K-Pop is famous, or should I say occasionally infamous, for using words and phrases from foreign languages in their songs, successfully and unsuccessfully. English is the popular, default option that is sprinkled into the lyrics. However, sometimes other languages are experimented with and the effect can be spectacular.
[GD & TOP] Baby Good Night (Buy On iTunes)
Who can forget the glorious French monologue at the end of GD & TOP’s Baby Good Night? The woman’s romantic and enchanting French accent is everything you never knew you needed in a K-Pop song. In case you were wondering, she says:
“Your closed eyes, your smell, your voice
Makes a deeper red than the red of your favorite wine,
I feel like an actress in a movie,
Everything is fabulous with you.”
[IU] Havana (Buy On iTunes)
In IU’s flirty Havana, she croons, “Hola, muchacha hermosa.” It is short, lightheartedly charming and sweet, but most importantly it emphasizes the mood and setting of the song. I am in 1940s Havana, Cuba and I don’t want to leave because a handsome boy has me in his sights. In case you were wondering, she says:
“Hello, beautiful girl…”
Ga In’s entire ‘step 2/4’ EP is a masterpiece with heavy emphasis on tango music and lazy guitar strings. Ga In’s breathy, sexy voice is amazing in Esperando, where she sings about impatiently waiting for her lover. There are several Spanish verses but my favorite is the chorus. “Waiting for love,” sounds more sensual yet hopeless in Spanish:
“Esperando el amor…”
[Jonghyun] Hyeya (Y Si Fuera Ella) (Buy On iTunes)
Who knew? SHINee’s Jonghyun is an Alejandro Sanz fan! He covered the Spanish musician’s song Y, ¿Si Fuera Ella? for SHINee’s first album ‘The SHINee World.’ Although the only Spanish lyric that stayed was “ella,” which translates to “her,” the mere choice of song was groundbreaking. Since then other artists, like Lena Park, have made covers and recreations of famous Spanish songs. Also, truth be told, the choice of words makes it seem he’s in love with a Spanish friend, which Latin fans appreciate highly. (I’m pretending Amigo and Señorita were never created.)
[U-Kiss] Dear My Friend (Spanish Version)
Although U-Kiss’s Te Amo is the most epic fan-service song for a Spanish fanbase ever created, it’s the Spanish version of Dear My Friend that makes this list on behalf of the band. They translated an entire Korean song and performed it in concert in Peru. That shows a lot of devotion from the U-KISS members, whose pronunciation was pretty fluid in the performance.
[Ailee] Bésame Mucho
Ailee covered the Spanish song Bésame Mucho made famous by Lucho Gatica for Immortal Song 2. I loved her interpretation of the song and how she was flawlessly able to deliver the high notes. It was an unexpected choice but inspiring to watch, nonetheless. I’m certain a lot of spectators in the audience and viewers watching the show had never heard the song. Bésame Mucho translates to “kiss me a lot” or the far less blatant:
“Kiss me madly.”
[G-DRAGON] Coup d’Etat (Buy On iTunes)
G-Dragon’s Coup d’Etat is a bit shameless, but we forgive him because the MV paints a rather grim and dark picture of fame and megalomania. I love that fact that he’s singing about being absolutely amazing but seems rather miserable through every scene shift, as if damned by his greatness. Anyway, coup d’état is a French term for the overthrow of or rebellion against the state. In this specific instance, GD is the coup d’état that will revolutionize the music industry.
Led Apple’s Hanbyul is fluent in four languages, one of them being French. He covered Stromae’s Formidable for an episode of Music Note. He impresses me more every week with his covers. Led Apple is so underrated.
K-Pop song with Spanish or French? Who has the most flawless accent? Let me know below!