I have noticed this quirk of Kpop for a while now, but recently it seems to be happening more and more- the release of songs by different artists with exactly the same name. I realize that just because two songs have the same name, it doesn’t mean that they’re not two totally different songs, but why use the same name? One would think an artist would want to differentiate their song from any other by having a unique name for their song, yet that doesn’t seem to be the case in Kpop. We all adore love songs, but how many “Love Songs” do we really need?
So, what’s the big deal if songs have the same name? Well to begin with, we should look into what the significance of a name is.
and while some of you might say that a song’s name is actually a ‘title,’ a title is actually just a name.
The purpose of a name is to distinguish an entity, which in this case we’re talking about songs, from one another. So, why this influx of same named songs? In most cases, song names are taken from the hook or chorus of the song, but it is not the rule. It is the norm for naming a song because it instantly makes the song identifiable- the chorus of the song is the part that is repeated and what people remember the most about a song. This naming convention of songs was important in the past, so that when someone heard a new song on the radio that they liked and didn’t know, they could pretty much figure out what the name of it was. But, in this day and age of the internet, radio stations have their playlists on their websites and even more so radio has lost much of its significance with the increasing popularity of digital downloads and the influence of the iPod. There are also all kinds of nifty services or apps that can tell you the name of that song you love,but didn’t know the name of, or that song stuck in your head; here’s five of the most popular: midomi, Musipedia, Tunatic, Shazam, and NameMyTune. Naming songs from their hooks or chorus is no longer a necessity, so artists should use this new found opportunity to be creative in their song titles. From a purely marketing standpoint, differentiating your product (in this case a song) from your competitors’ is the number one priority, so why would you want your product to have the same name?
The list- I know there’s much more out there, but this is what I came up with:
Honey – SNSD (2007), KARA (2009); L.O.V.E. – Super Junior (2005), Brown Eyed Girls (2008)
Tattoo– Se7en (2004), C.N. Blue (2010); Tonight– DBSK (2005), Big Bang (2/2011), Jay Park (4/2011)
La La La– Se7en (2006), Big Bang (2006), Mighty Mouth (2011); Hot Issue– Big Bang (2007), 4Minute (2008)
Heaven– Big Bang (8/2008), F.T. Island (10/2008); Good Day– KARA (2008), IU(2010)
Lies– Big Bang (2008), T-ara (2009); Magic– KARA (2009), Secret (2010)
Please Don’t Go– SHINee (5/2009), CL & Minzy (11/2009); Lonely– KARA (2010), 2NE1 (2011)
Love Love Love– F.T. Island (8/2010), After School (12/2010); Love Song– Rain (2010), Big Bang (2011)
Hands Up– Big Bang (2/2011), 2PM (6/2011)
When the songs are released years apart it’s not such a big deal, but when the songs are the big comebacks for the artist(s) and they are released only months apart ie. Big Bang and Jay Park’s Tonight or Big Bang and 2PM’s Hands Up? I find that very weird. It could be that it was too late for the second group to change the name of their song, but if I were their producer I would’ve changed the name of the song immediately. Also conspicuous is having the same name as a song that was a huge hit, for example “Lies” by Big Bang. “Lies” was the song that ensconced Big Bang in Kpop history, it’s one of those songs that will be a classic and will always be talked about when speaking of Kpop, so why would anyone else want to release a song called “Lies?” Kpop is a relatively small music market, globally speaking, so it’s not like the industry is saturated with so many songs that having similarly named songs can’t be helped. I was surprised that YG Entertainment seemed to be the most frequent offender of the Big 3 (SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, YG Entertainment) in the same name game. Although I would have to say that SM Entertainment is the offender of having the most unique names, sometimes too much so like “Bonamana,” “LA chA TA,” and “Nu ABO.”
The reasons for Kpop artists not really caring about releasing songs with the same name could be many. Culturally, having the same name might not be that big of a difference to Koreans with almost half (46%) of in the population having the family name of Kim, 21.6% named Lee, and 14.8% being named Park (although this point seems unlikely due to the fact the many stars will change their stage name so as not to have the same name as another and the interest in having unique group names for idols is sometimes too far fetched ie. MBLAQ, B2ST, FinKL, F.Cuz, and B1A4). Another reason could lie in the globalization of Kpop and their common use of English in the hook which makes the song and its name recognizable to English speaking audiences. Or it could simply be that the name given was just the name that they thought best fit the song.
Am I making too much out of a name? Was Shakespeare right when in Romeo and Juliet he wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Does what matter is what something is, not what it is called? I personally agree more with this saying,”Words have meaning and names have power” – Annonymous.