Commentary: Music comes in ALL languages

K-pop has become a newly popular style of music

Bella Khor, staff writer

  Wow, this is so sad. Alexa, play “Despacito.”

  I’ve seen this meme and heard it a countless number of times across a variety of social media platforms. It’s yet another song in a language other than English that rose in popularity to become so overplayed that every time I heard it on the radio, I wanted to physically slap “Despacito” tself to make it stop.

  Unfortunately, I couldn’t slap the actual song, as music is truly nothing more than wiggly sounds waves in the atmosphere. But as “Despacito” faded from the spotlight, I realized that even though I didn’t know what “Despacito” was about, I had still listened to it and, for the most part, liked it. (That is, until I heard it too many times in a short period of time.)

  This wasn’t new for me. I’ve been listening to music in other languages for a quite a while. Way before “Despacito” or even the obnoxiously catchy “Gangnam Style” by Psy, I had enjoyed listening to anime soundtracks in Japanese, jammed out to k-pop artists, and discovered the musical prowess of Shakira among other Latin artists.

  I couldn’t understand anything without the help of dubiously translated lyrics videos off of Youtube, but that didn’t stop me from  dancing in front of my computer to the theme song for “Sword Art Online,” “Married to the Music” by SHINee or “Loca” by Shakira.

  The fact that I couldn’t understand these artists only made me appreciate them more. Their musical style of pop was different from what was playing on the radio here, and I could still feel the emotion in their music.

  Obviously I’m not alone in appreciating music in different languages. The most prominent example of people who listen to foreign music is the k-pop fandom.

  Around sixth grade, I was sucked into this fandom, which is basically a gigantic, international collection of people who enjoy listening to k-pop. While many of them are fluent in Korean, there are also many who are not.

  I’ve been a casual fan of k-pop groups such as EXO, SHINee, and many more for years. When the Winter Olympics were hosted in South Korea, the international exposure that k-pop received was insane. The fandom for popular artists, CL and EXO, is very big internationally and within South Korea.

  I remember watching their performance and consequently fangirling so much that my dog moved into the other room.

  When the popular k-pop idol group BTS won a music award in America I was subsequently extremely shook. I had reached levels of shock that I had never truly encountered before.

   For any k-pop fan, this was a HUGE deal, and with so many k-pop fans in the U.S., I can assure you that we all were incredibly happy for the industry’s success in becoming an undeniable part of American media.

  I’ll also mention that, because of the diverse and inclusive generation that we live in today, many mainstream artists have started incorporating languages other than English into their music.

  Recently, Dua Lipa released a song where she collaborated with BLACKPINK, a k-pop girl group whose songs have reached all time highs on music charts such as  Billboard Hot 100, BTS’s “IDOL” (featuring Nicki Minaj) and “Wendy” from Red Velvet’s collaboration with John Legend in “Written In The Stars” – all of which happened in 2018.

  K-pop is what I’ve noticed most recently, but Justin Bieber’s  “Despacito” collaboration, and Camila Cabello’s “Havana” collaboration remix with Daddy Yankee both include English as well as Spanish.

  I’m excited for the choices that our current music industry is making. The music that these artists make will be historic collaborations, and as the American, Latin and Korean music industries and fandoms have their own memes, I look forward to see what memes will be brought from this specific crossover.