Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Worst Uses of English in Songs

While I am very much in favour of multilingualism and believe that everyone should at least learn a second language, I do feel there is a time and place for multilingualism. Quite some time ago, we put together a list of the songs in English that almost ruined other languages for us, before adding a few more to that list.

It may surprise you that it is not just English speakers who are making these linguistic faux-pas. Today we've created a list of artists that should have either stuck to their mother tongues or spent a little longer studying both grammar and pronunciation when it comes to English. While I could easily mention any of the Eurovision entries from this year, I've instead decided to throw together 5 songs that I actually like but certainly should have never had any English in them.

Robert Ramirez - Sick of Love

I first heard this song in Spain a few years ago, and while it was often played in clubs, it fortunately never seemed to make its way to English-speaking audiences (at least not the UK or the US). I can only imagine that its lack of popularity in English-speaking countries is due to its horrendous butchering of the English language. While I'm certainly not saying this is the only song to have nonsensical lyrics, it tops off its lyrical nonsense by mispronouncing a large number of English words including "sugar" and "evil".

Discobitch - C'est Beau La Bourgoisie

I have a love-hate relationship with this one. While Discobitch's franglais electro track was the anthem of my Erasmus year, it always hurt my ears to hear the incorrect conjugation of "grow" in the line "and all the piles of money that grows next to you". You could argue that it is conjugated with "money" but that would make even less sense. Also, repeating "I'm a bitch", while somewhat funny the first time, becomes very crude and childish come the fiftieth time.

Nozomi Sasaki featuring Astro - Kamu To Funyan

This song is everything you would expect from J-Pop and more. While throwing seemingly random English words into songs is common practice in Japan, I can't bring myself to enjoy the sugar-crack-coffee-infused mayhem without cringing at "lucky let's working" with "working" being pronounced like "walking". In addition, there's also the needless addition of "everyday", "all day", "happy end", and "peace of life", to name a few pointless English words that are as welcome as dog in a cat shelter.

Psy - Gangnam Style

Don't think that I'm only singling out J-Pop for its obsession with random English words. K-Pop is just as guilty, including the worldwide YouTube sensation "Gangnam Style", which has English right there in the title. "Hey, sexy lady" is certainly the main offender for this song that could have simply been entirely in Korean. However, I'm not sure it would have been anywhere near as popular if it was only in Korean as the random English is part of its appeal for English listeners.

Sak Noel - Loca People

It's the complete lack of necessity of the English in this one that really irritates me. Admittedly, when I first heard it, I knew it had to be a foreign artist and due to being very, very drunk at the time, still thought it was the greatest piece of music ever written. I'm not a stickler for profanity either, so it doesn't bother me that the word "fuck" is used almost non-stop for the hook. It's the awful pronunciation of the dialogue that's annoying. However, as there is pretty much a 50-50 split between the English and the Spanish in this one, you could argue that it's a candidate for the both the worst use of English and a foreign language in a song.

While I certainly promote learning a language and disparage mocking those who are, I think it's completely different when an artist adds the English language to a song, often not for artistic reasons, but rather in order to increase its potential global popularity. It would be nice just to live in a world where music could be globally popular without any English in it.

Are there any foreign language songs that you think should never have included English lyrics? What do you think of the songs on our list? Do you agree or disagree? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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