After School, “너 때문에” (Because of You) & Infinite, “추격자” (The Chaser) (mashup by donfaustino2010). Obviously I really like mashups, but I particularly like the narrative quality to this one. There’s a story and a progression, and at 5 minutes it feels like watching a short film more than listening to a song. The two songs enter into a dialogue with each other, alternating lines and beats. They’re not singing about exactly the same thing - one’s about nostalgia for a relationship that ended badly, the other’s about going to the ends of the earth to win someone back - but there’s a sense that the two parties understand each other. “You told me to leave, and when I did you called me crazy,” she says, “but I still want to be with you.” “Yes, I let you go, despite my instincts,” he replies, “but now I know I was wrong, and I have to get you back.” (The transformation from direct address to narration also makes the Infinite lyrics sound remarkably less creepy; the threat of “so she won’t forget me” is softened when she seems to reply, “I’ll never forget you, boy”.)
Jacynthe, “Don’t Touch Those Faders” (French version). Interesting here for two reasons. Firstly, After School recorded this song as "Virgin" on their album of the same name. Secondly, this version of the song (there’s an English one as well) mixes in English lines with the French, which reminds me of the way K-pop songs mix English in with the Korean, as “Virgin” indeed does. However, I don’t think the motivation here for including English is the same as it is in a K-pop song, that is that "English sounds cool and foreign", because Jacynthe is Canadian and Québecoise and singing for an urban, clubbing Québecois audience that, presumably, is acquainted with English as an everyday language.
Here’s what I want to know: Can we draw a parallel between historical Anglophone imperialism over Francophone Québecois culture and Western globalizing/cultural colonization of South Korean culture (and colonialism/imperialism via U.S. military bases, etc.), and link that to the use of English by a Francophone Québecoise singer and by a South Korean girl group? Or are we post- all that and able to assign other reasons for the use of English in these songs, ones that prioritize the music over its cultural context and assign more agency and autonomy to the people producing the music? I’d actually prefer to do the former, but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions.