Superficiality Matters #3: I’m so sorry, but I can’t sing the rest of the song

(This post is part of the “Looking Past Korea” series which is a run down of all things I think are superficially important, culturally important, and things foreigners think are important but I think are pretty over rated.  This is the 3rd of 5 posts about Superficial things that stand out to me.)

Superficiality: Korean Songs, English Choruses

Why it happens:

I was sent a link the other day talking about how English, as it appears in Korean songs, is without meaning. Instead it is part of the musical backdrop, on par with the piano, guitar or other instrument.

At first I thought this was kind of silly until I remembered how often English songs do this. At this point, I don’t even think Timbaland could make a beat if it didn’t include some Indian girl singing in the background.

I also remember all those cool kids who got Chinese symbols tattooed on their back that they thought said “Unity,” but really said “I have sex with pigeons.” It is at this point I realize how much South Korea would culturally gain from the term “Douchebag.”

Oh well, at least when they wear shirts that say “Spoiled Brat” on them, they’re not purposefully making a statement about themselves.

What it tells us about Korea:

Who the hell knows.

I’m just upset that I can no longer use the phrase “Tell me,” “One more time,” or “Sorry,” in class ever again without starting a medley.

Also, I can’t get the words out of my head and it annoys me when I only know half the words to the songs.

Visual Example:

As if the music videos above weren’t enough. Here’s the infamous camera commercial where the singer sings “Let me taste, your banana.” Followed by her softly singing MMM, MMM, MMM accompanied by slurping sounds.

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1 Comment

Filed under Culture, Korean MTV, The foreigner experience, Videos

One response to “Superficiality Matters #3: I’m so sorry, but I can’t sing the rest of the song

  1. Saw your link to my site. Its a really interesting website you run here. I will be in Seoul this summer studying the language, and its nice hearing about the experiences of other people here.

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