Gangnam Style


Some people call it a fad, some people call it a syndrome. But most people simply can’t find the right word to describe the massive whirlwind of a popularity a 34-year-old Korean rollicking singer-rapper has cast around the globe. Meet PSY (Park Jae Sang), the man who finally trumped Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry over a single, viral music video, “Gangnam Style.” Hailed “The Korean LMFAO,” PSY does not embody the current trend of androgynous, pretty boy groups currently bombarding the K-pop scene. He is shamelessly comical, topped with a dash of masculine confidence and strong stage presence. Debuting in 2001, PSY amassed much popularity in South Korea with his hit track, “Champion.” It’s no wonder as to why Korean citizens are so awestruck by the recent Gangnam Style phenomenon—this man has been around the music industry for over a decade now, but none of his hit tracks have ever reached such global fame until now.

“Gangnam Style” is the title track in PSY’s sixth album, released after his latest contract deal with YG Entertainment, a K-pop powerhouse agency that currently houses Korea’s most popular hip hop artists like Big Bang and 2NE1 (and DBHS’s Class of 1996 alumnus Hong Jun Park, also known by his stage name Teddy). Through the song, PSY brings the tony, Beverly Hills-esque town of Gangnam, Korea into the spotlight. He wittily sings about how his ideal girl and his ideal self are as elegant as the inhabitants of the city, but laid-back and exciting at the same time. His music video, where he attempts to act rich and pretentious in a hilariously contrasting background (for example, sun tanning in a local playground), clearly reflects this comical message. The offbeat choreography of the song is undoubtedly the main factor why the song has gained such popularity. It’s quite simple—crisscross your arms, extend them outward and bounce your legs rhythmically as if you are riding on a galloping pony. Then spin your forearm in the air as if you are about to throw an invisible lasso. Some have labeled this equestrian choreography the next Macarena, and with 104 million views on YouTube, and counting, its catchiness may possibly surpass any form of popular dance routine in existence. As a testimony to the song’s stellar recognition “Gangnam Style” has already aired in various public settings, including at Dodger Stadium during its Dance Cam Session and on the “Tonight Show” during Jay Leno’s parody of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Celebrity Twitterians such as Britney Spears and T-Pain have also shared their interest toward the song. According to the latest reports, PSY has officially begun his trek into the American entertainment scene. On Sept. 4, the singer signed with Island Records, which will solely manage PSY’s upcoming international activities. In addition, PSY made a surprise appearance with Kevin Hart on MTV’s VMA last Thursday night.

So whether you’re sad or happy, it’s time to giddy up. Crisscross your arms, and just bounce it the Gangnam Style.