6:49 pm - 08/26/2018

K-Pop songs with questionable lyrics: Part 2

Part 2 of a new series where I highlight side-eye worthy lyrics in our favorite songs. For Part 1 click here.

Sexism/Misogyny



Artist/Song: Nu'est - Please Don't
Written by: JR, Iggy, Seo Yongbae
Lyrics: Similar to Infinite's song from the first post, this one is about a insecure boyfriend telling his girlfriend not to wear sexy clothes. "Do you dress like this even when I'm not there? / I'll allow it just today, just this one time / In front of many people / I want to be the only one who sees your pretty self"




Artist/Song: EXO - Monster
Written by: Kenzie, LDN Noise
Lyrics: This song was highly requested in the first post, as some users stated that the lyrics come across as rapey, which is why I'll put the lyrics behind a spoiler. [Spoiler (click to open)] "I’m creeping in your heart babe / I will overturn you, break and swallow you / Yeah I steal you and indulge in you / I will ruin you / I will live forever / Even if I die, I’m carved in your memory / Come here girl, You call me monster / I get a thrill, turning your life completely inside out / Accept me as I am / Forget your fearful worries / Enjoy the pain you can endure"


Cheating/Stalking



Artist/Song: Teen Top - Perfume On You
Written by: Pdogg, The Hitman 'Bang'
Lyrics: This song was featured in the original video and also suggested by some users in the first post. You may think that this song is cute and romantic, but the lyrics are actually about a guy cheating on his girlfriend and hoping that she doesn't find out about his sidechick. "Don't use perfume / My girlfriend might find out / Don't wear sparkly things / Because it might get on my clothes / If you really like me, don't say anything / Just do as I say and do it right"




Artist/Song: f(x) - Shadow
Written by: Jun Gan-di
Lyrics: Another requested song. As the title says the song is about someone's shadow, a person that follows you like a stalker and acts like he/she is in a relationship with you. "Every day, I secretly chase after your footsteps / I’m always careful so you won’t notice / No one says it but our date has started, our own date / Day by day, we resemble each other more and more / Your laughter and tears, I know it all / Don’t be scared, we’re a fate tied by the sun, it’s our destiny to be together"


Body Image



Artist/Song: Sixbomb - Becoming Pretty Before/After
Written by: Soa, Dajay
Lyrics: The entire concept of this release was questionable, as it was divided into 2 parts: The pre-plastic surgery release "Becoming Pretty Before" and after-plastic surgery release "Becoming Pretty After". Both songs have the message that you are only pretty when you're skinny, so get plastic surgery to fix your body and face. Becoming Pretty Before: "How are you today? What's wrong? / Manage your weight / I'm getting pretty" Becomign Pretty After: "The shorter pants and slim waist / I am g to the o to the o to the d / B to the o to the d y body"


Indefinable aka Songs that didn't fit in the other categories



Artist/Song: IU - Zeze
Written by: IU
Lyrics: IU got heavily critized for this song after the release. She was accused of sexualizing a children's book character, the 5 year-old main character of "My Sweet Orange" who has to deal with physical abuse from his family. IU later said in an interview that the song was written from the POV of Minguinho, a friend of Zeze, and how she found Zeze's personality attractive and sexy. "Just one more touch / I wait for you here every day / Come get it all / I want to call again / I wait for you here every day / You turn back so cold / But you'll come back tomorrow night"




Artist/Song: Hyuna - Ice Cream
Written by: Brave Brothers
Lyrics: One of Hyuna's many songs where she talks about how awesome she is. This song actually has only one questionable line, but it's in the chorus and repeated three times during the song, so I decided to include it here. "Chocolate ice cream, like my dark skin"


sources: youtube SinB Ssi, Nu'est, SMTown, LoveKpopSubs3, Sixbomb official, 1theK 1, 2, 4minute official
torontok 26th-Aug-2018 09:04 pm (UTC)
Tbh I don't agree with Shadow being here. f(x)'s shadow is written from the perspective of the person's shadow as in their literal shadow, not a stalker. The shadow here is like an entity that has been with the other person since the beginning of time and has fallen in love with them, hence "fate tied together by the sun".The song is wistful and sad more than anything, the shadow sings about not being noticed and ignored in favour of the reflection, it's a one-sided love. I suppose you can consider it stalkery, especially in the english translations but to me it's more of an elaborate metaphor than anything violent.I think you have to ask yourself where the line between exploring fantasy themes in music and being problematic lies. Like there's a world of difference between this and U-Kiss' stalker which is men singing about following a woman romantically and using stalker in the literal sense.

I can definitely see why people have issues with Monster's lyrics but it doesn't really bother me as much as say the Growl lyrics. Firstly because like Wolf, Monster had a woman behind the lyrics and because the premise is so over-the-top exaggerated that it feels more like a concept to me (and the video kind of reinforces that with the SWAT teams and shit) so I'm not annoyed by it. Same thing with Wolf. Whereas the schoolboy machismo posturing in Growl feels a lot more close to home and true to the type of harassment.male douchebaggery I've deal with in real life so it bothers me more.

Edited at 2018-08-26 09:06 pm (UTC)
lightframes 26th-Aug-2018 09:12 pm (UTC)
I understood Shadow to be about a person but I thought they were aware they were acting like a stalker, since they admit in the song "no one said it but we're on a date," like nobody has agreed to this

But I can see it being a trigger for people who have suffered from stalking before.
torontok 26th-Aug-2018 09:34 pm (UTC)
The song also includes the lyrics "I have nowhere to hide" which pretty much eliminates the physical element of stalking. the chorus makes it pretty clear this is about a shadow not a person with the moon and sun references.


When the sun rises, together with you
I walk in sync
I am really really into you
When the moon rises, in my arms
you fall asleep
I really really like you


Because a shadow disappears at night and can only be seen in the morning.

I get what you mean that it can be a trigger, and it's valid but there are many things that can trigger individuals based on their own personal experiences/traumas and that doesn't make them inherently problematic imo.

Also worth noting that we are looking at these lyrics in English translations, not in the original Korean so there is a layer of meaning removed and we don't have the pre-existing cultural context either. The way Krystal explained this song (as her favourite) was as a sad love song and it's been praised for it's lyrical creativity, knetz don't find it problematic. It's kind of how like the english lyrics for red velvet's ice cream cake make it seem super suggestive but koreans were confused by that because the korean lyrics weren't that way to them.
lightframes 26th-Aug-2018 09:47 pm (UTC)
I agree that things that can be triggering doesn't make them inherently problematic (I like Shadow a lot, it's one of my favorite songs from Pink Tape). I honestly took that part to mean (the nowhere to hide part) that the other person is aware of it, since most of the time the victim of stalking is aware they are being stalked. But that just goes to show how many ways the song can be interpreted.

I remember people talking about the way Yeri was portrayed in the ICC video but not complaining about the lyrics, so I'll have to look that up (I just didn't like the song in general compared to Automatic so I probably wasn't paying attention to any drama about the lyrics).

I think room has to be left for songs to portray negative emotions and "characters," especially on albums that have a progressive story arc. I took the point of the post to be "you might not have been aware of the lyrics in these songs if they bother you," since a lot of people in the last post were saying they don't look up the translations (it's usually one of the first things I do when a song comes out for a group I like, so I was really surprised to see those comments).
goshipgurl 26th-Aug-2018 11:38 pm (UTC)
i think as with all songs, it depends on how you interpret the lyrics. shadow was suggested in the last post, so i included it. also, spoiler: the u-kiss song is included in part 3.
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