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THE KPOP ENGLISH PROJECT: fixing busted English lyrics in K-pop, one song at a time. (Warning: long threads ahead)
Jan 15, 2023 7 tweets 3 min read
Revisiting “Puzzle,” SF9 (2023). The plot (concerning the pronunciation of “scenario” in SF9’s “Puzzle”) thickens: I just discovered the SF9 song “Scenario” and learned that they pronounce it just fine there.


#KpopEnglishProject #SF9 #Puzzle #Scenario #kpop #kpep #lyrics (2/7)

By my count, they pronounce it right 11 out of 13 times in the song. (A respectable score of 85%.) They pronounce it like “see-NARE-ee-oh,” which is close enough to the American English “suh-NARE-ee-oh.” So, what does this tell us?
Jan 14, 2023 7 tweets 3 min read
“flipp!ng a coin,” Billlie (2021). First off, I think Billlie’s great. They can tackle any concept, they’re talented and charming, and they never shy away from the unconventional. But this song…


#KpopEnglishProject #Billlie #flipping_a_coin #Belllieve #kpop #kpep #lyrics (2/7)

This song gives us some stuff that’s a bit hard to process. Part of this might be that Billlie often leans into their lore, and that can put uninformed listeners at a disadvantage. At least, that’s what I assume is going on with this line:
Oct 18, 2022 11 tweets 4 min read
“Nxde,” (G)I-DLE (2022). This song is frustrating. That’s because the English lyrics throughout are just so unsatisfying. In the very first line, Soyeon sings this:

“Why you think that ’bout nude?”


#KpopEnglishProject #GIDLE #Nxde #Neverland #kpop #kpep #lyrics (2/11)

Why do you think that about nude? That is not a well-formed English sentence. And I’m not talking about the nonstandard grammar (“Why you think?”). I’m talking about the rest of it. Yes, “nude” can be a noun (we’ll get to that), but not like this, it can’t.
Mar 18, 2022 8 tweets 3 min read
“Trigger” (2022), CRAXY. There’s something funny going on in CRAXY’s latest single. And by “funny,” I mean not so good. You know by now that this not-so-good English is going to crop up in the chorus. Let’s take a look:


#KpopEnglishProject #CRAXY #Trigger #kpop #lyrics (2/8)

“Pull the trigger like you loaded”

What’s wrong with that? Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear “loaded” in that line, I think of two things:

Pull the trigger like you’re drunk

and then

Pull the trigger like you’re rich.

Clearly, neither one is the intended meaning.
Mar 17, 2022 7 tweets 3 min read
“Close” (2021), AB6IX. One recurring English phrase in this stylish and propulsive song threatens to gum everything up. Well, no, it’s not that big a problem. But it is a really bad line.

It shows up in the chorus:


#KpopEnglishProject #AB6IX #Close #ABNEW #kpop #lyrics (2/7)

“And close your eyes
눈을 감아 그냥 내게 맡겨 널 [Close your eyes, just leave it to me]
Like a blind
불빛 하나 없는 [No light at all]”

And it shows up here (and in a similar context):

“Close your eyes
그냥 날 믿고 [Just trust me] like a blind”
Mar 10, 2022 6 tweets 3 min read
Some thoughts on the recording of “Queendom” (2021), Red Velvet. This behind-the-scenes video is interesting because (maybe) it reveals something about the way K-pop companies and singers think about English lyrics.


#KpopEnglishProject #RedVelvet #Queendom #Wendy #Irene (2/6)

The video is the standard compilation of candid clips of the recording process. There are three places in it where Wendy (a fluent English speaker who spent part of her childhood in Canada) gives Irene some pointers about her English pronunciation: