• glacierkn

    You’re so right about lyrics being a turnoff in some English songs…sometimes I absolutely love a song but I have to delete it cuz the lyrics are too uncomfortable or annoying.  Now I can see why maybe a lot of the Korean public doesn’t appreciate kpop songs as much as international fans do.  When I look up lyrics to kpop songs that I THINK have good meaning or encouraging phrases, I’m usually majorly let down.  
    My main reason to learn Korean is so that I can understand dramas and other tv shows better.  I also want to visit someday and be able to read things in Korean.

  • kpopfan6

    If I actually spoke Korean I’m pretty sure I would’ve lost interest in Kpop awhile ago. I usually read Kpop lyrics not expecting much because they are usually vague or lack substance altogether. Plus many songs have the exact same lines! For example: “only look at me”, “I’m going crazy”, “head to toe”, “I love you”, “girl/boy/baby/oppa/noona” etc. 

    It’s ridiculous how there are so many unoriginal Kpop songs. I’m not sure why Kpop even has song writers anymore since I’m pretty sure anyone could make this stuff up now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      You win.

  • Miyuki

    I can’t listen to a lot of American music because the lyrics are so stupid XD I love K-pop because I can’t understand a thing and pretend that it has some really profound message. I wouldn’t be able to listen to ‘Gee’ by SNSD at all if I actually understood it; it is so cheesy that I probably couldn’t bare it. 

    But, in the end, it doesn’t really matter, does it? K-pop is already pretty popular in Korea, the only country that understands Korean. The countries that they’re trying to export to have no idea what they’re saying, deep or not, anyways, so it’s not really necessary to spend money on great lyrics anyways. It’s not like English where everyone has an idea what the singer is singing about

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4WRQKA6E7RBHBDIO4HCR5NZS2M Mme. de Mme

    I really don’t see  “Hold me too tight” as a grammatical error because though it might be more correct to say “Hold me tighter” or “Hold on tight,” to pick up on it would be akin to pointing out the deficient grammar in American rap or in songs like Kaiser Chiefs’ I predict a riot which goes “A friend of a friend he got beaten.”

  • sakurahae

    oh, in purple line, Yoochun and his “I really wanna touch myself” really really confused about that line i was. it sounds so dirty. but also, a lot of dbsk’s ballads have great lyrics. wasurenaide, stand by u, asu wa kuru kara, kiss shita mama sayonara, ect. some of them can be a little generic, but they’ve all usually got a gem of a line or lines somwhere in them.

    • kpopfan6

      Hmmm, I think heard that Yoochun’s line was meant to imply that he really wanted to get (back) in touch with himself. That might actually makes more sense.

      Either way, I found that lyric absolutely hilarious as well as Yunho’s “yo, check it” that sounds like “yo, chicken” :P

      • Mika_San123

        Despite my endless admiration of DBSK, if there’s one thing I’ll readily accept that they suck at, it’s their English. I sometimes wonder if Yoochun really lived in the U.S. because his English, honestly speaking, is pretty bad… I love the high notes in “Kiss the Baby Sky”, and I get the general meaning of all the English lines, but… it’s just so hard for me to process because the grammar is atrocious. And, of course, the infamous “I really wanna touch myself”. When I try getting my friends to listen to DBSK for the first time, I tell them, “STAY AWAY FROM PURPLE LINE. Go back and listen to it after you like DBSK.” I think that Yunho, Jaejoong, and Junsu are all pretty bad at pronouncing (but at least it seems like Junsu’s trying with “Uncommitted”), and Changmin’s just OK, but their voices all make up for the gibberish I hear. I mean, sometimes, the English is so unintelligible that I end up mistaking it for Korean, and then it doesn’t bother me.

    • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

       Ha! The first time I heard that I was like: Ummmm, what did Yoochun just say? What is this song about again?!

    • ANANAS

      I was soooo confused about that. I looked up the lyrics but had no idea what it had to do with the song! One of my favorite lines though lol. Makes me laugh every time I think about it. 

  • kpopfan6

    I actually thought Teen Top was saying “do you know” (not now)– as if they were asking a question. But when I read the lyrics I didn’t think “to you now” made much sense, unless they actually mentioned what that phrase was referring to (e.g. run to you now or something). I still really like the song though!

    As for my favorite meaningless lyrics, here are a few:

    - Don’t be scared baby, A tom bomb is coming!!! (B2ST- Special) and “Make a love, baby. Just make a love” (B2ST- Beautiful).  

    - Zoom zoom my heart like a rocket or Joom Joom my har like a locket (B1A4- Beautiful Target)

    - I lika lika dis, I lika lika dat. I like this, like that, yeah. (T-ara- Roly Poly) and Kiss me baby, just you can take me Day by Day (T-ara- Day by Day)

    - CARELESS, CARELESS. SHOOT ANONYMOUS, ANONYMOUS. HEARTLESS, MINDLESS, NO ONE WHO CARE ABOUT MEEEE!!!! (Exo- Mama)

  • wickfan

    This is why I find many international kpop fan so hypocritical. They bash Western music for lack of lyrics but praise kpop for its amazing lyrical ability. I am trying to understand elastic plastic to this day. When I talk to my Korea friends they force me to listen to certain groups that have great music and amazing lyrics. I of course will introduce  them to great western musician as well.

  • Prclssprl

    I completely concur.  This is basically what I say every time a friend asks me why I listen to Korean music.  I actually recently started listening to kpop and now that’s pretty much all I listen to.  Why?  Because I don’t particularly like instrumental music and the lyrics in current American songs make me feel like I’m losing brain cells.  Even the songs that I actually do find catchy and do like are repeated so often on the radio that I sometimes drive with absolutely no sound (in LA traffic!) for fear of having to listen to them again.  Kpop is perfect for me. . . it has people singing but I have no idea what they’re saying so I don’t have to get irritated :)  Plus, I actually like when they have just a few English lyrics so I can chime in and sing along!  Songs that I originally thought were a bit stupid (there are quite a few) have now been added to my playlist because once you get over the lyrics and just stick around for the catchy aspect, “Ring Ding Dong” and “Sorry Sorry” don’t sound so bad.  

    I have to say my current favorite “English” lyrics are whenever Big Bang say “bingle, bingle” in a song.  Technically, I think it’s actually a Korean phrase (round and round?) but to me, they’re perfect as ridiculous made-up American sounds.

    • ANANAS

      Me too! I say as high as 90% is the reason why I don’t care about the lyrics and am glad I don’t understand them. Perfect for studying: I don’t have temptation of singing along. Perfect for not crying at shallow lyrics. Not instrumental music. Not repeated a bazillion times on the radio. 
      P.S can you do one on not understanding korean? 

  • animasaurus

    OMG YESSS! SM imo has a bad problem with this nowadays… Shinee’s Sherlock anyone?

  • cbz

    Lyrics have never been very important to me. However, I have for a long a time listened to metal. While there do exist some bands whose lyrics are themed only by drinking or gore, much of the lyrics are some of the most sophisticated of any genre, a lot of the time featuring religion, philosophy, war, or politics as themes. In the relatively short, recent time I’ve been a fan of KPop (I’d like to think my musical taste is diverse), one of the few issues I’ve had is the same one you outline in this article – looking at the translated lyrics, they fall very far short of the standard I’ve come to expect of lyrics I’m accustomed to, no matter how little lyrics actually matter to me. I’d make the same argument that not being able to understand Korean is advantage when listening to KPop.

    I have to say, though, the terrible Engrish mistranslations and mispronunciations in some songs really adds to the charm of it all.

  • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

    My favorite song with good lyrics is U-Kiss’s Someday. The sound is a little peppy for me, but the lyrics are positively uplifting. It’s one of those songs that every time you have a crappy day you play it, and it makes you feel that maybe everything will be alright after all. “Sometimes hit, sometimes miss, it’s always like that. Just do it right tomorrow. It’s just a small mistake. Sometimes bottom, sometimes top, sometimes number 1. Getting 1st place, you can only go down.” (These are a trans, which is why they sound abrupt.) And the fact that it was ukiss singing it, in all their underdog-ness, just made it perfect.

    I love Sunny Hill’s songs because the lyrics are so awesome. And that they aren’t afraid to sing them, even if they are criticizing the very industry they participate in, and all the monstrously powerful companies that support it. (Midnight Circus)

    But I do have to admit there are many times when I look up the lyrics, just for them to make me disappointed with the whole song. Like some of GD’s songs. I think that it is catchy and interesting, and then look up the lyrics to find that they are talking about him being the stuck up kind of celebrity why thinks the world revolves around them. Then I just have to hope that there was a sarcastic edge to the lyrics that got lost in translation.

    • AcadiasFire

      I agree about U-Kiss. That song is always a great listen.

  • http://piggy68gal.tumbr.com/ piggy68gal

    Lyrics actually do matter to me quite a bit but nowadays I’m just too lazy and can’t be bothered to search for the English translations of the Korean songs that I like. I don’t know, maybe I will stop liking them that much if I found out that the lyrics are too shallow for my liking…? But I know that not all songs can have meaningful lyrics…like the party songs.(which are actually not my type of songs usually) For me, lyrics usually make or break a song. They go hand in hand with the melody. That’s why I like some Mandarin songs and dislike others when I hear them on the spot–I understand Mandarin so I will naturally be more picky when it comes to Mandarin songs. I can’t comment for English songs though, I hardly listen to them.

  • http://twitter.com/jjosullivan Joseph O’Sullivan

    DEFINITELY the best example of Korean/English nonsense is T-ara’s Yayaya. None of it makes a whole heap of sense in either language and yet it is one of my favourite T-ara songs. It”s nice to have some nonsensical whimsy every now and again! However I too confess being disappointed when I find that a songs Korean lyrcis don’t contain a great deal of depth. Which is why SNSD kinda took a dip in my opinions of them and 2ne1 and BigBang jumped up to be amongst my favourite groups. Even though I can’t sing along correctly it’s nice to know exactly what message the song coveys in its original language…although I’m unsure Mr Taxi really had a meaning.

  • http://twitter.com/NyNy_x NyNy ♛ ナイナイ

    To be honest, Kpop has always been enhanced that way. Look at the way who have got into K-Pop because they liked the beat of the song, an idol (or their skills), the image or even how K-Pop stars represented themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/NyNy_x NyNy ♛ ナイナイ

    To be honest, Kpop has always been enhanced that way. Look at the way who have got into K-Pop because they liked the beat of the song, an idol (or their skills), the image or even how K-Pop stars represented themselves.

  • Chyrita Bonita

    How about Kara’s Lupin for meaningless lyrics
    “Never Back It Up Back It Up 
    Never Turn It Up Turn It It up”

    What in the hell are they talking about?

    • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

       well, for the first part I believe they are lamenting the loss of the original lyrics, because they never backed it up before the computer crashed. ;)

  • Almira Agathas

    Shinee Ring Ding Dong.

    “So fantastic, so elastic
    Fantastic elastic”

    • http://www.m-rated.tumblr.com/ Michelle Chin

      I agree with you on this! The English lyrics is such a huge turn off! I mean, it’s like the song’s giving you this eargasm and suddenly, that “Fantastic, elastic” comes in and it gives you the shivers and makes your ears bleed. 

      I still do exercise to the music though. Hahahaha. *hides face*

      • Almira Agathas

        The song is good, but that ‘fantastic elastic’ part is too funny.

  • http://www.m-rated.tumblr.com/ Michelle Chin

    The first few lines in EXO’s Mama is pretty atrocious to the ears, I have to say. I pretty much cut it up using Garage Band so I’m spared from the torture, as much as it’s a nice twist to what I normally listen… I personally think EXO’s Mama has some pretty meaningful lyrics in spite of this. My mom asked me who sang that song because she thought it’s relevant to the current society today. 

    Nu’Est’s Face is also quite a decent song, in terms of the lyrics. :D And G-dragon’s The XX expresses the anger of a man who couldn’t get the girl he wants. Not exactly super different from most love songs but it’s angsty. I guess it’s not easy being a lyricist and most lyricists are probably provided a song to fit their words in, resulting in choppy lines and weird English one-liners. Plus, I’m pretty sure they have to quickly write up something so songs extolling party party party is no surprise? Pop is pop. Guess we have to learn with it. *shrugs*

  • Chuvuvee

    Huh? What’s wrong with “Hold me too tight”?

    • brain_wicked

       yeah.. kinda wondering what is wrong with “hold me too tight”? maybe we need to know the context of the song, first?

    • AcadiasFire

      I don’t see it either…

    • Eunice Tong

      hold me too tight just sounds kinda weird, no?
      holding or held would sound better

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2UNQGN7IPNTIRIWBNVHEFBHHV4 a z

    I understand you’re not a  hip hop, but a large majority of the lyrics are not senseless. Hip Hop artists all try to one up themselves on wordplay and fans have fun trying to figure out what certain lyrics mean. The cleverer the word play the more us fans appreciate it once we figure out what is truly meant. 

    On the other hand there are alot of “made up” words that are used, and alot of these words are actually used in certain areas of the country by regular people, and the artists appropriate them and add them into their songs. 

    Anyway i feel a rant coming on so let me just stop now, i really didnt like that you painted all hip hop lyrics as senseless when the issue is that your not a fan and therefore don’t understand the appeal.

    But i do agree that alot of it is disrespectful and misogynistic. 

    • http://twitter.com/JohnDeSims JDSono

      The people who bash Hip-hop are the people who doesn’t know anything about it, like Mark. They hear 2 or 3 rap songs and swear that’s what Hip-hop is all about about. 

      He must haven’t heard any tracks by Nas, Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Common and many others to say it’s senseless lol

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

    I’ve always been a fan of looking up English translation of songs that interests me.It was actually through this that I became a huge fan of Epik High and Jay Chou(not that he’s Korean). I fell inlove with their songs lyrics. Anyways I admit though there are some Kpop songs that are just too fun to listen to and I never cared what it meant while only understanding the part of the song that says ”baby” over and over again.

  • goldengluvsk2

    even tho I enjoy my fair share of nonsensical songs like ya Ya Ya or most of f(x)’s songs, half way through the article i was like “not all groups sing nonsensical stuff” thinking of Sunny Hill and then you named them!! both in songs wrote by them like “let’s Talk About”, “Puppetry” and the ones written by kim eana plus their mvs they send a message and make you think like with mvs like “pray” when you could debate who were the real “ugly” in it… i pretty much enjoy both things the nonsensical and the thoughtful lyrics but i have my limits… like with songs full of “ottokes”, “aings” or “oppa”..those ones makes me cringe x.x

  • AcadiasFire

    For me its Super Juniors Sexy, Free, & Single. “Sexy, Free, & Single I’m ready to bingo” Really guys…really? Bingo? Wooooooow.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O7KV6E7QJDCPZKKVKIL3UNJUA4 Musabbika

      In Sexy, Free, and Single the lyrics are “I’m ready,too.Bingo!” not “I’m ready to bingo.”

  • http://twitter.com/veria10 Veria

    “Has the proliferation of K-pop into various markets around the world actually caused more people to want to learn Korean? Yes and no….It’s just that there isn’t a significant number of them when compared to the hordes and hordes of people who are rushing to learning Mandarin Chinese and Arabic due to greater extrinsic motivations: political and economic.”
    Interesting question which I completely agree and which probably needs an article of its own. I have so many friends who are into Kpop who learn Korean just because they like the culture. I have even more friends (who don’t listen to Kpop) who ask me if I’m going to learn Korean one day just because I listen to the music.
    Personally, if I’m going to learn a language I want to do it because I like it, not because I think it’s going to bring me closer to my idols. Yet for a most people I see learning it, it’s because they think it’s ‘cool’ to do so or they’re preparing for the time they visit Korea. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – I’m all for people learning languages – but it’s an interesting question.
    On a somewhat related note, the Australian Government recently took Korean off the list of priority languages to be taught in schools (a list of the four languages they want each Australian child to be able to speak at least one of by 2025). The list right now is of Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and Arabic, which replaced Korean.

  • http://twitter.com/veria10 Veria

    “Has the proliferation of K-pop into various markets around the world actually caused more people to want to learn Korean? Yes and no….It’s just that there isn’t a significant number of them when compared to the hordes and hordes of people who are rushing to learning Mandarin Chinese and Arabic due to greater extrinsic motivations: political and economic.”
    Interesting question which I completely agree and which probably needs an article of its own. I have so many friends who are into Kpop who learn Korean just because they like the culture. I have even more friends (who don’t listen to Kpop) who ask me if I’m going to learn Korean one day just because I listen to the music.
    Personally, if I’m going to learn a language I want to do it because I like it, not because I think it’s going to bring me closer to my idols. Yet for a most people I see learning it, it’s because they think it’s ‘cool’ to do so or they’re preparing for the time they visit Korea. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – I’m all for people learning languages – but it’s an interesting question.
    On a somewhat related note, the Australian Government recently took Korean off the list of priority languages to be taught in schools (a list of the four languages they want each Australian child to be able to speak at least one of by 2025). The list right now is of Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and Arabic, which replaced Korean.

  • Seri Park

    Korean lyrics are critically important in certain songs, such as those by Epik High, Drunken Tiger… in some of the songs the lyrics are divine

  • Harliyana Mohd Hanif

    Lyrics can play a huge role in me loving a song. I tend to fall in love all the more if the lyrics is beautiful. Example, 2PM’s Hanarete Itemo. The lyrics is poetic and it really made me feel the longing of a loved one.

  • soluiz

    I thought I was reading one of those anti’s elitism posts.

  • strawberrycube

    Sometimes I ignore the meaning of the lyrics. Usually in a case of a catchy fun song that I know was made to be just that – easy song with fun beat and cool dance moves etc. But the songs I love and listen on a a repeat day after day, they need to have good lyrics. 

    “So fantastic, so elasticFantastic elastic”

    I mean, it’s fun to just listen to it but would I ever say Ring Ding Dong is my favorite kpop song? 

  • pg13247

    I’m somewhat glad to not understand the songs, as I’m only listening to it for pleasant sounding pop music. 

    Crayon Pop’s Bing Bing rap is so hilariously bad that I’m glad I found a version with the rap cut out. Some of the raps are so cringeworthy because I understand the English. I do look for translations for a few songs that I want to understand, but for the most part  I don’t as it can make a song seem very childish.

    SNSD’s Diamond? (While sung entirely in English, I laugh at some of the lyrics: That’s because I’m filled with emotions~~~~)

    • pg13247

      My above generalizations are for the idol pop songs mostly, and not about all Korean songs. Those are the times I wish I knew Korean to appreciate the songs meaning.

  • yuki kokoro

    I beg to disagree. While it may be true that many fans are learning Korean to “be closer to oppa”, many are learning it because they want to become a translator or they want to move to Korea to improve their life quality. Do you have an idea how many kpop fans in the world live in a country that is poorer, less safe, and with less possibilities to develop their full potential than South Korea? Many. South Korea is a first world country. Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand are not.

    • Harliyana Mohd Hanif

      Malaysia is not poor though LOL! And most Malaysians go overseas to study. If there are Malaysians moving to improve their lives, they go to Australia, New Zealand, UK or the US. Definitely not South Korea or Japan. 

      • yuki kokoro

        I was just stating that Malaysia is not a first world country. Also I never said that the majority of emmigrants are going to SK! 

        So maybe I was not clear but the point I wanted to make is that when someone want to improve their life AND they are a kpop fan, why not going to SK?

  • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

    There was a really good point made my Simon & Martina for their Xiah Junsu, Uncommited review, about not criticising the English words of the song because it was an honest attempt to express their emotions in English rather than the majority of Kpop songs where it is thrown in to ‘look cool’ and gain international credibility in a lazy way.  I would have to agree that in those instances the English phrases come across as very cheap and meaningless, quite literally in most instances. 

    However, leaving that issue of English aside, I think it is important to note that lyrics are not prose but somewhere between that and poetry.  It doesn’t have to follow the strictness of coherence wherein sub-genres of haiku and beatnik are found. It doesn’t have to make structural sense and some of my favourite lyrics from around the world are vague and obscure wherein those niches your own individual heart might give it meaning.  It is very much about feeling and the complexities of connotations of combinations of words can create. There are many lyricists, such as Thom Yorke who will not ‘reveal’ the meanings to their lyrics because they want to leave it to the fans to interpret them their own way.  Even the most simplest of words can carry deep significance. 

    In 1996 Kylie Minogue recited the lyrics to her pop song “I Should Be So Lucky” at the Poetry Olympics, Royal Albert Hall.  As Kylie stated herself, it is about not being embarrassed about your simple, candy floss or fluff roots but embracing it in a way to remain true to yourself and create some awesome pop!  “‘OK, that’s it! I’m facing That Girl.’ I don’t know if I was scared of her, or felt eclipsed by her, or too defined by her, I dunno… but it was like meeting her face-to-face and going, OK, I’m not going to get rid of you, so let’s join forces.’ From that moment on, I learnt to embrace my past and embrace pop.” & “but to go further, try different things, and never lose sight of myself at the core. For me, the hard part was unleashing the core of myself and being totally truthful in my music.” Later on, Nick Cave used her lyrics from ‘Better the Devil you Know, in a lecture on the art of writing love songs, describing them as, “harrowing portrait of humanity not dissimilar to that of the Old Testament Psalms.” 

    I actually find that my lack of understanding the Korean language is actually a barrier for a deeper appreciation of Korean songs and lyrics so that I am trying to learn Korean to comprehend the subtext and significance of lyrics that lie beyond the simple explanations given in translations.  Some of my favourite Kpop lyrics include, Deli Spice’s ‘Confession,’ Leessang’s ‘the girl who can’t break up, the boy who can’t leave,’ Nell’s ‘A Day Before,’ and CNBlue Jong Hyun’s ‘My love.’

  • http://www.themissingmasses.blogspot.com.ar/ PAM

    Currently, the only discography I can listen to a really high volume, and not give me an ounce of shame for what they can hear my neighbors, is Block-B. They don’t have songs too mellow, the kind that one skips when listening through headphones. Also, I think the lyrics of their romantic themes are very interesting, they talk about real guys with real breaks, real couple’s troubles, and normal lives (for an idol, this is to much ask. And for an SMS’s idol, it’s impossible). They don’t speak of “waiting for the perfect woman”, or “come here, I’ll protect you, I’ll take care of you forever and ever”, etc. . “Synchronization 100%”, “11:30″, “Did you do it or not?”: fantastic lyrics, full of meaning and feeling.

  • http://twitter.com/sylviaye92 Sylvia Ye

    Just wanted to mention that I too pay a lot of attention to the lyrics of songs normally. They can redeem/destroy a song for me. I tend to favour poetic and imagery-filled lyrics (why am I listening to K-pop?) over direct, simple ones but if either is done well, I’m all good.

    Shout out to Jay Chou’s beautiful lyrics (or should that shout out be made to Vincent Fang who actually writes most of the lyrics) and Big Bang’s lyrics, especially on the Alive album.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1042394200 Nga Ngắc Ngoải

    When I study I prefer to listen to music in language I don’t understand so that it doesn’t distract me. Besides, I love listening to the sounds of consonants and vowels without understanding of its meaning getting in the way.

    • Gaya_SB

      No way, I do the same thing too!

  • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth

    although for me i listen to music because of the music and watch music videos because of the visuals/cinemography/choreography/story for the promoted single but when if i do like it despite problematic message it’s sending i am aware of it when looking at lyrics translations for non-english songs or watching a music video sending a problematic message i do think it’s right to call out the problematic and negative message portraying and regarding women/culture/relationship/religion/race/sexual orientation/family/sexual objectification in that song/music video and how it impacts.

  • zweiosterei

    What about the word “molla” (I don’t know)? It’s spoken in every song!!!

    • mikaela alejandra

      I think its slang for money

  • Seri Park

    Tablo’s lyrics are fabulous, in both Korean and English

  • Seri Park

    Tablo’s lyrics are fabulous, in both Korean and English

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

      you got that right.

  • http://allthatdramanews.blogspot.com/ Eye Candy

    I feel like I’ve had the exact same reaction where after looking up lyrics to songs I’ve liked more often than not I discover I was putting a lot more meaning into the lyrics than were actually there. I’ve definitely thought some of my enjoyment of K-Pop stems from the fact that there is no way for me to completely understand the lyrics. (Since I don’t speak Korean.) There are many times when being able to understand pop songs in English make the song seem a lot more ridiculious to me at first. It’s kind of sad that pop music has gotten to the point were poorly written lyrics don’t really matter. As far as odd English lyrics go, is there a reason for butterfly in the middle of Ring Ding Dong? This is a song I have never looked up the lyrics for (because I assumed they would not really add anything to the song) But I have watched the music video and I’m just really confused about the Butterfly references. Maybe it’s a metaphor that I’m missing. Anyways, thanks for the article. It was nice to hear I’m not the only one who’s had that reaction to Kpop lyrics!

  • haiitsvi

    Admittedly I don’t care much for the lyrical meaning of Kpop songs and the Korean language is more like another instrument. I just like the sound of it. And whenever I do look up the translations to my favorite songs I’m often disappointed.

    But I guess that’s why I’d rather listen to Kpop than English/American pop because that way I don’t actually pay attention to the shallowness of the lyrics. No matter where you go pop music is pop music and the more mainstream it is the less substance it has.

    A lot of lesser known Kpop idols/artists are the ones who compose their own lyrics and have lyrics with deeper meanings. Then again, they are less mainstream.

    So if I wanted to listen to songs with meaning to me and make me think, I have certain singer-songwriters I go to, and few of them are very popular in the American mainstream.

    On a side note, I’ve listened to so much Kpop that I can recognize random words that are often used in songs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucaswoodstock Lucas Oliveira Dantas

    i think the main question to be raised when it comes to lyrics on mainstream pop is “why bother?”.

    i really liked the article on the reduced role of lyrics in k-pop that i read here on SB, but i personally don’t care much about lyrics when it comes to mainstream dance music infused pop. most of pop music’s themes gravitates towards love, sex plus the themes the author of this article mention, and for most of mainstream music the lyrics have indeed reduced roles.
    so it’s a bonus when you come across a song that is perfectly crafted to be a mainstream pop song but has beautiful words about the very familiar themes. an example from british pop is miranda cooper penned songs; the woman is a brillian lyricist even if she’s stuck on writing about love and yearning relationships for the sake of the artist’s appeal to the less demanding minds of pop music consumerists.

    sometimes we blame it on the artists but they’re part of a money loving industry that will stick to the same old formulas to sell records. and this is not a new thing; please tell me what’s oh so deep about most of the beatles’s main hits lyrics.

    it’s pop music! it is supposed to be palatable and easy on the mind; and even if i can appreciate  my share of alanis morissettes and saint etiennes [simple lyrics but with beautiful and deep images], i see nothing wrong on mostly choosing the easy flavor of mainstream pop sound.

  • Judith Mopalia

    I suspect that I’m a little older than most K-pop fans (67) and I love not knowing what the lyrics mean because I don’t have to wallow in a lot of tean-age love angst  to hear music that’s fun.  There are some lyrics that I look up – Monster, for example, reads to me like a heartbreaking descent into mental illness.  And I’m learning Korean in spite of it, to read cookbooks and poetry.  Besides, it’s fun to watch Koean dramas and be able to say indignantly to the subtitles, “That’s NOT what they said!!!” 

  • Judith Mopalia

    I suspect that I’m a little older than most K-pop fans (67) and I love not knowing what the lyrics mean because I don’t have to wallow in a lot of tean-age love angst  to hear music that’s fun.  There are some lyrics that I look up – Monster, for example, reads to me like a heartbreaking descent into mental illness.  And I’m learning Korean in spite of it, to read cookbooks and poetry.  Besides, it’s fun to watch Koean dramas and be able to say indignantly to the subtitles, “That’s NOT what they said!!!” 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

      I love your comment and I’m honestly surprised you listen to BigBang.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5BKARJWK7NNOXYOIUSP76YJW4 Aj

      I love your comment and I’m honestly surprised you listen to BigBang.

  • Judith Mopalia

    I suspect that I’m a little older than most K-pop fans (67) and I love not knowing what the lyrics mean because I don’t have to wallow in a lot of tean-age love angst  to hear music that’s fun.  There are some lyrics that I look up – Monster, for example, reads to me like a heartbreaking descent into mental illness.  And I’m learning Korean in spite of it, to read cookbooks and poetry.  Besides, it’s fun to watch Koean dramas and be able to say indignantly to the subtitles, “That’s NOT what they said!!!” 

  • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

    I’ve said for ages that the reason I like Kpop is because I like pop music, but hate pop lyrics….so if I can’t understand the lyrics, there’s no problem! ;D

  • beyondhallyu

    I 100% agree with this! I’ve learning Korean for about a year and a half and a lot of K-pop songs that I initially liked, I have been really put off by now that I can understand some of their lyrics. The idiocy of most SNSD (especially Oh! and Gee) and T-ara lyrics are just ridiculous and I also find that the empowered image of 2NE1 is quite deceptive when compared to their often not so empowered woe-is-me lyrics. I also was a little disappointed by EvoL although I think I’ve maybe learned to expect less, the only good rookie lyrics this year I think have been GLAM’s Party XXO.

    I am glad there are some lyricists that are actually writing interesting lyrics. I see that you mentioned Kim Eana as well. She does some really interesting work. I actually just wrote an article about her for our new Korean culture and entertainment website: http://beyondhallyu.com/k-pop/our-favourite-people-in-kpop-kim-eana-lyricist/

    I would really appreciate it if you could read it, I love this site and what you’re all doing. Keep up the good work!

    Lizzie

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_O7KV6E7QJDCPZKKVKIL3UNJUA4 Musabbika

    SuJu’s lyrics are pretty good, in my opinion. Mr. Simple, Walkin’, A Short Journey, Y, to name only a few.

  • http://twitter.com/VoiceOfZen Sierra Blackwell

    NO WAIT OKAY can I just say that “Hajima” from B.A.P really surprised me? Like am I the only one?
    It started off really cute; really sunny and fun and bubbly. Not B.A.P’s style at all, correct? In that vein, I went to look up the lyrics. Holy shit.
    “Please don’t get mad at me, stop it–please don’t do this/I’m getting mad, I’m getting annoyed; I love you…please don’t suddenly snap at me, there are people here/talk quietly, everyone can hear us.”
    And let’s not even get into songs like Super Junior’s Pajama Party (which is INSANELY catchy with the craziest lyrics I’ve ever read) and U-Kiss’ Bingeul Bingeul (Which is also catchy but when you have the line “Only you can make me satisfied, you make me tingle tingle”…)

  • Rebeca Chavarria

    While I agree that most Kpop lyrics do nothing to bring about a philosophical thought, I am in extreme disagreement with this article. I’d rather hear repetitive, lack-of-substance lyrics in Kpop songs than Lil Wayne any, and I mean ANY, day. I’ve found more energy and creative substance from korean music videos than english ones. And who on earth claims that Kpop is all sugar and rainbows? Yes, some groups will be “dirtier” than others, get over it. If you say you’re a fan of something, you don’t bash it to the ground. No one is forcing you to look up the lyrics or to listen to it for that matter. If you want philosophy and enlightenment, read Socrates. Jeez.