By Chyenne Tatum | @chyandblack

One of the biggest critiques of why K-Pop artists couldn’t be accepted or normalized in mainstream music is because most Western audiences don’t understand the Korean language and therefore, are unable to enjoy the music. So naturally, to combat that (absurd) notion, what did K-Pop groups start doing? They released English versions of their Korean songs, as well as original English tracks and collabs. And no, contrary to popular belief, this did not just start in 2020.

In fact, as early as 2008, groups like BigBang, Wonder Girls, and solo artist BoA were already ahead of the curve in making intentional advances to cater to English-speaking audiences with songs like “Always,” “Nobody (English version),” and “Eat You Up.” BoA and Wonder Girls, in particular, are noted to be the first K-Pop acts to chart on the likes of Billboard with an English release. With the rising demand and accessibility of K-Pop in mainstream media today, we’d like to acknowledge the many artists over this past decade who have given us incredible English singles and albums—all while knocking down doors in the process. 

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