Behind the Lyrics & Original English Translation of ‘Firecrackers and Stars’ by Kim Jin-ho

‘Firecrackers and stars’ (폭죽과 별) is a song in Kim Jin-ho’s third official solo album released in 2019.

The singer of group SG Wannabe fame filled this album with 9 tracks that he wrote and composed himself, and which were released as unedited, raw versions of the recordings.

‘Firecrackers’ and ‘Stars’ as metaphors

In his album’s third track Firecrackers and Stars, Kim Jin-ho uses the metaphors to describe how two types of people both shine in their own ways but are not satisfied with where they are and look towards each other in envy.

As you can read in the translations below, the fireworks (a better alternative translation than ‘firecrackers’) want to shine forever and laments falling back down to the ground as dust. But the stars that are in fact shining all the time aren’t as happy as the fireworks expect them to be and actually lament being forgotten that they’re there.

The years that led to the song

The song mirrors Kim Jin-ho’s personal experiences as a singer. Debuting as a member of SG Wannabe in the early 2000’s, Kim Jin-ho quickly rose to stardom with the success of the trio’s songs. After several years of fame, one of the members left the group and started his solo career, only to end his life shortly after in 2011.

SG Wannabe never officially disbanded but haven’t been as active since. It was only years later in 2017 that Kim Jin-ho returned with his first solo album, writing his own songs and coming back to the public with his music.

Kim Jin-ho’s Firecrackers and Stars reminds me of Park Hyo-shin’s Wildflower (link to translated lyrics) that also speaks to the artist’s personal hardships. We’re drawn to listen to every word of the story the singer is trying to tell us – we start by listening and can’t help but find ourselves empathizing with the meaning behind it all.

Translated English Lyrics to ‘Firecrackers and Stars’ (폭죽과 별) by Kim Jin-ho (김진호)

Kim Jin-ho performing live on You Quiz on the Block aired January 2021

나를 터뜨려줄 힘 있는 사람만 기다렸네
하늘 위로 날아올라 반짝이고 나면
사람들이 나를 쳐다보겠지 소리쳐주겠지
나 그 기분이 좋았고 딱 그 위치가 좋았어

I waited for the right person to light me up
Once I soar into the sky and glitter
They would look at me and cheer for me
I liked that feeling and that place that I was in

그러다 보니 내 옆에 별이 닿을 것 같네
별과 함께 어깨를 나란히 하고만 싶네
날 다시 하늘 위로 날려줄 사람만을 찾고
그들 손에 길들여져 버린 폭죽 하나로 남네

And now I think I can almost touch the stars around me
I just want to be side by side with those stars
I search for the one who can shoot me back into the sky
While I’m left behind as the fireworks they’ve tamed

난 다시 하늘 위로 떠오르고
사람들은 날 보고 소리 지르고
난 다시 재가 되어 땅에 내리고
사람들은 나를 밟고 떠나가고

I soar back into the sky
They look at me and cheer for me
I fall back to the ground as ashes
They walk over me and leave me

하늘에 잠시 떠올랐던 그 순간 별들에게 물어봤어
너희들은 좋겠다고 계속 빛나고 있으니
폭죽에게 별들이 말해줬어 사람들은 잊곤 한대
계속 빛을 내고 있으면 빛인 줄도 모른다고

I asked the stars that brief moment in the sky
It must be nice to be shining all the time
The stars said to the fireworks that people tend to forget
If you’re always shining they don’t even know you’re there

외롭거나 누군가 그리운 날들이 오면
그제서야 가끔씩 별들을 바라본다고
환호 속에 반짝이는 커다란 폭죽보다
침묵으로 빚어진 외로운 빛일 뿐이야 별은

When they are lonely or on days they miss someone
Only then they look at the stars sometimes
Unlike big fireworks that shine through their cheers
Stars are just lonely sources of light carved out from silence

난 다시 하늘에서 내려오고
사람들은 날 보고 끝났다 하고
난 다시 재가 되어 땅에 내리고
사람들은 나를 밟고 떠나가고

I fall back from the sky
They look at me and say it’s over for me
I fall back to the ground as ashes
They walk over me and leave me

별은 계속 하늘을 빛내겠지
폭죽은 흙이 돼 땅을 빛내겠지
하늘과 땅 그 사이에 머물던
우리들의 모습들을 바라보네

The stars would keep lighting up the sky
The fireworks would turn to dust and light the ground
I look at those of us who used to
Wander between the sky and the ground

More Lyrics

Lies, Lies, Lies by Lee Juck

Other poetic Korean lyrics

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