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Alien Words or Slang?

Posted August. 17, 2010 12:49,   


“Bbiribbabba,” “Walalla Lallale,” “Nu Yebbioh.”

These are not alien words that teenagers use on the Internet but rather the titles of hit Korean songs in the first half of this year.

The Dong-A Ilbo studied the titles of Korean songs in the top 100 from online music sites such as Melon, Bugs, Dosirak and Mnet from January through Aug. 16 and found that songs have unique titles difficult to find even several years ago. The songs were divided into three groups.

○ Alien words

Songs that repeated certain lyrics or melodies several times were especially popular, so the trend was for unique words from the refrain to be used as titles. The hits “Bbiribbabba” by Narsha, “Walalla Lallale” by Onetwo, and “Fyah” by Park Myung-soo drew public curiosity over their titles but the titles have no special meanings.

○ Provocation

Certain titles that ignored, stimulated or provoked others were outstanding. The title song of the mini-album released by Cho Sung-mo was “I Will Cheat on You.” Rookie G. Na ranked first Thursday in “M Countdown”, a pop song program on the cable TV channel Mnet, with her song, “I’ll Back Off So You Can Live Better.”

Seo Young-eun grew popular with "What an Awful Word,” and the former member of the group Turtle SooBin issued her solo album with tracks such as “Go Back to the Military” and “Women Smoking Cigarettes.”

○ Extreme pain

Other hits had titles expressing psychological pain stemming from a breakup or love anxiety with extreme titles. The term “crazy” often appeared in “Going Crazy” by Kang Mi-yeon, “Are You Crazy” by Vibe, “You Drive Me Crazy” by T-ara, and “I Call You Because I Got Crazy” by Tei.

In the SBS TV drama “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (a mythical nine-tailed fox),” Lee Seung-ki sang the theme song, “I Must Have Been Absentminded.” Songs such as “Idiot” by Na Yoon-kwon and “After Discarding My Heart” by Byul expressed love in an aggressive way.

The proliferation of meaningless or provocative song titles is due to intensified competition. With a swash of digital singles, singers face tougher competition and with the lifecycle of a hit getting shorter and shorter, songs with provocative titles that are easily remembered are preferred.

The titles and lyrics of hits are also considered to reflect reality. Pop music critic Song Gi-cheon said, “The tendency of the younger generation to freely express their feelings is reflected in the direct and provocative titles of songs.”