In a slow news day, (or perhaps taking a break from Olympic coverage) CNN has reported South Korean rapper PSY’s latest track “Gangnam Style” going viral. Its 10 million view counts and rising is certainly nothing to be dismissed thanks to some notable celebs including T-Pain and Josh Groban tweeting about its genius.
Graduated from Boston University and Berklee College of Music, PSY’s first album was fined for having inappropriate content for underage listeners and his second album was banned altogether. His popularity over the last 12 years rests on his witty sense of humour and highly entertaining concerts where he is known to parody female singers. “Gangnam Style” is from his 6th, Best Of album.
Gangnam, for those unfamiliar, is a rather affluent district in Seoul where a lot of artist management companies are housed but perhaps is better known for its bar alley. “Gangnam Style” is about a guy trying to find the right girl he can have fun with and still be the kind of girl he can take home to meet his parents. (Or at least that’s how I’ve interpreted the English translation of the lyrics.) I’ve never been to Gangnam during the day, but have seen what it can turn into at night.
Part of what makes it so appealing and accessible crossing language barriers is that whether or not you like the music (I personally think it’s quite catchy) the video itself is a parody of pretentiousness. People familiar with Korean variety shows would recognize several faces that make cameos including Yoo Jaesuk, South Korea’s most popular variety MC, Comedian Noh HongChul and 4minute’s Hyuna all having a laugh. For those who follow Kpop would probably not categorize PSY there as he’s more artist than manufactured idol. Still, it’s quite refreshing to see a non-idol take and dominate at No.1 for once and other artists having fun incorporating it into their performances.
I’ll leave you with a performance of “Gangnam Style” featuring Kpop idol girl groups: Sistar, After School and 2 members of KARA. You’re welcome.