Breaking Barriers

Music in itself is a language. You don’t have to understand the words to the meaning, tone of the song, or what the artist is trying to portray. If the song has reached your ears, chances are that they may also enter your heart.

Music is universal. There are billions of people in the world who listen to songs and artists in another language, but they don’t understand what the artists are saying.

1. What is the point if there is a disjunction between the artist and the audience?

People connect through music. Millions of people today listen to songs and artists in another language even if they don’t understand the words.

2. What if the artist’s limitation from branching out to other countries is because of the language barrier?

Language did not appear yesterday or instantly.

3. Should foreign music be ignored just because they are unfamiliar?    

The answer is No.

Ignored isn’t the right word…Or foreign music? I have not encountered those songs. I just listen to English music.

Most likely, foreign music has not entered your musical database. But haven’t you seen the music page on YouTube or through the news some sort of music that’s not English?

Currently there’s a Latin Music section and Girls’ Generation-Video of The Year section. There’s always a song that’s trending, but it’s in a different language.

Curious? Would you give it a glance? Maybe not right?

I was in your situation years ago. I only listened to English songs because I was exposed to those songs by my friends. Of course, I found American/Canadian/British artists that suit my type of music, alternative rock. I could list and sing the lyrics to my favorite artists.

In 2008, I got a strong exposure to foreign music from my cousin. I just listen briefly to one of the song playing on her iTunes called 10 minutes by Lee Hyori. I shrugged my shoulders and moved on with my life. Not much longer, I looked at a song because my friends raved about it. I finally looked at it because it was on the YouTube music page. It was Hug by TXVQ. I admit that they sang pretty well a cappella since I checked out a few of their other songs such as My Little Princess by TVXQ. I had also didn’t think much of the song, Gee by SNSD (Girls’ Generation).

I went right back to Avril Lavigne, Secondhand Serenade, Pink, Hinder, Nickelback, Simple Plan, All-American Rejects, Green Day etc. When I’m sad, I would listen to their songs. It makes me feel better. Or so I thought.

I struggled my way through my teenage years with a grim smile in order to graduate high school. I can’t say I hated it, but it wasn’t the best. I only focused on schoolwork so I was really stressed out. Music makes me feel better. All those artists that I mentioned before have made me feel that I am not alone.

A Second Glance

In 2010, I thought I would grow out of the awkward and moody teenage self. College was stressing me out and the songs I listen to in times of trouble weren’t helping. I wanted a change.

I wanted to listen to happy music so I could feel happier. I wanted to feel the bond of family even if they weren’t my own. (I have moved away for college.) And that’s when I gave a second glance towards foreign music. I found myself looking at the songs sung by SNSD again.

It wasn’t their pretty looks that got my attention. Looking beyond the appearance, I saw their hard work and their shining, different personalities. They were nine young girls brought together by SM (their agency). They were able to become family and sisters through obstacles they faced by having the same passions and goals. Their songs brought strength and happiness with bond of sisterhood. They have brightened and revitalized my outlook in life.

Songs that made me a fan (SONE): I really like ballads.

Complete by SNSD “You make my life complete” -my favorite line

Forever by SNSD “I want to dream with you forever” -my favorite line

I have become a kpop fan just at the beginning of the Hallyu wave (South Korean wave). I am not Korean, but I like Korean songs. Through kpop, I have gain great knowledge about South Korea, their culture, other artists, dramas and entertainment shows. One day when I have time, I will learn the language and visit the country.

I still listen to English songs. Korean, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese songs have expanded my love for music and occupy a grand space in my music collection.

Why not take a glance? Of course, the translation will always increase your appreciation for the song. To me, there is always a song playing as you live your life. You might as well listen to SNSD’s new Japanese song My Oh My or see their popular song Gee.

I did.

About GirlOnGreen

Occasional writer. Sporadic bursts of wittiness. Speaks for the trees. Not built under pressure. Twitter: girlongreen
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10 Responses to Breaking Barriers

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  8. zeitbauer says:

    i think you’re right about music not having a literary content: that music is the sounds working on you, not the lyrics working on you. but, there’s a paradox: don’t most easy-listening rock songs — beetles, springsteen and all — use the lyric to tell the listener How to understand the melody? Like the way the caption under a photo ‘tells’ you what’s going on in the picture… like, the same picture, but one version saying ‘sad man’ and the other saying ‘thoughtful man’?

    so, like, you get this stream of rock, and it’s pretty much just four-four blah-blah beat music, “indy-rock” but still just cottage cheese blah-blah because it has to still sound like rock or whatever, but one version is different because of the lyric and the singer’s haircut…?

    • GirlOnGreen says:

      Maybe you misunderstood me. I never said that music doesn’t have literary content. Lyrics is just basically a poem without sound with the exception of chorus repetitions. The melody emphasizes the tone of the music.
      For example, The Beatles “Let it Be”, there’s a story in the lyrics. There’s a reason why there’s acapella. Also there’s a saying that a picture say’s a thousand words. Sad man, thoughtful man. Everyone can interpret a picture differently.

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