In this evening’s UK popular music chart listings, PSY finally made it to the top slot, having reached number three last week. Not bad going for a track released in mid July the other side of the Eurasian landmass.
It’s been interesting watching the Gangnam wave as it has spread from Seoul to the rest of the world. Whether it’s a one-off for Korean popular music, or whether it will open the Western market to acts (manufactured or otherwise) which, despite all the marketing push, have hitherto only reached a limited Western fanbase, remains to be seen. It’s noteworthy that despite having been in the music-making business for over 10 years (his first album was released in 2001) his name will have been under the radar to all but the most well-informed enthusiast of Korean popular music – really until this year when he was chosen to front Korea’s London 2012 Olympics cheering song. Will PSY’s new fanbase search out his back catalogue? Or will they look to his future collaboration with Island Records for more western-friendly content? Or will PSY be ever pigeon-holed as the Gangnam Style guy? Whatever, he seems to be enjoying milking it at the moment.
Here’s a reminder of some of the coverage the catchy tune and amusing video has generated:
- What’s Up With the ‘Gangnam Style’ Video? – Evan Ramstead, WSJ Blogs, 3 August 2012
- Psy Reveals All About ‘Gangnam Style’ – Jaeyeon Woo, WSJ Blogs, 9 August 2012
- Baseball Goes Gangnam Style – Jaeyeon Woo, 21 August 2012
- Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation – Max Fisher, The Atlantic, 23 August
- ‘Open Condom Style’ and Other Misheard K-Pop Lyrics – David Wagner, Atlantic Wire, 24 August 2012
- Why Psy’s “Gangnam Style” style went “American-style” and is the “Apt Pupil” of K-Pop, Metropolitician, 24 August
- Popping the bubble of the Korean elite, contd – Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Beast, 28 August 2012
- Stephen Epstein on Facebook: I thought I’d just point out (for those of you who will see this as a point of genuine interest) that at some point in the last 24 hours, its hit count (now ca. 88 million) surpassed SNSD’s Gee, which had been the most watched Korean video on YT until now (ca. 84 mil., but took 3 years to get there). This definitely tells us something about the global circulation of pop music, although I still haven’t figured out exactly what….. The fact that Jay Leno could use it to parody Romney and expect the American public to totally click with it also says something (2 September 2012)
- Dress Classy, Dance Cheesy – PSY’s quote of the day on the Ellen De Generis show
- 11 September: The Korean Tourism Organisation launches a one-day Gangnam Style tour: ‘In response to thousands of inquiries worldwide regarding Gangnam and spots to visit, the Korea Tourism Organization has created a special one day itinerary for everyone to have their own “Gangnam Style” and feel like a celebrity.’ I guess this is the best thing to hit Gangnam for a while. I can’t think of any other reason to visit Gangnam.
- ‘Gangnam Style’ has sharp social riff, 220m views, Foster Flug and Youkyung Lee, Associated Press, 19 September.
- Gangnam Style dance-off escalates into gang shootout in Bangkok, Guardian, 21 September
- Gangnam Style could be UK’s first K-pop number one, BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, 21 September. Another good quote: “People don’t recognise me without my sunglasses yet,” he laughed. “I can’t take off the sunglasses all day long.”
- South Korean rapper Psy tops UK chart, BBC, 30 September 2012
- Psy ‘less formulaic’ than most Korean pop – and held the biggest press conference in Seoul this year, with 500 journalists – Lucy Williamson on the BBC Today Programme 1 October 2012
- Boris Johnson claims to have danced Gangnam Style with David Cameron, at the Conservative Party Conference – via Lizzie Parker, United K-pop, 11 October
- Gangnam Style sparks soul-searching in China: Contagious culture, Raymond Zhou, China Daily, 28 October
- Gangnam Style exposes Seoul’s folly, Christian Oliver, FT, 30 October
- PSY has the Oxford Union in Raptures, Gangnam Style, The Independent, 7 November 2012
Here’s the original video:
Version featuring HyunA from 4Minute
And the “Making Of” video
And a subtitled version
And at the Dodgers Stadium
One of the first parodies (uploaded 31 July) is Pyongyang Style:
Another reasonably early adopter is Gangjeong Style – supporting the campaign against the Jeju naval base (uploaded 29 August)
And a pretty lame attack on Park Geun-hye, which may or may not have NORK hands behind it. (Uploaded 3 September)
Less quick off the mark is the next batch uploaded in September. First, a cover by some US naval cadets (uploaded 16 September)
A laid-back K-indie take on it by 밤에피는장미, with Latin vibes (uploaded 16 September)
But the best of the parodies is London Style (also uploaded 16 September). Try to spot all the locations.
And, moving on, from Key of Awesome comes Kim Jong Style (uploaded 21 September)
And even Klingon Style is pretty good (uploaded 27 September):
The anti-Romney campaign expands on the earlier Jay Leno joke (uploaded 2 October):