Published on June 21st, 2019 | by voxx0
Music Has No Language
For those missing classic bops from the 2000s, K-Pop is like a blast from the past but with a modern twist. And there’s a range of genres to take your sweet time choosing from. From punchy EDM and powerful rock to catchy tunes full of energetic beats and groovy rhythms that speak no language, there’s something for everyone. In fact, some of the UK’s most popular songs actually come from other countries, including Korea and many more.
In 2017, Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ reached number one in the charts and remained there for 11 weeks. It also set a new world record for being the first video to ever surpass six billion views on YouTube. Similarly, PSY was the first South Korean singer to reach such heights in the UK charts. His most famous song, ‘Gangnam Style’, remained in the top 10 for 18 weeks back in 2012 and was the first video to ever reach one billion views on YouTube. This is proof that music doesn’t always have to be understood lyrically for us to appreciate and enjoy it.
When you do look into the story the song is telling though, it’s clear that a common theme in K-Pop lyrics is the struggles idols face climbing to the top of such a brutal industry. Some of the most addictive songs have surprisingly deep meanings, and the honesty and vulnerability of the artists singing them is put out there for all to hear. One such boy band that writes their own songs and sings with this kind of admirable sincerity is one you’ve probably heard mentioned quite a bit by now – BTS. Their lead single from 2018 album Love Yourself: Tear, ‘Fake Love’, skyrocketed them to fame. The album went to number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, which was a first for any K-Pop group. Their latest single, ‘Boy With Luv’, also broke the record the most viewed music video in the space of 24 hours.
And yet this particular group doesn’t just have musical achievements to be proud of. Last September their leader, RM, made an inspiring speech at the United Nations regarding their work with UNICEF, the main message being to love yourself, a theme BTS were promoting at the time. It just goes to show that the rest of the world is full of inspirational artists too.
It’s not even just boy bands that are currently soaring. Girl groups such as Red Velvet, Twice and Blackpink are also making a name for themselves as some of the biggest groups in the industry. In fact, Blackpink, with their mix of hip-hop and girly vibes, are the highest-charting female K-Pop group ever, their latest EP Kill This Love making its way up to number 24 on the Billboard 200. They’ve even had a chance to collaborate with other big names such as Dua Lipa.
Both BTS and Blackpink, along with so many other popular K-Pop bands and soloists, have demonstrated phenomenal and respectable personalities and identities. Their humility and cuteness is clear to see, but it’s their dedication that ultimately always shines through. Their immense workload includes endless hours of training, producing and promoting, and they release new music yearly without fail. Their awe-inspiring vocals and intense rapping skills are one of a kind, and their efforts still don’t stop there. Korean idols are known for creating bold and intricate stories in their music videos, and I genuinely don’t think you’ll meet more passionate people.
So why do so many still see K-Pop as overrated? Perhaps it’s due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, or perhaps it is just a matter of opinion, but that doesn’t mean the art form is unworthy of support. It doesn’t have to be your favourite thing to listen to, but I think we should all become a little more open about different cultures and embrace their refreshing takes on music.
Because after all, music has no language.
- By Lauren Paul