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Gangnam style: 30,000 horse riders
August 28, 2012 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Though the 'Gangnam Style' music video and the reactions it creates have been mentioned before on MetaFilter, with the video analysed for the deeper socio-economic meanings and context within, to the bafflement of some Koreans and Australian journalists Psy's comeback track continues to climb various music video and song charts while 30,000 fans enthusiastically, and soakingly, sing and do that dance.
posted by Wordshore (90 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I prefer Gundam Style myself.
posted by Nomyte at 7:32 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


OPPA GOTHAM STYLE
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:32 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


goddamnit I JUST got this song out of my head
posted by desjardins at 7:32 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Psy's viral success in America doesn't seem that strange to me. Americans find chubby Asian jesters to be hilarious - think about William Hung.

On a less "we're all racist" note, I also think many of these articles are missing the fact that by criticizing wealthy Korean opulence, "Gangnam Style" is also indirectly criticizing wealthy American/Western opulence. It doesn't seem that strange to me that Americans would find both displays of gross privilege and criticisms of the same to be compelling.
posted by muddgirl at 7:35 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


i just like screamin' at butts.
posted by boo_radley at 7:36 PM on August 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


I haven't been this excited since MC Hammer.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:38 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's got a nice beat and, as far as the video and that concert clip go, the guy seems to be a true, excellent showman who enjoys what he's doing. Never underestimate the infectious nature of a good beat and good personality.
posted by sendai sleep master at 7:38 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I prefer Gundam Style myself.

FUCK IT, WE'LL DO IT LIVE!
posted by maudlin at 7:40 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't miss Nelly Furtado's cover of it, albeit from shaky cam and with horrible audio.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:41 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


hey, I made these last month, enjoy.

one

two
posted by boo_radley at 7:47 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Won't get me going south of the river this time of night.
posted by Abiezer at 7:55 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spend an unhealthy amount of time online, but this is the first I've heard of this whole Gangnam Style business. However, after reading the "analyzed" article linked in the OP, I can't help but draw comparisons to Weezer's Beverly Hills. Even the lyrics are similar.

Turns out opulence is both desirable and disgusting to a great many people. And they don't mind the blurred lines when the people singing about such things are themselves blurring that line.
posted by revmitcz at 7:58 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's about (K)pop music, and people having a good time, and blasting it out of the car on a summer's day. Sheesh.
posted by carter at 8:05 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I seriously can't get enough of this.
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:08 PM on August 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


There is something really awesome about seeing 100k people singing along to a fun song.
posted by graventy at 8:11 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


If we can trust the video that leaks out of the North, when North Korea and South Korea eventually do re-unify, there will be a sizable number of North Koreans whose brains are just going to flat-out melt at the incongruity.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:13 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


> There is something really awesome about seeing 100k people 100 k-people singing along to a fun song.

I can't trust my own brain.
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:15 PM on August 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


nooo! strikeout, why have you forsaken me?
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:15 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


PSY - Lady Gaga & Beyonce Dances
posted by Lucinda at 8:21 PM on August 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


He is surprisingly agile for a big man.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:28 PM on August 28, 2012


Wow, we haven't had a left-field chart topper in a while. Remember Macarena, those dudes were like 50!. Couple years ago we had Gasolina? lol wut? a song about gasoline?
posted by Ad hominem at 8:31 PM on August 28, 2012


when North Korea and South Korea eventually do re-unify, there will be a sizable number of North Koreans whose brains are just going to flat-out melt at the incongruity.

Actually, there's every possibility they've already seen it in the North. As near as we can tell, he North Korean regime's censorship of South Korean and Western media has broken down pretty badly over the past few years as more and more Chinese market traders are allowed to operate in the country - they smuggle in forbidden media whenever they can because it's so high-margin for them.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:44 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ad hominem: "Couple years ago we had Gasolina? lol wut? a song about gasoline?"

If you read the lyrics (with translation), you might find that's not literally what it's about. (What it's actually about is not terribly surprising.)
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:46 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gangnam Style isn't the first viral smash Kpop song, or even the first viral smash Kpop song that sort-of sounds like LMFAO and was produced by Teddy Park of YG Entertainment (who has been working with the artists to adapt the same ultra-mega-popular song into a huge smash hit every six months like clockwork - here's 2NE1's I Am The Best and Big Bang's Fantastic Baby if you missed them the first time).

But of those three acts, which have already gotten a lot of U.S. attention - Pitchfork wrote about 2NE1, Will.i.am worked with them, MTV Iggy called them the best band in the world; Big Bang were crowned Best Worldwide Act at the MTV VMAs and were written up in US and Europe business magazines - Psy, a previous unknown (to the US), is the act the entire Western celebrity world has decided to back.

I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, or anything, but it does make a certain kind of sense. Compared to those other two songs, "Gangnam Style" is a lot more relateable to the average person - it's a song about acting like you are rich, whether or not that's really true, rather than a song by a mega-famous celebrity about being mega-famous (although he actually is one of those, in Korea). In fact, it's actually a criticism of those kinds of videos.

More than that, it's relatable for the average American, who can comfortably put Psy in a couple pre-existing mental boxes: hilarious "not attractive" guys partying hard and getting the girl; funny Asian guys; funny viral videos built around dead-serious funny performances in public places; even subtle social commentary. Bringing Psy over here broadens people's ideas of a viral pop song a little bit, since it's in another language, but not too much, since after all, Psy is singing about how he isn't the rich person he dreams of being. Compare this with GDragon of Big Bang, who currently has a viral song about the exact experience of being (in)famous.

Trying to viral-market 2NE1 or Big Bang over here, particularly those songs, would require a long explanation about what Kpop is and why those artists "really are" famous. This would require the U.S. public to buy into a world were the U.S. is not the center of all pop music production "that matters". Plus, you'd have to establish that Asian women can be badass and Asian men can be attractive, which would just blow people's minds!

So yeah, I think there is quite a bit of commercial calculation behind the media push of this song. Which doesn't mean it's not a great great song worthy of being spread, just that there is a reason it was thing song, and not some other one.

TL;DR: Psy is great, this is a commercial move by US celebrities and media outlets.
posted by subdee at 8:48 PM on August 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


"Couple years ago we had Gasolina? lol wut? a song about gasoline?"

Yeeeeaaaaah, you need to think about the symbolism. One one hand we have a long tube, that pumps fluid, wielded by a male. On the other hand, we have a young female who wants that male to pump said fluid into her "tank".
posted by sideshow at 8:51 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Damn guys, I knew that Gasolina was about. I heard it 50 times a day too.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:54 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder if anyone loves Jar Jar enough to do it Gungan Style.
No?

(For what it's worth, I had no idea that stupid gasoline song was not about the refined petroleum product. And now it's fighting with this song in some sort of uncanny Jive Bunny mega-mix of hate).
posted by Mezentian at 9:00 PM on August 28, 2012


Americans find chubby Asian jesters to be hilarious

Fixed that for you.

Stop making every goddamn thing about race already. Don't you think it's a bit of a sweeping statement that (for the purpose of this statement, I will clarify non-Asian, because there are Asians who are also Americans) Americans only like something in order to make fun of another race or nation of people? What about non-Asian, non-American people who like that song? Do they only like it because he's a chubby Asian? One of my In-Laws from Hong Kong, who also happens to be American, likes the song. Is she making fun of the guy for being a fat Asian?

The song is catchy, and fun. It's liked for those reasons.
posted by Malice at 9:01 PM on August 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Since we're still discussing Gangnam Style (which, let's be clear, I LOVE), it's worth linking to this blog post from Kogi BBQ (the LA Korean taco truck) which rightly hates on paid twitter followers and does a nice job of looking at that video with the perspective of a Korean-American who already trades on mashing up Korean and American (well, North American) culture.
posted by sleeping bear at 9:22 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


What about the fact that, video aside, "Gangnam Style" is just a good pop song? I mean, yeah, the video is a bit odd. My brother is a big k-pop fan and he says that this is just the way Psy is; I don't know enough about the artist or Korean pop culture to comment on what the video might represent, but I suspect that it wouldn't be quite the viral hit if the song wasn't so damn catchy.
posted by asnider at 9:24 PM on August 28, 2012


As an aside, Gasolina may also have political overtones. America's never ending thirst for oil and increased militarism caused the US to despoil a large part of Puerto Rico with spent DU shells and you guessed it, spilled gasoline, oil and solvents. Although the US Navy withdrew from Vieques in 2003 the full environmental impact of weapons testing on Vieques is not know. The song is sung by a man calling himself Daddy Yankee, Cooincidence? I think not. clearly representing American paternalistic power. To my ears, the song is an indictment of US policy and an anthem of Puerto Rican Independence.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:26 PM on August 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sleeping bear, that Korean taco truck (whut?) blog post helped me understand this so much.
posted by Mezentian at 9:27 PM on August 28, 2012


Enh. The first time I saw the video it struck me how much Psy resembles both Ken Jeong and William Hung.

I don't know that I think people's enjoyment of the video is racist, but I definitely think those kinds of portrayals of Asian men in comedy paved the way for the popularity of "Gangnam Style" in the US and make it a little more sticky than other K-Pop acts.

And I say that as someone who fucking loves "Gangnam Style".

(FWIW I mostly just think the song is catchy as fuck. I like it almost as much performed by Hyun-A whereas I don't like any of 4minute's other stuff, and I like it better than any of the videos subdee linked. I like Psy's other videos OK, but "Gangnam Style" is just a fucking crazy infectious pop song.)
posted by Sara C. at 9:27 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the Youtube description:

"The song is characterized by its strongly addictive beats and lyrics, and is thus certain to penetrate the foundations of modern philosophy."

Yes.
posted by ivanosky at 9:28 PM on August 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah but asnider, there are a lot of catchy Kpop songs. There's even a lot of catchy Kpop songs that have that Jumbotron-ready feeling. The question is why this one and not some other one.
posted by subdee at 9:29 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Ramblings Girls" perhaps not the best example (for one it's off their Japanese album), but that's a playlist a linked above.
posted by subdee at 9:32 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Southern K-pop appears to be so much better than North K-pop.
posted by Mezentian at 9:33 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Part of the reason it's so catchy is that it sounds vaguely like LMFAO and vaguely like "Are You Ready for This?" but is different enough to still be interesting. (And Psy is awesome and masterfully stomps all over the song with his expressive radio announcer voice, of course.) "Catchy" isn't a isolated quality, removed from all over qualities. It gets a boost if you already have a positive association with some part of the melody, voices, or production.
posted by subdee at 9:35 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason it's so catchy is that it sounds vaguely like LMFAO and vaguely like "Are You Ready for This?" but is different enough to still be interesting. (And Psy is awesome and masterfully stomps all over the song with his expressive radio announcer voice, of course.) "Catchy" isn't a isolated quality, removed from all over qualities. It gets a boost if you already have a positive association with some part of the melody, voices, or production.

This, I think, is spot on. Part of what makes this song, to me at least, a lot catchier than the "Rambling Girls" track you linked to (which does absolutely nothing for me) is the recognizability of it. It sounds like a lot of Western pop songs, despite being sung in Korean. The fact that it's a rap song probably doesn't hurt, given just how much hip hop has influenced pretty much all popular music in the West.
posted by asnider at 9:39 PM on August 28, 2012


Speaking of LMFAO (which I only know from parody versions and some ads for Big Brother) but does this not use the exact same squeeky noise?

Is that this summer's new autotune?
posted by Mezentian at 9:40 PM on August 28, 2012


think there's more to the appeal of this video with American audiences than Ken Jeong/William Hung-styled minstrelry, but it is still pretty unfortunate that there's a lack of portrayals of strong, masculine Asian men in Hollywood and other American media. A couple of basketball players and asexual martial artists aren't enough.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:47 PM on August 28, 2012


Psy's audio influence is indeed LMFAO (which, according to anecdotal evidence from one of the prior MeFi threads, is huge in South Korea), and his visual influence in this video includes Austin Powers, Lady Gaga, and Charlie Sheen. Definitely a no-brainer cross-cultural hit.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:49 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Mezentian Yes, the squeaky sound is exactly the same, but that's mostly because "BIGSTAR - Hot Boy" is an utterly shameless song that piggybacks on so many current trends and recycles so much of the songwriter's previous work that it would be exhausting to write out a complete list. (In fact I have a soft spot for writer/producer Brave Brothers for just this reason: he is shameless. :p BTW here's my my favorite Brave Brothers song, which is like the Rolling Stones' "Missing You" re-written as a reggae-disco pop song.)

@asnider Lots of Kpop sounds like Western pop, too! And pretty much all of has at least a little bit of rap in it. (Or "rap" depending on how much of a purist you are. Though I suppose lately the rap bridge is vying for popularity with the "Skrillex-style dubstep breakdown" bridge - or maybe, even, the "Korean traditional drumming" bridge.) Anyway, it's similar, but just different enough to be interesting.
posted by subdee at 9:56 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Q; What's special about Psy?
A: I like the way he moves.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:57 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


>>it is still pretty unfortunate that there's a lack of portrayals of strong, masculine Asian men in Hollywood and other American media. A couple of basketball players and asexual martial artists aren't enough.

Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat... who are the asexual martial artist you meant?
posted by now i'm piste at 10:09 PM on August 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Or it could just be timing, I guess. The interest is there, and then along comes this song and video that are fun and funny, and easy to bring over, exactly at the right moment.
posted by subdee at 10:19 PM on August 28, 2012


Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat...

Don't forget about Donnie Yen.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:22 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Asexual in the sense that you never see them have romantic or sexual relationships in movies, unlike 'traditional' male leads in Hollywood. Are there any examples? Jet Li hugging Aaliyah in Romeo Must Die?

Donnie Yen hasn't really cracked into Hollywood yet. Give him time. And again, I'm distinguishing between American portrayals and movies from the rest of the world.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:24 PM on August 28, 2012


Psy's viral success in America doesn't seem that strange to me. Americans find chubby Asian jesters to be hilarious - think about William Hung.

Yeah, I agree with Malice here – race has nothing to do with this, and nobody I know is laughing AT Psy. What makes this successful, I suspect, is a combination of brilliant video editing, a few catchy hooks, and a good attitude. But the pacing and editing of the video contributes MASSIVELY.

The kid/short guy doing the dance at the beginning, followed by the quick shots of Psy outside that symbolic penis-building, followed by the strut towards the fire extinguisher, is a set of immediate and hugely enticing shots. There's a lot going on in this video, and – unlike in most music videos, period – it's all really compelling. The last video I can remember seeing that was this smart was Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. (LMFAO's are decent and have a few good payoffs, but there's a difference between a good video and a video in which every shot is good).

The catchy hooks help propel the song, as does Psy's flow – it's rhythmically and melodically compelling. And the attitude, which flaunts wealth to make fun of it, simultaneously appeals to people who find pop culture's wealth obsession enjoyable and the people who find it ridiculous/outright detestable. So by the END of the video, there's plenty of reason to pass the song forward. Some of the later sequences are less outright attention-grabby, and more subtly enjoyable. Things like the strutting from the explosion, or Psy's screaming at that woman's blue butt, are more blatant than, say, that dance with the dude in the awesome yellow suit, or with the woman at the end, but those dances are pretty terrific.

But none of that stuff matters to somebody who's never seen the video before, and I find that plenty of film students/experienced film professionals make the mistake of considering the nonlinear whole of a film over the linear experience of watching it for the first time. These editors don't make that mistake: they've very carefully put together a video which caught my attention as a first-time watcher almost immediately, before then giving me a hell of a lot more that I found satisfactory. Meanwhile, the song is damn good, and its attitude simultaneously makes me feel "not lied to" (because of the portrayal of wealth/hot people that blatantly self-refers to media obsession over wealth/hot people) and "superior" (because these obsessions are made fun of, rather than upheld as good).*

I think it is a huuuge mistake to try to understand how popular culture emerges without focusing on the physical details of the products being spread about. We make so many assumptions about social trends and national psyches that can be more easily explained by, good product goes viral, bad product is ignored. Korean videos must overcome several obstacles to succeed in other countries – namely, the language barrier, and also the cultural "weirdness" barrier that makes us write off media we don't understand – but Gangnam Style overcomes each, first by creating English hooks that are easy to understand/sing along to, and second by choosing settings which are fairly universal (short dancing kids = cool, singing on toilet = we all do it, pimpin' with sexy ladies = deserves fire extinguisher).

* Bad Romance did the same thing, actually, by portraying its music-video-outfitted star as a prostitute for a man's gaze, while simultaneously injecting enough strangeness that the subject was funny rather than ax-grindy.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:24 PM on August 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


The whole video is pure comedy. In the first couple minutes you see Him lounging on what looks like a beach, only to have the camera pull out and see that he is in a playground sandbox. A bit later he is doing a standard music video move, running into the wind, only to be pelted with crumpled up newspapers and plastic bags. Once the fake snow starts, it fills his mouth and he forced to sing with a mouth full of fake snow.

If he is a jester, it is because he wants people to laugh. The video seems to be a meditation on how far reality is from appearance. He briliiantly uses comedy to make his point.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:35 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


No strong Asian men have made it in American movies? You have never seen Brother. Kissing the wimmins isn't the only sign of masculinity.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:42 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


also the cultural "weirdness" barrier that makes us write off media we don't understand

Funny, my barrier to enjoying most k-pop is that it's too slick and bland, just like most mediocre American pop. I don't really see the "cultural weirdness" aspect of it at all, aside from the fact that they're not singing in English and the people in the videos aren't white.

It's maybe a teensy bit edgy for American audiences (lots of hip hop and goth/emo aesthetics), but not really.

I actually think Gangnam Style is a lot weirder than other k-pop, which is why I like it. Just like I like Lady Gaga more than other American pop stars because of the weirdness factor. I don't know that Psy is "culturally" weird in any specifically Korean way, I just like the wacky swagger thing.

Then again, I live in New York where I'm constantly exposed to cultural diversity, including hearing non-American music all the time. K-pop is a lot more like American pop than Reggaeton is like American pop, for example. So maybe there is something really foreign about k-pop I'm not seeing.
posted by Sara C. at 10:54 PM on August 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sarah C., I'm pretty sure you didn't mean it that way, but your comment reads to me like "Enh, Asians all look the same to me". Because these three men don't look similar to me at all. Except for the fact that they are Asian and at varying ranges of chubby, I don't see any resemblance.
posted by Alnedra at 11:29 PM on August 28, 2012


I will say this, after too many comments about this already. I turned down a job offer complete with paid-for nice apartment in the ludicrously expensive Gangnam back in 2003, in favour of the job I currently have, down south in the sticks.

Don't regret it for an instant. Gangnam's a nice place to visit, but I sure as hell don't want to live there. But I am not a city person in general, so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:34 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


To contextualize, this from here:
It’s a 15-square-mile neighborhood whose astronomically pricy real estate makes it more valuable than all of Busan, Korea’s second-largest city, put together. All of Seoul’s major transportation lines converge there. All of Korea’s biggest and most influential companies are headquartered there. All of the wealthiest scions of Korea’s superclans — the families that run the egregiously powerful conglomerates known as chaebol, which include global brands like Samsung and Hyundai — live there. And, as Hong points out, 41 percent of attendees to prestigious Seoul University come from Gangnam: “Imagine if 41 percent of Harvard University undergrads came from a single neighborhood,” she says. This, in a country with the third-highest level of income disparity among industrialized nations, according to the OECD.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:36 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alnedra, sorry, I didn't mean that they all three physically look like each other. It's mostly the phenomenon of the chubby Asian guy with more swagger than he "deserves". Though Ken Jeong is actually thinner than I remembered.

And, no, not all Asians look alike.
posted by Sara C. at 12:10 AM on August 29, 2012


Interesting, stav! Here's a blurb from a realty site (warning: autoplay news video in top right sidebar): Gangnam Style: Posh Apartment in Seoul's Trendiest District On Sale (PHOTOS)
Although South Korea's real estate market suffered a drop this year as a result of the economy, Gangnam's apartment prices keep on rising, especially this past month -- likely influenced by the sudden phenomenon of the song "Gangnam Style", which has put the trendy Seoul district in the global conversation.
So the subversive poking-fun-at-the-super-wealthy thing has actually shored up the investment value of their property. buh. [insert a certain song by Alanis Morissette here.]
posted by taz at 12:25 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't like this kind of music at all. Not even remotely. And this guy FASCINATES me. I am hypnotized by him. Whatever voodoo magic he has perfected is working, I am amazed by him and want him to be successful.
posted by braksandwich at 1:17 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, another hater here who doesn't buy the "Western audiences just can't grok the nuances of K-pop." 99% of it is simply over-produced crap. Throw in the fact that the management companies are exploitative as hell and it's an open secret that you have to screw your way into a decent production deal, before or after having extensive plastic surgery, and, well, it's pathetic in the truest sense of the word.

PSY is awesome because a) he's obese and ancient by Kpop standards and b) has a sense of humor that is sorely lacking in most Kpop (although I like Dynamic Duo). Also, he's been busted for marijuana which, by Korean standards, makes him a fucking outlaw on par with Dillinger.

So keep on horse-dancin' you chubby funster.
posted by bardic at 1:32 AM on August 29, 2012 [13 favorites]


PSY is awesome because a) he's obese and ancient by Kpop standards and b) has a sense of humor that is sorely lacking in most Kpop (although I like Dynamic Duo). Also, he's been busted for marijuana which, by Korean standards, makes him a fucking outlaw on par with Dillinger.

So keep on horse-dancin' you chubby funster.


Truth.

the management companies are exploitative as hell and it's an open secret that you have to screw your way

Indeed. The horror stories about young women in the entertainment industries here (including, famously, a female news anchor, as I recall) being forced to perform sexual favors, not only for their managers, but for random old powerful fuckers with their hands on the keys to money or access, squeeze out around the edges with depressing regularity, even with the institutional societal shame factor to discourage whistle-blowing. It's horrific, and makes me cringe all the harder to see those girls in the music videos grinding out their faux-hypersexuality.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:49 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


All I know is that I want to perfect the little hop/skip dance he does at about 1:26 in the video and make it my sole method of locomotion everywhere.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:32 AM on August 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


it is still pretty unfortunate that there's a lack of portrayals of strong, masculine Asian men in Hollywood and other American media. A couple of basketball players and asexual martial artists aren't enough.

Don't forget: Daniel Dae Kim.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:54 AM on August 29, 2012


but it is still pretty unfortunate that there's a lack of portrayals of strong, masculine Asian men in Hollywood and other American media.

At least everyone can watch Wong Kar-Wai films to their heart's content.
posted by ersatz at 4:03 AM on August 29, 2012


think there's more to the appeal of this video with American audiences than Ken Jeong/William Hung-styled minstrelry

I cannot believe Bobby Lee (whom I could totally see standing in for the elevator guy at 1:55) hasn't come up yet. If MADtv were still around, I could totally see him doing a "parody" where he filled every single role onscreen.
posted by psoas at 4:51 AM on August 29, 2012


and now I can totally see I need to expand my vocabulary. totally.
posted by psoas at 4:53 AM on August 29, 2012


When Koreans speak of Gangnam they are not restricting it to just Gangnam-gu. Especially when speaking of educational attainments, such as the percentage of attendees at the SKY universities (Seoul, Korea, and Yonsei), what is being spoken of is the school district overseen by the Gangnam District Office of Education, which encompasses Gangnam-gu and Seocho-gu. The reputation of this "Gangnam School District 8" has been one of the major drivers of residential real estate prices in Gangnam.

This blog post has a good explanation of how Gangnam came to be what it is today.

As a Gangnam native, I am rather sad about the Gangnam hate expressed by some here.
posted by needled at 6:27 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've kind of developed a taste for Kpop after watching a lot of Starcraft tournaments. This song is easily the best k pop song I've heard so far. Solid production values without a surplus of cheese.
posted by empath at 7:43 AM on August 29, 2012


Does anyone have a transliteration of the lyrics? I'm interested in how some of the words are pronounced.
posted by desjardins at 11:23 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Funny, my barrier to enjoying most k-pop is that it's too slick and bland, just like most mediocre American pop.

Exactly. South Korea has managed to refine the boy/girl group to Platonic perfection and build a machine that churns out one exquisitely-crafted mediocre group after another. There's fantastic music from Korea (Pastel Music is a fantastic record label with a number of great artists, Jaurim, Winterplay, ), but it's not from Kpop. Which is why this:

Pitchfork wrote about 2NE1, Will.i.am worked with them, MTV Iggy called them the best band in the world; Big Bang were crowned Best Worldwide Act at the MTV VMAs and were written up in US and Europe business magazines

Is mind-blowing. Big Bang is just another in the line of Shinhwa, H.O.T, Fly to the Sky, CN Blue, 2PM, U-KISS, SHINee, etc. It would be like Pitchfork writing glowingly about the latest successor to 'N Sync.

Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat... who are the asexual martial artist you meant?

Those guys. I think a lot of people in this thread are misunderstanding the point made by Apocryphon and are actually reinforcing the point with "Oh yeah, what about [insert martial artist]!"

The point isn't that Asians aren't shown as being tough, but that they are portrayed as asexual: they aren't romantic or sexual like white leads are shown as. The ninja/martial artist is a stereotype they get pegged as, but it's always as an exotic force of power and never sexual at all.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:35 AM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


OPPA GOTHAM STYLE

GOTHAM STYLE!
posted by homunculus at 12:58 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Something else in the LMFAO style. I believe this counts as a Kpop group, though they're with a smaller label.
posted by subdee at 1:56 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disappointed by the kneejerk "nuh-uh racism!" responses. I never said it was the only reason that Americans enjoy the video. I said that I think it's why this video and NO OTHER catchy K-pop hip hop video got virally huge.

I then went on to mention a second reason that has nothing to do with racism. Which should imply that I don't think 'racism' is the only reason. Just one of them. Life is complex.
posted by muddgirl at 3:02 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


As long as I'm sharing flashmob-type Kpop videos, here's another two from earlier in the year:

Psy - Right Now
Wonder Girls - Like This

Gangnam Style was conceived as the exact opposite of all those "cool, fancy" Kpop music videos shot on sound stages with paid actors, but there was already a kind of general knowledge within the industry, I think, that what people would really like to see (but weren't seeing, in Korea) was more natural settings and more relatable performances. So I think that's kind of the push behind Gangnam Style.
posted by subdee at 8:36 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


what is being spoken of is the school district overseen by the Gangnam District Office of Education, which encompasses Gangnam-gu and Seocho-gu. The reputation of this "Gangnam School District 8" has been one of the major drivers of residential real estate prices in Gangnam.

Exactly true. But the whole schooling thing is not so much a driver, I don't think, as a copilot of the Gangnam Clout.

As a Gangnam native, I am rather sad about the Gangnam hate expressed by some here.


Hey, I like Gangnam better than almost any other part of Seoul. Which isn't saying much, I admit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:51 PM on August 29, 2012


This. Thank you, Internet.
posted by Wordshore at 4:53 AM on August 31, 2012 [6 favorites]


The PSYning
posted by homunculus at 12:52 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This shows a Psy concert. Looks like it must be one hell of a fun event, and that Psy has a fantastic sense of humour.
posted by davidpriest.ca at 1:12 PM on September 1, 2012


GANGNAM STYLE on CHATROULETTE
posted by homunculus at 2:12 PM on September 4, 2012


PSYgns with Bieber's management, plans for VMA appearance. Oh man, that had better not be a shark I see in the distance ...
posted by maudlin at 2:43 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason it's so catchy is that it sounds vaguely like LMFAO and vaguely like "Are You Ready for This?" but is different enough to still be interesting.
The modulated saws / PWM sound reminds me of Benny Benassi's proto-brostep sound.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:51 PM on September 5, 2012


Photos Document Gangnam’s Change in Style
posted by homunculus at 3:09 PM on September 7, 2012


So I made a mashup, and then ... (via)
posted by maudlin at 4:11 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh noooo
posted by boo_radley at 3:17 PM on September 11, 2012


oh noooo
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on September 11, 2012


Psy Asks El Monte To Rehire Lifeguards Fired For Their Awesome 'Gangnam' Video
posted by homunculus at 10:47 AM on September 16, 2012


And then there is Han Solo...
posted by Wordshore at 2:06 PM on September 22, 2012


So I went to Juan Cole's Informed Consent blog tonight and found Kim Jong Style. I have absolutely nothing else left to say.
posted by maudlin at 9:34 PM on September 23, 2012


Kim Jong Style is illin'.
posted by Mezentian at 5:11 AM on September 24, 2012


Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy made a 'Gangnam Style' video

This is part of a tradition of making funny or parody music videos to run at football games, commonly known as 'Spirit Spots.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:35 PM on September 25, 2012


I'm officially sick of this song.
posted by desjardins at 7:00 AM on September 26, 2012


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