English and identity in East Asian popular music


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Linguistic diversity poses a significant but not insuperable obstacle to transnational flows of popular music in East Asia. This paper reviews strategies that are used to overcome language barriers, especially the use of English by mainstream artists. Although this strategy has met with some success, it can be problematic in that it involves the negotiation of new artist identities with audiences. This negotiation of identities is illustrated by an analysis of YouTube comments on two Englishlanguage music videos by established Asian-language singers – Tata Young’s ‘Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy’ and Utada Hikaru’s ‘Easy Breezy’, which indicates that language, ethnic and gender identities are all problematised when these singers choose to sing in English. Copyright © 2013 Cambridge University Press .
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
JournalPopular Music
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


Benson, P. (2013). English and identity in East Asian popular music. Popular Music, 32(1), 23-33.


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