Rant #24- English in Kpop (I swear this one is different from #23)

I know it’s been said by a lot of critics, but I feel like I have to address this here… There is way too much of it.

In Korea speaking English is VERY popular, and foreigners are still a kind of oddity (not so much in Seoul, but in other parts). I lived there for 10 months, trust me. I’d be stopped in the street for someone to take their picture with me, or interviewed, or filmed by the news because they wanted a shot of a foreigner for their report (this happened twice).

English is hugely popular, and most schools require at least some English courses. I get that groups want to sound cool by including the English in their songs, but I think the composers and lyricists take it way overboard.

Companies like JYP and SM are iffy, sometimes there is a lot of English, and sometimes they hardly have any (Hands Up by 2PM is pretty saturated, but It’s You by Super Junior is fairly weak on that edge), but the companies outside of the big 3 (SM, JYP, and YG) are where you see this a lot (and YG seems to be having more and more lately).

It seems the more obscure and unknown a company is the more English is in their song. Yeah, you’ll attract the foreigners because they can understand more, but I think it looses its… Korean-ness (for lack of a better word).

Korean music, in my opinion, should be IN KOREAN. Little lines in English are fine, but songs like ZE:A’s “Mazeltov”, 4 Minute’s “Muzik”, and T-ARA’s “YaYaYa” are way too saturated. It seems lately these three groups are swinging back towards having more Korean-oriented music, and that’s a relief, but a lot of groups still use far too much.

I was trying to get my older brother into SNSD/Girls’ Generation because I thought he’d like their music and I was in Korea so I could send him home a CD if he wanted. He tool one listen to their song “Mr. Taxi” (he studied Japanese for years and prefers it to Korean) and he said “Ugh, no way. The song is JAPANESE, but there is WAY too much English.” and I’ve heard the same thing about their Korean songs from other friends.

I really hope the general trend continues swinging back towards more Korean-oriented K-pop. It’s kind of disappointing how English-saturated the field is becoming.

See? Told you it was different from Rant#23 (which is about how said English usually makes no sense grammatically or within the song itself).

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  1. #1 by Yash on August 12, 2011 - 10:59 am

    I’ve been thinking the same thing to myself a lot lately >.> Especially SNSD’s Japanese album is sooo full of it (but maybe that’s the way the Japanese roll o.O). Have you heard their new single “Bad Girl”? There’s like, random English vocabulary scattered all over it – in fact, every other sentence seems to end with something like “secret”, “rule” and of course “bad girl”. Personally, I think it’s fine if it flows nicely with the music (as in “It’s You”) but more ofte it just – doesn’t.
    On the other hand, one can’t really blame the rookie groups since they have to gain popularity while Koreans basically drown in new group debuts. Another thing you could do a rant about 🙂

    Oh, and: I really love your site! I just seldom have time to comment on it -.- But umm – keep up the good work! Your opinions are very much valid 🙂 and interesting!

    • #2 by tweetweetbang on August 12, 2011 - 1:24 pm

      Thank you!!!
      Ugh, I feel so sorry for these new groups… All these miscellaneous little companies… It’s gotten to the point where I pay attention to different companies over specific artists, other wise you get lost in the flood! SM, JYP stuff like that. If a group lasts to their second or third single I start to pay attention 😛
      And yeah, “Bad Girl” may be a nice song, but in terms of language it’s pretty embarrassing… they need to tone it down and turn up the Japanese. I kind of understand though, a lot of the members aren’t very good in Japanese but know English from working with Jessica and Tiffany, so it’s like a break for them, but still….

  2. #3 by Sean on August 25, 2011 - 10:19 am

    Wow! I could not even guess about it)) Not bad.

  3. #4 by jollyroger221b on November 11, 2012 - 6:06 pm

    guess they all wanna be naughty naughty 😀

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