World domination is a scary thought. What if the Nazi’s had succeeded? What would our world be like? Would I have to wear lederhosen? Would I have a strong proclivity towards bratwurst? All troubling thoughts, but thankfully Hitler’s attempts failed. However, it turns out all he needed for world domination was a pair of specs and the ability to impersonate a jockey. PSY’s ‘Gangnam style’ stormed the planet, going to no.1 in 33 countries, and is already the most viewed video on YouTube, spawning endless parodies – using the internet like a giant Petri dish for zany, high-octane music videos.
‘Gangnam style’ features on PSY’s sixth studio album, ingeniously entitled PSY 6. The thought of a Korean artist having such an impact on not only the music world, but society in general, is something that was totally inconceivable until recent times. Gigging across the country in beat up transit vans is a thing of the past; management and promotion through social networking sites is now the key to success it seems. PSY’s brand of K-pop essentially takes Western music, (most notably LMFAO) and then sticks a huge rocket up its jacksie propelling it to dangerous levels of chaotic energy.
Listening to other infectious pop sensations like ‘call me maybe’ and ‘party rock anthem’ they all make use of heavy pulsating beats, garnished with staccato synth stabs which carry the melody. Although ‘Gangnam style’ is very reminiscent in these respects, its defining feature is of course the trademark dance which all ages seem to have taken to. This Vic Reeves-esque bit of slapstick is ultimately what sells the song, and is indicative of the whole video which mocks the high-flying types who populate the Gangnam district in Seoul. Despite being effectively a joke, Park Jae-sang’s ostentatious suits and specs have made him one of the coolest and most recognisable artists around – probably piping Roy Orbison as the most famous sunglasses wearing singer.
For us Brits it is incredibly rare to hear such a popular song that’s not in English, Ritchie Valens 1958 no.1 “La bamba” being one of the few examples I can think of. Take the line “hey, sexy lady” out of the equation and I have no idea what’s going on. But then again, I don’t need to because there’s a bow-tie wearing Korean bloke parading around with a team of synchronised dancers – and for me that says more than enough.
I can see why some have taken dislike to this viral sensation; it took off instantly, seemingly undermining any serious efforts by musicians in favour of sheer stupidity. It’s quite overwhelming when you think of the power social media possesses, just a few fashionable re-tweets is enough to turn a complete unknown into the talk of coffee shops all around the UK. But we don’t always want to cry ourselves to sleep listening to Adele do we? In times of austerity sometimes all you want to do is run around like a complete lunatic – and now it seems we have the perfect excuse. Just like the ‘Thriller’ video blew people’s minds, it appears we may have the same thing on our hands again. But could this harmless piece of YouTube royalty outshine MJ? …now there’s a scary thought.
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