Music: The Universal Language
Music is a prominent form of entertainment for people of all cultures. From the traditional sounds of folk music from different rural areas in Argentina, to the upbeat rhythms of popular dance and electronic music in European night clubs, music has served as a method of expressing emotions and universal themes that connect to people across the world.
The American music industry in particular has popularized many songs written by English-speaking artists. With English being the most popular official language of the United States, the lyrics are very accessible to listeners and it is easy for Americans to understand what these artists are trying to convey. Therefore, this music evokes emotion in American listeners as they are able to relate this music back to their own lives. However, the music industry extends further than America to many more countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. There are thousands of unique artists throughout the world that have their own stories to tell. Sometimes, these stories are delivered through different languages that are foreign to many people outside of these artists’ origin countries.
As shown by the increasing popularity of foreign artists in the music industry, American listeners have recently become more attracted to music from other countries with lyrics written in different languages. For example, Korean pop music has been popularized in America by groups such as BTS, BlackPink and Red Velvet. In the same sense, Latin American songs such as Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Calma by Pedro Capó appeal to a wide audience despite most of the lyrics being written in Spanish. Yet, many listeners are not proficient in these languages and some of these artists themselves are only able to speak in broken English.
How do these songs appeal to Westerners despite the language barrier? Many of these artists claim that people don’t need to understand the language to understand the message they are trying to send. According to BTS, who have revolutionized K-Pop to cater to Americans, “our passion and our sincerity, I think that goes across these barriers.” Many artists put a lot of effort and emotion into their performances not only through lyrics, but in the deliverance of these lyrics. With upbeat songs, these performers use their energy to impact their audience and give them an entertaining experience. On the other hand, with more emotional and personal songs, they channel their experiences into their music which contributes to how they deliver their message and how the audience connects with their story.
This idea shows the power that music can hold over people’s emotions. Despite not being able to understand the exact lyrics, American listeners have grown to appreciate foreign music because of how the artists show they are passionate in what they do and how sincere they are with the messages they send. As these artists continue to revolutionize music in their own ways, newer artists should follow in their example by considering how in touch they are with their stories and using their love for music to drive their message and connect with their audience.
Hear and see these artists on a YouTube playlist I made for this occasion. Check them out!