as both lyricist and composer for most of the tracks and it was a collaboration made in heaven. He’s also featured on track 8.
I found the translated lyrics to the opening single of her first album. ‘Before One Knows’ has a rather tragic story. Here’s a snippet.
Before one knowssource
My age fades away
Before one knows
I lost the thirsty heart
I am in the process of
becoming a dull person
Before one knows
Time took away
my dear lover
and made me brokenhearted
In 1991 Jang Pill Soon came back with ‘Jang Pill Soon 2’. She stays true to her airy way of singing, which is also something that was popular in those times. However, she very much found her niche and was quite successful with it.
One year later she came out with ‘This city is always lonely’.
Her album ‘One Day’ released in 1995, feels a lot more jazz inspired. While there are still folk songs on the album, it feels more like an experimental mixx because there’s also some rock on there. Overall it’s just a great listen that feels very dynamic and inspired. ‘Road’ is such a good track of that album.
The ‘97 album ‘When My Loneliness Calls You’ is an absolutely wonderful listen. Check out her translated lyrics here. It’s great to see her poetic lyricism.
Here’s a snippet.
My feelings for you are dying slowlysource
But I didn’t forget the many winters we had
Like the memory of your hands holding my hands tightly
Those memories come back to me when the cold wind blows
‘Soony 6’ came out in 2002.
After ‘Soony 6’, there was a ten year gap before she released ‘Soony 7’. Jang Pill Soon moved to Jeju Island and took a well-deserved break.
Then in 2018, she came back with ‘Soony 8’. This album introduces more electronic elements and creates a very interesting soundscape. It makes for a more ambient album while still maintaining her essence.
Her album ‘Petrichor’ is her latest release. That came out just last month and was featured in my Weekly Indie Report.
Jang Pill Soon is a prolific indie folk singer-songwriter and it’s amazing she’s still releasing new music for us. I hope you give her discography a try, as even her earliest release feels very timeless.
I focused mostly on her full albums for this Indie Pick. It’s rather hard to put her entire discography in one album. She has dozens of singles as well, but I feel like her albums give us the best clue as to what her style is and a lot of the singles are remakes of songs she released in the very beginning of her career.
You can find her on Spotify here.