Artists You Should Know: Standing Egg
Names: Egg 1, Egg 2, Egg 3 + Various vocalists and musicians
Language of Discography: Korean
Genre: Indie/Acoustic Pop
I first encountered Standing Egg while watching a Korean television drama. To be honest, I wasn’t finding the drama to be that interesting and I actually never finished watching it. I don’t even remember the title of the show! However, there was a scene in which one of the male protagonists is on a city bus with his female friend. The two are talking, laughing, catching up on life until the female friend falls asleep. The male protagonist looks on at his sleeping friend when a song, which I now know to be Standing Egg’s Confession, started playing in the background. The song centers around the narrator contemplating confessing his true romantic feelings towards his friend, hinting to the audience that the male protagonist was actually secretly in love with his female friend. As I stated before, I wasn’t too vested in the drama as a whole. So when the scene came in my reaction veered more toward: “Oh okay that scene is cute but THE SONG THOUGH?”
At that moment I immediately did a quick Google search for the drama’s Original Soundtrack information and went through the track list until I hit the song I was looking for (I hadn’t learned how to read Korean script yet). And from there, of course, I tried to dig up as much information about Standing Egg (which you’ll soon find wasn’t that much) as possible and start going through their discography.
Standing Egg debuted with a self-titled album in 2010 that had only three songs. The group did literally no promotion for it and took to Twitter to release their album to the public. An enthusiastic follower agreed to make a music video for their single La La La, even though the group was merely just joking about that request. Even so, the music video gained unexpected popularity and was ranked on several music charts. In November of 2010, they released a full-length album that climbed to the top of the Melon Indie Music Chart in Korea. Since then, the group has consistently released at least a few songs or an album every year.
One of the things I found interesting about Standing Egg is their concept of anonymity. When someone asks ‘who is in the group’, the answer is both simple and complex. The group is comprised of three composers/songwriters whose names are not known to the public. They are simply referred to as Egg 1 (composer), Egg 2 (composer/vocalist), and Egg 3 (lyrics). Because The Eggs aren’t performers themselves, they enlist the help of various vocalists and musicians to perform their songs. Some include artists such as Lee Yeseul (vocals), Windy (vocals), Han Gyul (double bass/electric bass), and Clover (guitar/vocals) to name a few. While the public isn’t aware of the Eggs’ identities, anyone who has worked with them personally (i.e. radio hosts, other music artists) have met them and are able to put the brilliant songs to a non-performance face. In this clip from a past Korean variety show, artists came to record a song with Standing Egg. However, the Egg’s face was censored to protect his anonymity.
The concept is interesting and a little unusual, but from what I’ve seen no one has really ever questioned it. A lot of times when we see music artists post on their social media, they’ll feature a picture with another artist with whom they plan to collaborate. In Standing Egg’s case, their faces are usually censored for the photo or the featured artist will pose for a photo with a stuffed Egg doll named James who has basically become the group’s cute little mascot.
I find it funny that I discovered Standing Egg as a background song, but it actually outshined the drama that it was supposed to enhance. As stated previously, the song 고백 (Confession) is the internal narrative of a guy who has developed feelings for his best friend. He finds it difficult to continue being ‘just friends’ with this girl but is also hesitant to confess his true feelings. He describes the everyday nuances of being this girl’s friend even though he would rather be more to her:
I don’t like it when you cry in front of me because then my heart hurts
I want to do everything for you but I can’t be that person
I want to stay by your side like this a little longer
But I can’t look into your eyes while hiding my heart anymore
I’m not good at hiding my heart while being next to you
I can’t just be a comfortable friend anymore
At the time, my knowledge of Korean was even less than what it is now but I found it amazing I was so drawn to a song that I could relate to so well. Honestly, I feel like most people would be able to relate to the narrative.
I like to describe their songs as ‘wondrous acoustic’. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll find that whenever I’m in the middle of some awesome scenery, my song of choice will usually be a Standing Egg instrumental.
Building on the theme of emotion and wonder, one of my favorite tracks is Little Star from their Lucky EP. The song itself is simple in composition, and the male vocalist’s voice doesn’t raise much higher than a whisper. My initial reaction: this song is beautiful. The funny thing about my first listen is that I immediately had the thought that this couldn’t be just another love song. There was something especially pure about the vocal delivery. I looked up the English lyrics and found an especially nice snippet:
My love, my everything, my angel from heaven
My two eyes, my world you stole them all
Little Star, tonight,
I will watch over you
When I see you fast asleep in my arms
I can’t take my eyes off of you even for a second
Listening to the song and reading the lyrics in their entirety, it felt like this song was more so about a newborn child than a lover. And I love a song that’s essentially just dedicated to the artist’s kid (reference Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely or Jamie Foxx’s Heaven; songs dedicated to their daughters). I haven’t really found any information that can back up my theory, but in either case the song revolves around someone very precious to the narrator and we love pure content!
While Standing Egg utilizes the help of vocalists and musicians for live performances, they also don’t shy away from collaborations and features. They also don’t limit their featured artists to a specific genre or profession. They have singles that feature actresses such as Park Shin Hye and Park Seyoung, kpop artists like Wheein of Mamamoo, singer/songwriter Ra.D, ballad singer Lee Hae Ri of Davichi, and so on!
The Eggs themselves (and even the live performers) are typically not featured in Standing Egg music videos. The plot lines would usually include familiar drama and movie actors much like 예뻐서 그래 (Because You’re Pretty), which features Yoo Yeonseok as a shy guy and his awkward pursuit of a girl (Son Dambi) who just so happens to let him follow her (it sounds creepy but it’s actually quite cute).
There’s a lot more I can say about Standing Egg; they’re one of my favorite musical acts, consistent in their content and their frequency of new releases. Just yesterday they released a touching ballad Good Night (Healing song), a song of encouragement and endearment. This follows a release from March, Travel to You (너라는 세상) Maybe this means another EP or full album could be coming to us soon? In either case, I hope this has been informative and that you take this opportunity to explore Standing Egg. I mean, by now you all should know I’ve got some…..
egg-cellent taste in music.
I know you want me to be sorry about that line but I’m just not.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Awkward Penguin,