Between the lines
March 30, 2016
It’s not often that songs produced in foreign languages make it into the UK charts, but when they do, they tend to be those annoyingly catchy pop tunes that stay in your head for hours on end. Here’s a list of 4 recent(ish) foreign language hits and a brief explanation of what we’ve actually been “singing” along to this whole time. Let us know in the comments section if you can think of any we’ve missed out!
1) 99 Luftballons by Nena
This German 80’s classic is a Karaoke favourite and although the music may seem relatively cheery, this was an anti-war protest song illustrating how governments gain power in times of conflict. In the end the 99 balloons released cause a 99 year-long war and unending devastation… Not so cheery now!
2) Macarena by Los del Río
With over 99 million views on YouTube, it’s not a surprise that we’ve been reminded of the existence of this Spanish smash hit at every wedding since 1994. I think it’s also safe to say that we’ll continue to be reminded of this song until the end of time. Unbeknown to me, however, the lyrics are about a girl named Macarena who cheats on her boyfriend with two of his friends. Don’t let that crush your 90’s soul though!
3) Gasolina by Daddy Yankee
Released in 2004, you may be surprised to find out that Daddy Yankee’s reggaetón classic was not actually written about gasoline as we know it. The word is Puerto Rican slang for a girl who likes to “cruise” the streets in a car. To quote Urban Dictionary, a direct translation of “A ella le gusta la gasolina” would be “She likes fuel”, which correctly interpreted means “She likes to roll/cruise” or “hit the streets”.
4) Gangnam Style by PSY
Last but not least, this Korean-pop banger hit our ears back in 2012, and with over 2 billion YouTube views, it’s apparently YouTube’s most watched video of all time. The song was written to mock those who live in the Gangnam district of Seoul in South Korea, and the lavish, hipster-wannabe lifestyle they stereotypically lead. This part of town has been likened to the gentrified parts of Shoreditch in London and Soho in New York.
Louise, Senior Project Manager, Verboo