Fans of Korean music don’t need to know Korean to love the songs, but once in awhile there’s a tune or two that just doesn’t make sense. We still love those songs, but let’s be honest: Nonsensical K-pop songs deserve their own special genre. For this week’s Playlist Sunday, the KultScene staff members picked their favorite completely over-the-top nonsense K-pop songs for your listening pleasure.
You can leave it up to BIGBANG to having some of the most interesting and mind boggling concepts. Let’s take one of their latest song and music video “Bae Bae” for example. Lyrically, the song takes the generic route and talks about being blinded by beautiful girls and infatuated with her angelic looks and how she’s glamorous from head to toe. The music video on the other hand is strange from the get go. There were a lot of hidden meanings, a few that only those a certain age would understand, some of it was a bit rated if I say so myself. Everything from Taeyang, with that atrocious long haired wig, riding a horse, to Daesung laying in a body of water, stranded on his lonely island, to Seungri’s relationship with a dominatrix-like female was extremely odd, especially for a song that talked about a female’s beauty. The video might be understood by and even appealing to those couples in a similar sub/dom kind of relationship who are looking for that extra bit of teasing, sure, but it’s not something I can say I enjoyed. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch the music video, I find myself saying “what the hell?” every single time. As questionable as the music video for “Bae Bae” is, it’s one of those videos that’ll you’ll find yourself watching time and time again out of curiosity.
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U-KISS‘s “0330” is a great song, and the music video is really beautiful and heart wrenching. But that math equation halfway through the song, well, that is simply unforgivable. U-KISS has several members who speak English, so there is absolutely no excuse for “Don’t deny our r ²Ï€ (r squared pi).” Seriously, I’m looking at you, Eli and Kevin. What does that mean even? “Don’t deny our r ²Ï€” would literally mean, “don’t deny our circle.” WHAT? I’m not even going to try to explain away this line. “0330” came out in 2011 and I still don’t think I can get over this Engrish faux paux.
BIGBANG’s Taeyang has released some great songs such as “Wedding Dress” and “Eyes Nose Lips” as a soloist but he has also released some weird ones as well. What does “Ringa Linga” mean even? The music video is pretty weird as well, with cars flying backwards and glow in the dark dance scenes. The chorus is essentially made up of Taeyang repeating “ringa linga” over and over again, but as a song it’s pretty addictive and catchy, so it is a no-brainer that this song was a huge hit. Its title may not make much sense, but it’s a definite ear worm and will get stuck in your head in no time.
On their 2011 “In Heaven” album, three piece vocal group JYJ featured “Mission,” an up tempo number merging dance beats with a prominent classical string section. Unfortunately, this accomplished composition of Junsu’s also showcased some of the most bizarre English lyrics to be heard in K-pop. For example, during his rap verse, Yuchun states: “Probably your money is unpublic/Try to save my life like a puppy and cream.” In the same rap, he continues “F**K off no more talk,” which was taken by fans as a response to the group’s detractors, given JYJ’s well documented struggles in recent years. It is impossible to know if JYJ are attempting to be avant-garde with this song or simply out of their depth with a foreign language but, given that they previously tried to target the U.S. market, such grammatically muddled lyrics are unforgivable.
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For being the richest entertainment company in the K-pop industry, SM Entertainment does not spend enough money on their lyricists. Or even a fact checker, for that matter. SM has made its groups release some really questionable songs with random English phrases, but one of the most wtf-worthy came with Super Junior and their 2012 song “Sexy, Free & Single.” I mean, I’m with you SuJu. You’re all in your mid to late twenties and early thirties; a song about being young and available and virile is adequate. One question though, what does “bingo” mean in “Sexy, free, and single/I’m ready too, bingo?” Are you trying to make “bingo” into a thing or…??? Help this ELF out here.
Recently, it was reported that the Swedish lyricists behind Britney Spears’ iconic “… Baby One More Time” thought that “hit me” meant “call me” in English slang. So when Britney sings “hit me baby one more time,” in the minds of the lyricists, it actually means “call me baby one more time.” And given that “Sexy, Free & Single” was written by fellow Scandinavians, maybe “bingo” means one or another slang phrase to them as well.
APink‘s “Bubibu” is a bubbly and adorable song about a shy girl’s infatuation with a boy, which, upon first listen, is nothing odd. I mean, it covers the themes that are expected to go with such adoration, such as the daydreams and the confession (or lack of it)… but then we get the chorus: “Slowly, on your two cheeks, BuBiBu/I want to hold your hand tightly and BuBiBu.” I’m sorry, but what? From what I’ve gathered, it sounds like the term “BuBiBu” might refer to a more saccharine way of saying “to brush against” or an onomatopoeia for “to touch,” though it still doesn’t make much sense when we consider the line “You are my everything BuBiBu.” And the babble talk does not stop there. In a similar vein, we have the ingenious “Looking at you and I go lululala” and “rub dub, rub dub I tremble,” which still has me scratching my head. But then again, can I really be overly critical of the song? It never claimed itself to be profound or academic; it’s a pop song for Pete’s sake! So despite its nonsensical nature, “BuBiBu” quickly became and still remains as one of my favorites.
What’s your favorite nonsense K-pop song? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.