I agree on rock music. Being french I always had a problem with rock songs in my native language. And I had to listen to a lot of french indie rock bands. For more than 10 years, this has been my feeling with pop too. I even found reasons for that : French not being an “action” language like English which have many more verbs and a more simple, more direct structure than French… And rock and pop being musical genre based on immediate and unicoloured emotions… Well it made sense to me.
But then I started to pay attention to how some artists, like Gainsbourg, found a way to make french sound with pop music. And now I prefer when my fellow countrymen sing in French rather than when they mimic English singers. But I suspect a lot of the quality you’ll miss if you don’t understand the lyrics, how they play with the word’s melody.
Now with rap music, I remember meeting this American hip hop guy who told me that French rap was appreciated and considered one of the best otherseas. So from then I always thought it was because somehow it was going well with the flow. But from now on, and with your post, I won’t take it for granted anymore
Or maybe, the ability to appreciate music with foreign language is something that necessitate that you got already familiarized with this language. Rap would be the exception maybe because I remember being impressed by some Turkish or Senegalese or even africaner’s rap even though those language are totally alien to me.
I also had a revelation lately with German rap. But I must say there’s a very interesting rap scene in Germany at the moment so it might have nothing to do with the fact that I had a German girlfriend and lived over there for the last 5 years. And almost everything I’ve listened, lately, that originates before 2010 sounded bad (except for Falco, but can it really be considered as rap?).
On another note I listen to more and more South American music, even if I don’t speak Spanish. I also always listened to classic foreign songs like Shubert lieder or Bach or Baroque Italian songs.
I guess there are no rules as long as it sounds musical.