The Language of Pop Music

Today, Phoenix began to play in the car, and I mentioned to my friend’s that the music group chose to sing in English. My friend asked, “They’re not American?” To which I replied, “Nope, they’re French.”

Not many of my friends know that the music group, Phoenix, is French. One reason for that may be because their songs are sung in English.

Interestingly, there are international artists, like Björk, who sing in English. When Thomas, the lead singer of Phoenix, was asked why he sings in English, he responded,

English is the language of pop music, pop culture. It is above nationality.

Though the statement could be debated, I am utterly fascinated by it. “English is the language of pop music.” Consider even Korean pop music, in which English is commonly used in parts of songs. (Sometimes even just one word of English is incorporated in a song). Is there a universal, irresistible urge or necessity to utilize or add English to pop music?

I’m sure there are many factors that play into the phenomena of English becoming a language of (pop) music. Take globalization and the increase of teaching English in many foreign countries. That has to have bled over into music as well. Or for the artists, perhaps the switch from their first language to English is exploratory, empowering, or fresh. I would be interested in learning what else has contributed to this phenomena. If anyone has any thoughts, I would love to hear them!


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