Research Blog 7: Exploring What the People Have to Say

As I mentioned in a few of my previous research posts, imitating Americans (who have a large and influential music industry) and wanting to become famous within a wide audience appear to be the main reasons artists are choosing to sing in English instead of their native languages.

After doing some more research, I came across some blogs and forums that discussed the topic of artists singing in English. Though these blogs and forums are not academic or very official, they provided some interesting food for thought.

For instance, one forum mentioned that since English can be a challenging language to learn and is now widely spoken, singing in English is a way to look cool by showing off your language skills and education, even if it is only a phrase or two. Take K-pop artist Phy’s song, “Gangnam Style”, which was a worldwide hit in 2012. The song was mostly in Korean but had the phrase “eh sexy lady” every stanza or so. Though the English was minimal, it allowed English speakers to connect with a style of music that they normally would not.

Many forums claimed that English just sounds better for pop and rock songs. Since English is not a tonal language and the stress on words is different than it is in languages such as French or German, it is easier to write lyrics that sound good and make sense.

Many music trends were started by English-speaking countries, such as the United States with rock and pop. Artists from other countries want to imitate those trends generally choose to sing in English to appear progressive and trendy. A blog that was written by a French woman said that many French artists who grew up listening to musicians such as the Beatles naturally want to sing like them, which entails singing in the same language.

One of the main points that I gathered from the forums was that people listen to what is offered or is popular; it happens to be that most of what is popular is written in English. That said, there are of course songs that are still produced in languages other than English. Many of the people in the forum said that they listened to music in both their native languages and in English. Though English songs are sometimes considered superior to songs in other languages, listening to songs in English is a way to be connected with the world and stay updated with popular culture.


Why French Band Sing in English:

Why do a Lot of European Bands Sing in English?

Why do non-English speaking countries listen primarily to English-sung songs instead of producing modern/pop songs in their own languages?


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