[#48] Akdong Musician - "사랑은 은하수 다방에서" (Love in the Milky Way Cafe)

From: K-Pop Star Season 2
Released: March
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: First Appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "Crescendo", "Mmmbop"

I've always wanted to write something about KPop Star, but I never get around to finishing anything I start. I do watch it though, and I liked majority of the acts who made it to the live shows, winners Akdong Musician included. (they were my favorites from the very beginning along with 2000 Won!) As a duo they work really well, and what made them stand out the most for me was that even if they called themselves an "acoustic" act, they had spunk and came up with some great covers. I actually like their "Mmmbop" cover the most, but I only included studio recordings for the countdown. That doesn't mean "Love in the Milky Way Cafe" isn't any good though!

I heard the Akdong version before the 10cm version, but instead of leaning towards one version (which most of us tend to do, myself very much included) I ended up appreciating the song itself more. And I think that has a lot to do with the fact that Akdong were able to capture the original song, while tailor-fitting it to their musical identity and abilities. In both versions there is a whimsical sound to the song -- but the way the two go about delivering that is very different. While the 10cm version uses very distinct, very fitting vocals and a harmonica line, Akdong have this playful piano line and more theatrics from the trumpets and the dynamics of the song itself. They took the main point of the song, and executed it differently -- it's fresh, but not unrecognizable.

That's what I liked about Akdong covers over the course of the show -- instead of forcing songs on themselves, they made the songs work for them. Which I think is how artists who are sure about who they are go about covers. They know their limits as vocalists, they don't have big voices (though SooHyun has done some belting before), but that doesn't prevent them from tackling a wide range of songs. In fact, that limitation only made their covers more creative, precisely because they found ways around it like they did in this song.

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