There are few phrases that are as immediately one-dimensional as either “OMG” or “Oh my god”. It is the verbal hallmark of shallow, materialistic girls obsessed with shopping and gossip the world over. And of course, it has shown up many, many times in K-pop. But are these multiple songs, all proudly named after the shallowest phrase in existence, as shallow as they seem?
The most obvious “OMG” is from TTS‘s debut mini-album. It is frequently regarded as one of the stronger tracks by the subunit, and it is the textbook example of “oh my god” as the refuge of mocking girls. The lyrics are, on their own, fairly sweet. In fact, they’re a little too sugary.
Even if you don’t have a golden trophy,
you are beautiful, you were born that way
Oh My God, the charm that only you have –
you can do anything you want
You’re so awesome, Oh My God
Yet when paired with the vocal performances of TTS, the overly saccharine lyrics transform into pure sarcasm. The constant flattery of the guy’s charm, charisma and power are biting, catty words from a pack of mean girls reveling in their antics. And every time you start to feel an ounce of sincerity, a simple “oh my god”, absolutely dripping with disdain clears it right up.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is “OMG” by 9Muses. Where TTS were catty alpha girls, 9Muses use “OMG” as an expression of shock at realizing they’re in love, and an extremely innocent one at that. How innocent? Well, “OMG” stands for “oh my gosh”, like we’re back in middle school where ‘god’ was inappropriate. The ladies detail their experiences with this first crush:
My heart is so shocked,
I don’t know, it’s getting hotter
My face is turning red, I might get caught, I don’t know
I want to wear the same ring as you,
I want to sit close to you at the movies
You might not know
but in my eyes, you’re so handsome
“OMG” both opens and closes with repetitions of “oh my gosh”, reinforcing the use of “oh my gosh” as one of fluster and confusion, even stress at not knowing how to handle these new feelings. What was the height of petty teenage mockery becomes the height of teenage confusion, under younger, sweeter voices.
In the same vein as 9Muses is 15&‘s “Oh My God”, also a celebration of first love. Yet where 9Muses were using “oh my gosh” on its own to express feeling stunned, 15& is using it as an interjection; something to add emphasis to their pre-existing emotions. In this case, it’s being used as an expression of joy at feeling genuine love for the first time.
Don’t be ridiculous, don’t scold me
I know everything, I’m not that young
If you keep viewing me as young, I will rebel
Love has come to me, oh!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh my god
15& have an interesting scenario, as the verses describe frustration with the adults in their lives telling them their love is not real, threatening to rebel if their youth is not constantly referred to as proof their relationship isn’t going to last. Yet they never use “oh my god” to follow any statement except that they have found love, giving the phase a joyous bent. Here, “Oh my god” is an exclamation used to express delight at their new love, rather than amazement that it’s there at all.
The first three songs listed are all by female artists, and that’s for a reason. “OMG” and “Oh my god” are usually thought of as typically female expressions, with males, both in songs and real life, tending to ditch the acronym and that Valley Girl “oh” for “god” or “my god” instead. But some male groups have used it, most recently Seventeen.
“OMG” by Seventeen’s performance unit is easily the brattiest and most creative use of “oh my god” in K-pop. Seventeen uses it utterly without irony, savoring the childish edge and meaning every utterance. “Oh my god” is a marker of pride and vanity, a form of self-adulation that quickly becomes a request for adulation from others.
My the distance and difference between us
God, at seventeen
want you to say my name
Let this admiration burst out
I want you to say my name
Oh my god oh my god
“God” is both used to emphasis their point about how awesome they are, but it also places Seventeen as gods themselves. They want their followers to say “oh my god” not just out of amazement, but as literal praise to the higher power they have painted themselves as; “oh, my God” rather than “oh my god”.
“Oh my god” is a phrase that is both easily mockable and ingrained in society. As much as the usage of it is made fun of, the nuances contained within pretty much guarantees that “oh my god” isn’t going anywhere. Any songs that make you cry “oh my god”? Leave them in the comments!
(Color Coded Lyrics, Images via SM, Star Empire, Pledis)