These people have been living unhappy lives because they've never been able to do what they want.
Ga Yeon's smart, but wants to become a singer. However, the Korean educational system strongly enforces studying to students without considering the goals and dreams of the student. She's been forced to live a life of suppression.
Jae Hee is a piano player, but he's been living in constant delusion of his life. He has mental problems and cannot distinguish reality from a dream.
Dong Woo and Min Seo are a couple who are talented musicians but cannot make music they wish to make because of the current situation of the Korean music industry.
Hyuk's a very good guitar player, but is forced to be in an idol band, rather than what he really wants to be.
The 5 come together to make a band of their own.
Note: originally a webcomic later published by Random House Korea.
"Who is right, who is wrong, it cannot be concluded. But when you choose a different road than the road the majority chooses, most people consider that as the wrong choice. And due to the attention and intervention given by the majority of people, the ones who choose the road less taken are easily overwhelmed into uncertainty."
On the surface Song of the Cloud might seem like another ordinary music-themed story about a group of people coming together to form a band and achieve their dreams of being great musicians. However, that is only the common thread of a much more sophisticated story about various individuals
struggling against an achievement-oriented society where straying from the path layed out for everyone equals the downfall of one's own future. That is the world we live in. A world full of contradictions, a world where money is power, where the degree of education defines one's future, where grades are more important than friends, where knowing the right people determines your financial success. A world where dreaming is not permitted.
And that is the world of Ga Yeon, Jae Hee, Dong Woo, Min Seo and Hyuk. During the time in life when they are struck by self-doubts, during the process of growing up, they all are shaken and plagued by uncertainty. "What is it that I want to do?" "Which path should I walk on?" These are the questions going through their minds. Song of the Cloud raises these questions individually for every character and discusses them by delving into psychological depths few other stories manage to display.
Ga Yeon, for instance, has always dreamt of becoming a singer. Her parents, however, want her to become an excellent student; to go down the same road everyone else does. For that reason she tried hard to meet those expectations, neglecting her own dream. But it never made her happy. Good grades, renowned schools, prestigious education, a predestined future. It all means nothing to her. She dreams of a microphone, her standing on a stage, a crowd in front of her, all cheering and listening to her voice. That is what she really wants to do. And she struggles against herself, torn between her dream and the confining reality.
Likewise, Jae Hee is a talented and already recognized pianist, but he is a troubled young man. His schizophrenia makes him see illusions. Distinguishing between what is real and what is not, is difficult for him. A childhood trauma prevents him from living freely, from being happy, sometimes making him wish to be an illusion himself. 'Silent anger' dwells within him. An emotion that accompanied him for all his life.
All of the band members have similar conflicts. They all struggle against the rules of society. They all long for freedom. For the freedom to do what they want to do. Trying to not be pulled down by other's expectations, by what they are supposed to do, and instead travelling the unknown path of their own choice; going against all odds.
If you have never read a webtoon before you might be reluctant at first, as one chapter only consists of one large picture where you just scroll down through the panels. The art, however, is where this manhwa really shines. The visual story telling is gorgeous. There are not many manga or manhwa that manage to convey such a poignant story only through artistic depiction. Of course, the reader is not only carried away by the visual appeal, but also by its heavy dialogues, and even more so by the sweeping monologues, which are beautifully accompanied by artistic symbols and metaphores. The perfect mixture and variety of verbal and visual story telling make this story truly stand out as something magnificent and peerless.
All in all, Song of the Cloud tells the moving story of young people torn between inner conflicts of self-doubts, uncertainty and the restrictions put upon them by their family, friends, society, the industry or even themselves. Yet they are all driven by a common dream. Performing on a stage as musicians. Stunning art and beautiful story telling, along with deep psychological profiles of the characters make for a great story for everyone knowing the feeling of being alone, of being forced into a life they didn't choose and of clinging to a flicker of hope, however dim it may be.
"I looked at the sky as I came out of the convenience store and thought – how nice would it be for those clouds that get to fly freely in that sky."