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You be the judge: Lee Da Hae’s single


Well, you’ve seen the photos, you’ve heard about the song, and maybe you’ve seen the clips of her video. But now you can listen to both versions of the Lee Da Hae rendition (Korean and English) of the song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and judge for yourselves.

As for me, I wouldn’t say it’s awful… It’s certainly not as awkward as the video.

She sounds… very nasal and whiny, and holds JUST enough of a tune that you can see why people thought Lee Da Hae had enough ability to put out her own single. (I think they were overshooting.)

(It also suggests that despite her schooling in Australia, she’s not fluent in English, which I’ve suspected for a while. Her pronunciation’s better than the average Korean, but it seems she’s trying to compensate for her deficiency by mumbling — I can’t even really tell the English version is in English. Which is why I think the Korean version is far better, even if they sound almost the same when you’re not trying to understand the lyrics.)

Let’s hope she sticks to acting. She’s actually pretty good at it.

SONG(s) OF THE DAY

“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (Korean) [ zShare download ]

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“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (English) [ zShare download ]

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you're right, i love the korean version better.. since i can't understand the language (since im no korean) i can concentrate more on her singing/voice than understanding what she's saying.. hahaha..

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Ughhh. the voice enhancers drown her out...or should I say make up for her weak vocals.
I, too, hope she sticks to acting.

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dun get me wrong she looks great....but i cant tell the difference between the korean on english version...lmfao....i triple agree i too hope she sticks w/ acting shes better at it...

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She sounds like Korean J.Lo. Both of them are good in the careers they started out with, but they are just not meant for singing.

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The inner Simon Crowell in me say both are pretty awesome karaoke versions. I covet that tiny waist of hers.

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Uh . . . well, if you're not going to say they're awful, please let me - they're AWFUL. The Korean version is marginally better than the English, which is barely comprehensible. Clearly, she's lovely, but she really should stick to acting.

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Well, I agree. The song itself wasn't so horrible, but the video, despite the fact that the stills were awesome, was painful. In terms of pronunciation, it wasn't bad. The song itself kinda demands fast talking, so it was a bit hard to enunciate every word without messing up the tempo.

Verdict: Definitely stick to acting.

ps. Am just dizzy with excitement over Robbers. Hope she really signs up for that.

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i do agree that she should just stick to acting. her singing's pretty average and the song isn't too bad - for the korean version. didn't like the english version at all, though.

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I had to ask. Is her Korean pronunciation good in this song? I only heard mumbles in English version, and mumbles in Korean version. I can only follow "I love rock and roll", the rest was very difficult to catch - in both version. Not that I understand Korean, but the words don't seem to be clear either. I had to listen very hard to notice that they were TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS!!!

No more than a good karaoke session, in my opinion.

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I agree with you. Personally i think the song was too big for her, like the music was so loud, you could barely hear her over the music, and she's very nasally. Don't get me wrong though, i love her as an actress, but let's just say, i hope she doesn't quit her day job and decide to become a fool blown singer.

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I didn't think her English was that bad... I could understand most of it... and what I couldn't was because her accompaniment drowned her out. Plus, I've heard MUCH worse attempts by other Asian artists, so I'll cut her some slack. Just listen to Jimmy Lin trying to sing Elton John's, Your Song to see what I mean. Compared to him, she's like an 8, lol: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZtChKgnQOso

But yes, I agree. She should stick to acting.

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oh my.. LDH is my favorite gal.. but yes.. i think she should just stick to acting. I just saw one of her videos.. and her dancing is abit off for me.. ehhe.. no matter what.. i adore LDH to bits.. so i'll take it as she's having fun and this is a one-time thing? hahahaa.. I wouldn't say that her singing is "awful"- not good.. but she's my favorite LDH.. ehhe.. i adore her singing in my girl.. but I have to say.. she is not "great" enough to be a singer ( yet).. that's all.. ehehe.. but wow.. who decides on this song for her? and the music video too!! Awful music video.. yikes!! She looks great - I'll say that.. but whoever puts that music video together - tsk tsk!!

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i heard the english version and only caught the words "I love rock and roll" and something "seventeen"....argh!!!

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good try LDH...yah pretty much a unanimous decision across the board...actress = yes!, singer = highly unlikely; her voice definitely cant handle such an upbeat and commanding song...mayb ballads would suit her voice better

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I think she IS fluent in English, but she clearly has an Australian accent, which is natural being as how she was schooled there. Try listening to her English version of the song while looking at the lyrics, you'll see that her English is actually pretty good here. And I didn't notice any mumbling, more like the lyrics being sung quickly to keep up with the beat of the song. I think she did a fair job with the cover, her voice could benefit from some training, but it was a nice effort overall.
___________________________________
I Love Rock N' Roll
(J. Hooker/A. Merrill)

I saw him dancin' there by the record machine
I knew he must a been about seventeen
The beat was goin' strong
Playin' my favorite song
An' I could tell it wouldn't be long
Till he was with me, yeah me, singin'

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

He smiled so I got up and' asked for his name
That don't matter, he said,
'Cause it's all the same

Said can I take you home where we can be alone

An' next we were movin' on
He was with me, yeah me

Next we were movin' on
He was with me, yeah me, singin'

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

Said can I take you home where we can be alone

An we'll be movin' on
An' singin' that same old song
Yeah with me, singin'

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me
___________________________________

You'll notice some of the lyrics were altered. I really like the Korean version though - her voice sounds sweet and sexy at the same time, at least to me. :D

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I've heard her speaking English before (briefly in interviews and such), and although I've been trying to figure out the level of her proficiency for a while, she is most certainly not fluent in English. That much is pretty clear. It's better than most other Korean-born actors, but I don't think it's as good as she's touted as being. I would like to hear her converse or say something substantial, though, just to appease my curiosity.

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Are you sure it's not the Australian accent that is throwing you off? I'm not from Australia, but I have in the past interacted with some Australian natives, and while we have a common language in English, the difference in accents did lead to misunderstandings on several occassions. I think she's fluent, but has an accent, which is fine, considering Australians think of Americans as also having an accent. I too would like to hear her converse a bit more in English; to fully determine her level of proficiency for one thing, but more so because I like hearing her cute accent. :D

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Anonymous, I'm sure. It's not (only) her accent; it's her syntax and wording. Don't get me wrong; she's not BAD. She's just not great and the only reason I care is that it annoys me when Koreans tend to exalt anyone with the teensiest English exposure (as a non-native) as being fluent and brilliant. Many of them aren't.

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Let me back javabeans up on that. I'm from Australia and it certainly isn't the Australian accent (put cheaply, it's what we here call the "fob" accent - as in fresh off boat). I could hardly understand what she was saying, just mumbles here and there and a phrase every now and again.
Australians do have an accent when compared with other English speakers but it's one that definitely doesn't come through in song. If you've heard of any Australian artists, you can see there is no inherent difference between how the songs are sung and things are pronounced.
I was quite interested in what LDH's English would be like too when i found out she did most of her high school years in Australia. To actually have an Australian accent, I'd say you need to be born here or have been over here for at least 10 years (it helps if you come over young - the majority of adults no matter how long they've migrated don't adopt it), and that's being generous.

LDH's English is far from fluent. Which is not to say there's a problem with that as her Korean's all she really needs to do what she does but i too get annoyed when people put some star's proficiencies as much higher than deserved just because they spent some time overseas. That and I don't like the idea that something gets blamed on the "Australian accent" primarily because it's bad. Our outback accent's pretty bad i must admit, but not THAT bad. lol.

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First of all thanks Javabeans for the songs! I was so curious about Lee Da Hae's singing when I readed your previous article. I love the Korean version better than the English one. And thanks Anonymous for the lyric! I wouldn't be able understand the English version at all if Anonymous doesn't post the lyric. Like you mention, Anonymous, once I saw the lyric, and follow along with the her singing, I found her English is better. I think Lee Da Hae's english is good but I agree with Javabeans that she is certainly not fluent in English.
Second, this is my first comment, I have been a silence reader. I love your articles, Javabeans!!! I am addicted to your blog so keeping the good works. We all looking forward to you.

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HAHA Well, we'll only be able to settle this by having Lee Da Hae exchange some English dialogue, preferrably with one of us (j/k, HAHA I wish). Do you recall Speed, the shelved drama-project Lee Da Hae was supposed to have starred in? That would have been a good test of her proficiency.

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Qwen, you're welcome. I'm glad you found the lyrics useful.
Kelly, I wasn't blaming the Australian accent, though I understand how it would appear that I did. I just think it's a factor to consider when listening to her speak/sing the language.
Ah well, guess I'll be the only one pitching tent in this camp then. XP

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The English version is awful... My Korean friend who came to Sydney with her family when she was 5 years old still had a trace of Korean accent, but definitely spoke better English than Lee Da Hae. LDH may attempt a simple ballad for the OST of her next TV drama, but should really not switch to singing altogether.

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Hey Anonymous,
I really wasn't suggesting that you were blaming the (imo bad) singing on the Australian accent (obviously not, because you appreciate it more than the rest of us).

I was just trying to say that it's not her accent because she doesn't have one (not an Australian one anyway). Lol.

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I also found the english version of her song awful..it was a good effort from Da Hae tho. *applaudes her*

As for her English, I've only heard her speak the language a few times (cos I don't remember she's spoken that many lines anywhere given that I always follow her news). But I'd say she's fluent enough for a Korean who has studied in Aus for a few years..it's not like she grew up there. Ppl actually made a mistake, thinking that Da Hae actually grew up in Aus..she was only there for a few years!

I think she shoud stick to acting also.. but still, a good effort for trying out!

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Heh, all I can say is good try on the English. But I had to stop playing it. I was cringing a lot... But the Korean Version is better obviously because I'm not as fluent in Korean as I am in English, so I just kind of listen to it rather than interpreting/translating/understanding the lyrics. I have to listen to a Korean song a couple of times before I start understanding what they're saying, lol.

Well to me, the picture on this post right now is making me feel a little awkward 'cause she's so dang skinny/fit, hahaha. How much more awkward is the mv? hahaha I think I'll pass before I begin to feel self-conscious...lol jk. But really, the english version? Just...no. No. No thank you.

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#19 Kelly
"Australians do have an accent when compared with other English speakers..."

See Let's Speak Strine by Afferbeck Lauder, a wonderful spoof "Australian to British Dictionary" ("Afferbeck Lauder" being itself a piece of Strine, the guy's real name was Alastair Morrison). I don't know whether it's still in print, but it ought to be.

Though in terms of linguistic history, the Australian family of accents (like East Coast American ones) are really just former British accents shifted into a time-warp where they've evolved differently from in their home country.

"... but it’s one that definitely doesn’t come through in song."

Ah now, that's a different matter. It doesn't come through in pop songs because of a deliberate decision to adopt a mid-Pacific twang, just as British pop uses a mid-Atlantic synthetic version that sounds "American" to British ears and "British" to American ones. But there are plenty of Australian folk-singers who perform in Strine, and good for them.

Korean is one of those languages (French is another) that has such a highly distinctive sound system that those who don't learn it in infancy (and lay down the required motor neuron pathways and speech organ habits when those things are developmentally still up for grabs) have huge difficulties acquiring accurate pronunciation later. And vice versa.

The world is full of Germans, say, who speak acoustically as well as grammatically near-perfect English after learning it in their teens. But how many French people do you meet who learned English after infancy and who speak it without a noticeable accent? Same goes for Koreans.

Sadly, though, whereas a strong French accent, in either gender, is regarded as sexy or at least charming, a strong Korean accent is, with the best will in the world, very hard indeed for English-attuned ears to understand at all. And that's before the Korean speaker hits the even bigger obstacle of having to operate with a radically different grammar and syntax, and very different notions of what to make explicit and what to leave unsaid, in order to get Korean thoughts into English word patterns.

Exactly the same problems, though in reverse, face the foreign learner of Korean. Even Japanese learners (who have the advantage of having already internalized a grammar and syntax closer to Korean than any other language) still have the massive problem of the sound system.

So I'm always impressed at the level of English some Koreans who didn't learn in infancy nevertheless manage to achieve, and I'm reluctant to scoff at those who simply can't manage to make the right noises.

That said, this is (like the grotesque Ingrish dialogue in LSIH) a rehearsed performance. And there are voice coaches who can work wonders in such circumstances. But voice coaches seem to be thin on the ground (or maybe just not very competent) in Korean media circles. Someone mentioned Memoirs of a Geisha (the movie) in another comment recently. The DVD set has a fascinating "bonus item" on how the voice coaching there was done.

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Neither version is any worse than the putrid original hit by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I saw her open several shows in the 80's and 90's for "real" rock and roll bands and always found it to be annoying, lightweight, television inspired type pop poop. They were a great excuse to go and grab a beer before the headliners came on.

I really can't think of of many (actually any) actors/actresses who are better suited as singers, but I will say this, LDH looks better than any of them!!

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I didn't think either version was that bad, but it lacked the attitude of the original.
It's hard to know whether it is her english pronunciation or it is her singing pronunciation that is lacking. I've never heard her speak any real extended english.

Depending on what language you are fluent in, you are probably impressed or critical dependant on that. You hear Oh Ji Ho and think his english is great if you are Korean and it's not. In the same way listening to someone speaking Korean like Dennis Oh, it's sounds ok to me, but it's probably just as bad as Oh Ji Ho's english.

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Joan Jett not only spun in her grave, i'm sure she's trying to claw her way out to pimp slap simulataneously all those who spawned this travesty.

"Putrid original hit" robbo4? Then the current music scene must leave you absolutely devastated.

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People hear (and can usually successfully imitate) sounds that are significantly contrasted in their native language; but without special training, they simply don't hear contrasts in a foreign language that aren't significant in their own.

It's well known that in many East Asian languages, not just Korean, the L / R contrast isn't significant. In the past ten minutes, I've heard two different announcers identify the same station as "MBC Radio" and "MBShee Ladio" The vast majority of their primary audience wouldn't notice any difference, but to English ears it stands out a mile.

But the problem is much worse the other way. English speakers hear a significant contrast between voiced B and unvoiced P, but in Korean not only is that particular contrast not significant, but there is a completely different three-way significant contrast between the corresponding plain, aspirated and tense sounds. So English speakers think they're saying "coffee" and bewildered Koreans hear something more like "nose bleed".

What seems to make things worse as far as Korean learning of English is concerned is the combination of native Korean High School teachers, some of whose English pronunciation is extremely bad (far worse than many Korean scientists, who have to speak understandable English to deliver conference papers), with imported teaching assistants who are indeed native speakers but who are really just more or less enthusiastic amateurs with very little training in applied linguistics and none at all in phonetics (and who often are only struggling beginners at learning Korean, so they don't really understand why their pupils have such a hard time with English). I think that helps explain why the megabillions of Won spent by successive Korean governments on English teaching seems to yield disappointing results.

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Uh, just FYI -- "I Love Rock n Roll" was not written by Joan Jett. She merely had the most famous cover version. And she's not dead either.

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Lee Da Hae's voice is kind of nasally. Ick.

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I didn't think it was THAT BAD...i mean...you got some pretty famous pop singers that are just simply "in tune"...that don't have that great of a voice...but that are immensily famous cuz of the image they have..... (lol...think Jerry Yan in F4)

However, her voice, although in tune, has a slightly different problem and I don't think she is going to go far with this..simply because she obviously just doesn't have the voice strenght to be a singer......she is way too nasal...and sings completely from the nose.....it was probably hard for her to sing that song in tune.

Regarding the English...c'mon....we gotta give the girl SOME credit......although the beginning was completely impossible to understand...the chorus was understandable........... And her pronounciation is MUCH better than any Korean actor/actress that I have ever heard(like in Love Story in Harvard for example...ugh)

Whether she is fluent in english or not is NOT made clear or unclear by this song, since all she had to do was sing words already written for her....it is HOW you construct your sentences that shows whether or not you have a fluency in a language, regardless of prononciation. I came here from brazil, and although I don't have an accent, my dad does...but he still speaks fluent English...and has no problem preaching (he is a pastor) in English...THAT Is fluency...fluency doesn't have anything to do with having an accent ( unless its REALLY BAD).......

But... regarding her pronounciation.....she properly pronounced what I think is the hardest thing in the English language to pronounce (and I this this cuz I had to learn English....English is not my first language)..... which is the "r" in words such as "rock" and "roll"and "girl"....and she pronounced them almost flawlessly.......So, just for that.....i have to give her some credit......but, like Javabeans said, i would also like to see her speak in english without a script (or song lyrics), impromptu...so that I can really measure whether or not her English is good

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"mumbling" was the exact word to describe the English version. But I think she should stick to acting. Although the Korean version wasn't bad.

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good god, is this for reals. It was so awful. I shake my head and totally feel bad for her.

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Sorry to say that but I must agree with most of the people no only did it suck, but the Video Clip ...

I mean we already know she's pretty and everything, it's such a waste of talent, exposing yourself like that while singing a crappy song ( well originally not crappy but seems like she had the flue when she sang). Why Korean (female) singers are so obsessed with beauty? In France beauty doesn't help you to sell, those who sell the most are ugly ( they even know it lol) but make it up with true talent.

If she wanted to make a singing career at least she should have tried to gain some respect and prepare something that's worth a little interest. It's an already written song, badly sung with a crappy MV...

As for the english version like Javabeans I really had to concentrate to hear the english, in the beginning of the song it even sounded like korean to me. The music was too loud for such a little voice... Maybe they thought it would be enough to cover the poor voice or the mumbling I don't know.

Anyway it's quickly downloaded and quickly erased. Stick to acting you're way better.

Added: rebeca you should have heard Jung Ryu Won speak in English in Which Star did you come from. That's good English for you. Seems like Lee Da Hae went to high school in Australia... Jung Ryu Won also grew up there but seems the amount of effort to pronounce properly was not equal. I don't want to sound harsh but one thing I've noticed is that often when people have a bad pronounciation it's because they're really bad or most of the time they don't really try to sound proper until they have such bad habits of pronunciation it's impossible for them to get rid of them.

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No no..I wana defend Da Hae. t.t
She's not planning to become a singer or anything.. she's just trying out. It's not something she's planning to go far with.

And her singing badly doesn't mean her talent's wasted...it doesn't negate the fact that she's actually a talented and versatile actress. I guess ppl just don't see the point in why this digital album was made after all. It's not her debut single or album to gush her towards a new career in the singing industry..it's just a try-out for Da Hae. And since she's involved in such a big Music Event and given that she's chosen to be the host, I don't see why her effort in giving singing a try should not be appreciated and instead being commented nastily on like that. I'm with you guys that her singing's not good, and she should stick to acting, but saying that her performance is a waste of talent's a bit too harsh for her. At least I'm glad she gave it a try and well, it didn't work out..but at least she tried.

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I like LDH because of her acting and looks, but whoever decided that she would come out with a single should be fired. I mean, aren't those people supposed to look out for their artists and think of ways to improve their artists' image? Instead, this effort showed her in a very bad light.

Side notes:
I couldn't finish watching LSiH in Korean because of the horrible English they used. I mean, when I watched it with English subtitles I could see that what was written was very, very far from what they were saying (on those occasions when I could understand what English words they were trying to pronounce).

In fact, I will probably get to finish watching it when it will be shown again here in the Philippines dubbed into Filipino/Tagalog! I'll be able to do so because I won't be distracted and irritated by the "Engrish". :D

Jung Ryeo Won and Kim Eugene are two Korean actresses who can, for me, speak pretty understandable English.

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Well honestly ripgal, It's good to try something but if you try it, you should give it your best shot which she didn't.
I may have sounded harsh but it's just that bad songs+ overly sexy poses was just too much. I like her as I actress and I deeply feel she deserves better than just "shaking her butt" in this manner.
It was a good way to make people lose respect and esteem they have for her. I won't stop watching her because of that... but honestly she lost a bit of the respect I had, not like anybody care though, but I truly feel these actresses should look at themselves a bit better and show that they're not only pretty faces.
I mean they pay attention to try to act in good shows, even if you experience something, because it is a try and may be the ONLY one, make it good and clean.

Well this annoying fact is not only korean, but from what I've heard from my korean friends, it's like women over there have that kind of disease that their whole future is based on their beauty, like whether you're bright or not doesn't count if your face's not good and you're not slim.

These people who are under the spotlight should show that yep it's important to take care of yourself, but what's more is what you do not the way you look.

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I understand where you are coming from, and I can't say you are wrong because it's your opinion. I myself found the video very embarrasing for Da Hae too..and I don't deny that it was really badly done.

I guess it's just that I'm a fan of Da Hae and I sorta get really defensive when ppl start to criticise her for her efforts (which did not pay off for a lot of ppl I guess). I'm of the opinion that it's not her choice that she chose to wear that outfit, dance along with the crappy song, and even more so, make the MV. I kinda perceived everything from the point that everything was decided by her company?! (or does it not work this way?) I feel even more bad for Da Hae when ppl start to lose respect for her because they see her in something that doesn't suit her (but in which she puts in her best..IMO, I think she did her best. Cos firstly, she's not a singer NOR a prof dancer like Hyori or Bin or whoever to start with, and secondly, she's just doing it for the MKMF event.)

Yes she was portrayed in a not so decent light with the crappy stiff dance in the MV, but that does not make her any less different (in personality and acting) than where and when she was before.

Well, I guess I was a bit defensive. But no offence.. you're just stating your opinion! =) PEAZE

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i doubt the WHOLE thing was decided by the company, but you're probably right in thinking that she probably didn't choose a lot of the aspects of the video.

all in all, bad move for Lee Da Hae. but i can forgive her.

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Her voice must have been synthesized like crazy to make it sound better.
I'm just brushing it off...no one will take her seriously anyway.

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To think that this is the final music video cut, I shudder at the thought of what was on the cutting floor. Or did they forget to edit it? The video was bad; her single fares just a bit better than that. They could have at least chosen a song that is more appropriate for her vocal ability. I heard that LDH is also fluent in Japanese. I hope that it's better than her English.

Is she really going to perform this on stage? Props to her for being a good sport if this was done as charity work for a good cause. But if this is a legitimate attempt at a new singing career? I'm speechless!

Anyway, i still think it's pure marketing genius for MKMF... i guess everyone is going to be watching the award show this weekend.

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as I listen to her again....It does not sound like her voice....I dont know....It just doesnt sound like her......

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lol I think she looks awesome. I like her acting.

But singing, her voice is a quite weak and the english version, uhmmmm I only understand "I love Rock' N Roll." that's about it...

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NONONO!! haha.. that was not very good. i agree with everyone in saying that she is a good actress but the singing? no thank you.

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I don't know if I can post streaming links here, but here's Da Hae recording the song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMVue47iG4M

You can pretty much hear her original voice..
I'd say she sounds better recording?

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I agree with u a lot it sounds better in Korean than in English

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La Plume: I dont' mean to start a whole different topic, but on your pronounciation thing...I think that yeah, there are alot of peple that mispronounce a language they are trying to learn because of lazyness...but i do also believe that, especially after a certain age, it is very difficult, if not impossible to get rid of an accent.

My boyfriend has been in the US since he was 12...he clearly speaks fluent English...has a High School diploma from an American school and goes to college here in the states...but he still has that "accent" where you know he not a native...

The reason why i stated that in my last reply was because everyone was almost trying to say that since LDH didn't have great pronounciation, it meant she wasn't fluent in teh language....and that is simply not the truth....you can be fluent while having an accent.

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