Obviously there is some subjectivity here (I have to put this disclaimer here or a thousand thundering dipshits over on the k-pop Reddit who don't understand hyperbole and subjectivity in blog writing will gather together and form a "crybaby singularity" and make the Earth's sea levels rise with their own tears, flooding coastal cities) but some languages just seem to suit some types of music better than others. Italian for instance is widely known as the "language of opera" and in my opinion, for good reason. Have you ever sat down and listened to an opera where the singers aren't singing in Italian? It sounds fucking awkward as a motherfuck listening to opera singers wrangle their way around all those hard German consonants instead of smooth flowing Italian words with lovely floating vowel sounds at the end of every word. However change the musical context from opera to heavy metal and suddenly German sounds great and Italian sounds so fucking stupid that 99% of the Italian metal bands just sing in English instead. In a similar way, and no doubt due to western pop-cultural expansion, English has sort of become by defacto the "language of pop music". Whether it's the optimal choice could be debated but there's no doubt that it's the language that much of the world has gotten used to hearing commercial pop music sung in. Korean pop's music producers know the power of connecting to global audiences through commonly-heard English phrase and the hooks of many of the iconic k-pop songs over the last few years are at least 50% English for this reason.
Artists who are really going for broke trying to grab that overseas audience will sometimes do an entire song in English, if they can. CL's last few songs are (bad meaning) good examples, Puer Kim had an awkward stab at an all-English song recently and ex-Kara Jiyoung's latest Japanese-market songs are also in English. Now I can't link Jiyoung's songs here because I can't find the YouTube links anywhere, and that's because Jiyoung's Japanese label are so very cunty about not letting anyone outside of Japan hear her music... so why would they go to the trouble of doing a song in English rather than Japanese if they're only going to release it in Japan and lock it off from English-speaking countries? The answer is that it's testament to how powerful people's sense of "English as the language of pop music" is, that in non-English speaking countries that's still what people are used to hearing and want to hear more of, and pop music is nothing if not a music style that gives people only slight variations on what they've already heard and like. English in pop music is "understood" in a musical sense globally, in the same way that non-Italian listeners "understand" Italian opera musically, even if we have only a hazy-at-best understanding of the actual words.
This episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert is devoted to nugus who also decided that it would be a good idea to release songs entirely in English. Whether it's an artistic or commercial choice I have no idea, and whether it's enough to grab them a CL-sized overseas audience (put your hands up, yes I see you in the back there) remains to be seen, but I certainly don't mind helping them out a little. Usual rules apply:
- Less than 20,000 views on official channels
- Not well known to your average 11 year old BTS fan
- Kpopalypse thinks you should listen, just because
Post Panic - Tokyo
Post Panic's MV is so incredibly western-sounding and looking that I had to double and triple-check that this actually was a Korean group and not a western act that just somehow snuck a video onto a Korean YouTube channel (which happens sometimes, routinely confusing the fuck out of Korean nugu-lovers everywhere). The song has the big millennial-whoop style backing vocals (an American/English melodic pop cliche right now that oddly hasn't made significant inroads into Korea), low visual production values (a trademark of the "fuck it" end of western music video making), at least three identifiably caucasian-looking people in the music video and most of all, the entirety of the lyrics are in English. Of course, don't ask me what any of those lyrics actually are - the singer's accent combined with a pretty crusty dollop of vocal processing are enough combined to disguise intelligibility to the point where you might as well be listening to it in Korean anyway. Post Panic aren't quite as nugu as they appear - the more popular version of this video was posted up elsewhere on YouTube and had about 5000 views before it was presumably taken down for copyright infringement or whatever, this official one's sitting relatively low so hopefully we can click their videos a few times and make them enough money to afford some pronunciation lessons, or at least a milk refill for their water pistol.
YouTube views at time or writing: 217
Notable attribute: first exposed clothing tag on a bra in official k-pop MV history visible at 2:02
Nugu Alert rating: very high
Stellarjet - Right Before A Storm
Stellarjet kick off their song with some boring slow bullshit and I thought that the entire thing was going to be like that until it suddenly perked up just under a minute in and turned into some synth-driven funk I-don't-know-what-but-it's-okay-I-guess thing. Of course there's the English lyrics which tie all these videos together and actually sound pretty good here, but what really stuck out to me on this video is the singer's incredibly outstanding Krystal-grade bitchstare during the upbeat chorus sections.
Everyone else is there grooving away happily on their overpriced instruments (how does every poverty-stricken Korean nugu group ever own a Nord) and she looks like she just wants to walk over to the other side of the rooftop and deck some cunt. She smiles for about the first ten seconds of the first chorus only, before reverting to a resolute stony Krystal-stare. No wonder the cameraman was afraid to even point the camera properly at her body and spends most of the chorus length focusing on the buildings in the background. She probably went all DeNiro in Taxi Driver on him and he was all like "I'm not perving at you, I'm just trying to get a nice vista going, please don't bash my face in".
YouTube views at time or writing: 6239
Notable attribute: most frighteningly atrocious half-assed dubstep breakdowns ever attempted by a Korean rock band with non-programmed instruments
Nugu Alert rating: very high
Club505 - In Your Eyes
Of course if you don't know much English, don't worry - you can still have an "entirely English" single and music video, it's easy. Just get one English phrase that you know is basically correct and not too awkward (or at least better than "if you wanna pretty, every wanna pretty") and repeat the fuck out of it, and... well, that's it really, there's no step two after that. Less is more as they say, especially with this type of electronica-based dance track, and the overall effect of Club505's song is a bit like Madonna's "Vogue" if you removed all the parts where she craps on about some shit nobody cares about (i.e basically all of it). It's also hard not to be reminded of f(x)'s "4 Walls" when listening to and watching this, both songs are pretty similar with lots of mellow programmed synth and a similar pacing, and both music videos have their protagonists spending an inordinate amount of time fucking around in the forest doing some surreal bullshit that is never really explained beyond "the girl is staring at some weird shit and now she's running around a bit like she's actually going somewhere and then she interacts with a thing". Maybe this is what Sulli would have done if she was also in the "4 Walls" MV and perhaps someone can edit this all together, shop Sulli in there somehow over this Club505 woman so it all fits together seamlessly and the planets will perfectly align and the true caonima energy will be released and erase all war, famine and poverty and neither Hillary nor Trump will win the US election and all will be right in the unive... yeah never mind, it ain't gonna happen.
YouTube views at time or writing: 2735
Notable attribute: this video has been out for five years which so far works out to about one and a half views per day, HELP THEM SOMEONE
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Thanks for reading another Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! Did you know that the Kpopalypse Nugu Alert series is by far the most profoundly unpopular series out of all the different ones on Kpopalypse blog? That makes YOU special for actually giving enough of a fuck to read down this far! Yay! Kpopalypse Nugu Alert will return at an unspecified date in the future with more nugus for your entertainment, until then stay safe!