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K-Pop Finds A Breakout Hit

Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 02:52 PM

K-Pop has found a juggernaut international hit with Psy's hyperkinetic song 'Gangnam Style.' K-Pop has found a juggernaut international hit with Psy's hyperkinetic song 'Gangnam Style.' (courtesy of the artist)

It has been the Season Of Carly Rae Jepsen - until now. Jepsen's hit "Call Me Maybe" has been the indisputable Song Of The Summer, and the video has topped YouTube's music chart as well. But now she's been displaced - by an invader from Korea. 

Psy is a chunky but loose-limbed singer/rapper/dancer from Seoul, and his song "Gangnam Style" has been a juggernaut in the world of K-Pop, as the Korean pop music scene is known, for much of the summer. Now the video - a slick but goofy affair - has gone viral, and with 76 million views (5 million more than yesterday, when the NY Times reported it at 71 million), it is truly a global phenomenon. 

So in case it comes up in conversation, and you wanna be able to burnish your street cred as a world pop authority, here's the video, complete with horses, windswept trash, and a colorful party bus full of pretty girls.

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Comments [3]

D.N.R from CA

Liked the video. It was a very fun, new and unique experience.

Korean's can dance!?

Sep. 11 2012 03:51 PM
itissaid from USA

"This is the biggest international hit Korea has had, but the sound and content is not K-Pop at all. The beat and sound has more of a European feel, hence it's popularity (one assumes). Also, Psy is extremely influenced by foreign styles having gone to school in America before returning to his homeland."

I don't understand where the "European feel" comes in. If you listen to Kpop in this genre, this song is very reflective of that. The popularity has nothing to do with a "European feel", but just with the fact it is so crazy, out there, wacky, different from what is out in American pop. American audiences aren't going to understand the Korean subtext unless they have had good exposure to Korean culture and most haven't. Just because Psy has gone to school in the U.S. does not mean that he is "extremely influenced by foreign styles". That Atlantic article was not very credible.

Aug. 31 2012 04:33 PM
Bri from Gwangmyeong, Seoul, South Korea

It's actually an interesting moment in K-Pop. This is the biggest international hit Korea has had, but the sound and content is not K-Pop at all. The beat and sound has more of a European feel, hence it's popularity (one assumes). Also, Psy is extremely influenced by foreign styles having gone to school in America before returning to his homeland. Most importantly, this song carries a message. Most K-Pop is whimsical, a little silly, and fleeting. "Gangnam Style" is a song with commentary on society's tendency to conform, Korea's 1%, and the inauthenticity of putting on money for show. This is why the opening scene shows Psy on what looks like a private beach, but ends up being a children's playground. Gangnam is an area in Seoul thats only 15 square miles but hold most of the nation's wealth: it's known as the Beverly Hills of Korea. The song outwardly mocks this and also serves to undermine its artificial greatness. It's so much more than a "chunky" but "loose-limbed" man being a goofball.

Aug. 30 2012 08:18 PM

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