March 1, 2012
Today’s KCrunch Cocktail can be best described with the following photo of a delicious coconut cocktail. Despite Simon and the scientific community’s opinion, I believe my nutty + coconut comparison makes sense and anyone who dares disagree will feel the wrath of SPUDGY!!! GO MY DIREWOLF! GO!!! MAUL! MAUL AND LICK!!! Wait…why are you licking? You should be mauling and biting, sending ripples of fear into their fragile hearts…and now you’re getting tummy touches. At least sneeze on them the way you sneeze on me in the morning! You can at least do that for me can’t you? Spudgy! Spudgy?! Come on! SON OF A—
1) Psy: “Right Now”
So we’re starting off today with PSY: one of our all time favourite entertainers. I really want to emphasize the entertainment aspect of PSY because he has so much stage presence. And the engery! WHOAAAAAAAAAA WHERE DOES HE GET IT ALL FROM!!! We mentioned before that we saw him live at the YG family concert, and when he came on stage he got everyone up and dancing with him. If he was in Harry Potter he would be the first male Veela. Any HP fans out there? OOOOOooh that reminds me, I’m reading a new magical detective book series right now by Ben Aaronovitch. I finished his first book “Rivers of London” and now I’m onto “Moon Over Soho” and it’s a cool twist on the world of magic. FOCUS MARTINA FOCUS! Sorry, PSY. The video for “Right Now” is also an awesome video as I think it shows something we would all love to do when bored or stuck in traffic…break out into synchronized dance with hot backup dancers (keep your eyes peeled for the distracting blonde guy). If you haven’t heard or seen this video you are REALLY missing out.
2) 4 Minute: “I My Me Mine”
Next up is Simon’s former favourite girl group, 4Minute. Their first few songs, including “Muzik”, “Hot Issue” and “I My Me Mine” were totally awesome, and we often ran around the house dancing and singing, but after that they didn’t release any songs that we found catchy. Not like their other songs at least. “I My Me Mine” is such an awesome grimy robotic sounding song that keeps our attention non-stop. It even changes sounds several times going from a quick grimy loud beat, to a softer sound, then loud beat, back to a quick powerful grimy sound with shouting vocals. Not to mention how catchy the click click click click part is but good googely goo the English pronunciation is the worst we’ve ever heard.
WARNING! INCOMING RANT ABOUT BAD ENGLISH IN KOREA!!! Skip it if you don’t have time!!!
Now some people have criticized us for rating the English in kpop songs, and have suggested that it hurts the singers’ feelings, and it’s rude, and so on. But when we hear things like that, we think that people are really looking down on Korea. But that’s not the case. What we are looking down upon are these huge multi-million dollar kpop companies who include English for the sake of…what?
South Korea is a country where people predominantly speak Korean, so who is the English in a song or on a billboard? Is it for the tourists? Well it can’t be, because the English is often so nonsensical that English speakers can’t understand it. Maybe they have a lack of Korean English speakers so they’re just trying their best to translate? Well that’s not true either, because there are TONS and I mean TONS of fantastic Korean English speakers that are never consulted for their English. And why is it that kpop groups that have fluent English speakers born and raised in English speaking countries are forced to speak garbled English even though they KNOW it’s wrong?
We believe that there are two reasons. The first is that English is seen as trendy, and Korea wasn’t originally making music for the rest of the world to listen to. The Hallyu wave is a new trend but before that English sounded cool and it didn’t matter if it was correct or not because no one really cared. Just like non-Asian speakers that don’t research their Chinese or Japanese tattoo and end up with LAZY instead of STRENGTH.
The second reason has to do with the Confucius ideals engraved in the Korean workforce. Majority of fluent English speaking Koreans are a part of the younger generation and the older CEOs of many companies don’t speak English as well as their younger employees. The problem arises in that a younger employee cannot correct an older, more powerful CEO without risk of being disrespectful to their elders. So, if the CEO of a huge well known Korean company approves the most terrible English on a huge billboard, the younger employees are helpless to the decision. Of course not all members of Korean society are like this, but we and our friends witnessed small instances of this Younger/Elder stance when we were teaching, as many of our English speaking Korean co-teachers wouldn’t speak English in front of the non-English speaking Principal so as to not insult him. Or worst, they wouldn’t consult us when putting up a huge English banner on the side of the school with terrible English.
The point we’re trying to make, is that someone handed these lyrics to a kpop group, and our springboard for this discussion today is 4minute. Even though the members of 4minute are clearly not strong English speakers, they were forced to sing English lyrics without the guidance or help from the many English speakers in Korea. Our concern is that with the rising popularity of Korean music, those who love Korea won’t care about the terrible English, but the new listeners will be unable to focus on the music itself and only mock the English and put that song/group into the stereotype of Bad English Speaking Asians. Considering the amount of money and resources these huge companies have, we think they should be more considerate about what they are making their artists do.
And finally, we would never meet someone on the street in Korea and mock or laugh at their mispronunciation of an English word. Learning to speak another language is super difficult, especially training your tongue to move in a new way for a foreign sound. We specifically point our English rating towards those companies that are using English irresponsibly for the sake of being trendy, but are not thinking about the people who have to be the face of it.
RANT OVER. I HAVE SPOKEN!!!!!
3) DJ DOC: “나이런사람이야”
Well that was an unexpected rant that just poured out of my fingertips. To the DJ DOCmobile! NANANANANANAAA! DJ DOC are actually three guys and they are HI-larious. They have tons of songs out since they’ve been around since the 1990’s. I heard them a lot when my students would make a slideshow or a funny movie, it seems DJ DOC always ended up in the background as music. Probably because it works nicely with a timeline. The name of this song is my personal translation so I’m not sure if it’s right (help me) but I think it’s something like This Is a Music Video or His Old School Music Video or something….help me!!!!! The video is hilarious and the song is deeply catchy. NAAAAAAAA EEEERAN SARAM EEE EYAAAAAAA!!!!!! Also, can someone tell me if that’s UV making a guest appearance?
4) Super Junior: “Don’t Don”
Our last video is a video request for an old school Super Junior song “Don’t Don” which was before our kpop time. We left this video feeling a little traumatized. I guess it’s the same thing when people watch an old school Vanilla Ice video…you kind of had to be there to understand it. So besides the style of clothing and hair being way wayyyyyyyy different then what we’re used to, the song wasn’t terrible, but we’re not really into the rock guitar + pop vocals combo. But it seems Japan really really loves this combo and hasn’t outgrown it. The whole kind of shaggy mullet hairdo is also still popular in the Japanese jpop and jrock world, but even though I love Japan, I just can’t like that hairstyle.
I’m really happy Korea tends to flow with new trends and try to re-invent their kpop artists. Speaking of re-invented, we really like the current Super Junior look and sound, much more then their old stuff, but I guess the die hard fans who were there from the start will like everything. Die hard fans, we need to know: who are all these other guys? When did the group change members? And why does it look like they haven’t aged…are they vampires!!!!!??? OMG!
That’s it for now! If you’ve got any thoughts about the English in Kpop issue, let us know in the comments. Or, if you’d like us to talk about a song in one of our playlists, send us a video response via YouTube! Woot!