Listening to Foreign Music Can Broaden Your World

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Chueyee Yang

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South Korean male group, Big Bang in their music video ‘Loser’.

South Korean male group, Big Bang in their music video ‘Loser’.

Boring, annoying, useless and weird, that’s how I used to view foreign music.

While growing up, I rarely came across foreign music, and even if I did, I never gave it chance; the only type of foreign music that was appealing to me was the occasional Spanish tracks that would air on the radio.

For many years, others tried to encourage me to listen to music in Korean, but the more they pressed, the more I gravitated away from such music.

I didn’t understand why anyone liked music in a language they neither spoke nor understood. Isn’t the whole point of music that it moves you?

Fast forward to 2012, and I finally took a chance on K-pop [Korean pop] after watching an episode of a Korean drama; watching that production actually motivated me to search for K-pop music videos.

It only took me a few music videos to discover that K-pop is enjoyable.

Understanding Korean is not essential to understand the concept of the song. Most K-pop music videos actually tell a story with definite storylines and plots.

And while listening to the audio of a Korean song, I was able to completely focus on the instrumental aspect of the song as well as the vocals, without focusing on the meaning of the lyrics.

Then, I started to branch out to other foreign music, including Danish.

Similar to songs which are created by artists in the U.S., Danish songs have a comfortable vibe to it and seem familiar.

I found that listening to foreign music made me more open-minded and less judgmental as well as more welcoming to different ideas.

Being exposed to K-pop taught me other things, including that it’s ok to be different. I used to be judgmental of guys who wore makeup. However, K-pop helped me realize that it’s fine for anyone to wear makeup and express themselves through an art form.

I was also able to expand my knowledge of the Korean and Danish cultures by simply immersing myself into their music.

Previously, I didn’t know anything about the Koreans or Danes. I never knew that things like your age and career dictated how others treat you in South Korea. I have since gained so much knowledge about their cultures. And to think I hadn’t even known Danish music existed.

I can truly say that music, yes foreign, has opened my eyes.