Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gangnam Style, Explained


http://twitter.com/psy_oppa


If you have any sort of contact with the outside world pop culture these days, you will have undoubtedly run across the smokin'-hot K-pop (Korean pop music) hit, Gangnam Style by Korean pop artist Psy.  The first time I ran across it (compliments of Son #3, home on a weekend pass from the Korean Army) I thought it was a catchy, quirky little viral video that would certainly appeal to those of us who live - or have lived - in Korea (particularly Seoul) but not much else.  When Son#3 assured me that it had gone viral across the US, I still took it with a grain of salt.

Less than a week later, I ran across a video link on FaceBook posted by a friend in the US, followed quickly by many other videos, links, and memes testifying to the growing popularity of the trend. After I saw Psy's performance on the SNL season premiere, however, I had to admit that Gangnam Style really was the international sensation Son#3 had claimed.

By now, most people probably know that Gangnam is a posh, high-rent district in Seoul.  But many of the other 'inside' jokes and subtleties of the video can be easily lost on those who don't speak Korean - including yours truly.  So when I ran across this fabulous post on Gangnam Style written by Hails over at her wonderful blog Coffee Helps, I knew I had to share it with the world - or, at least, my little part of it.

Hails does a great job of explaining some of the language in the video and - best of all - the tongue-in-cheek fun that Psy is poking at Gangnam's style and culture.  She also very accurately conveys the excitement - and maybe a tiny bit of battle fatigue - that we here in Korea are experiencing now that a local boy has made good, positioned as he is at #1 on iTunes at the moment.

If you don't know who Psy is, this segment from ABC's 'Nightline' provides a good overview:






14 comments:

Trish @ Mums Gone To... said...

We heard this on the radio last week when we were in the car. Rory told us what it was and it has now become Dougie's new catchphrase which is a nightmare because when he gets a ditty in his head he drives us all insane, and usually gets the words wrong.

MsCaroline said...

But aren't *you* the one who gets the words wrong? I recall reading a hilarious post in which you were trying to get Rory to help you figure out the name or lyrics of a song or group. At least with this one there are really only a few words that English speakers can really repeat, and they're hard to get wrong!

Almost American said...

Thanks for that - it explains a lot - I think almost all the Korean kids I taught at boarding school in the US came from Gangnam!

MsCaroline said...

AA - that would not surprise me at all!

BavarianSojourn said...

Thank you for that... I had been wondering! :)

MsCaroline said...

@Emma - So glad I could be of service! ; )

Heather Van Deest said...

Glad to read about this, with two young ones, I tend to be rather uninformed about all the trends!

nappy valley girl said...

Funnily enough just had to write up something for work about Gangnam Style, so your post is very timely!

Karen said...

Despite 3 teenagers I am clueless. Of course, my teens are stuck on Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Dr. Who at the moment. Nothing else matters! But....I have new students who are a bit more "high functioning" and teenagers at the same time so I appreciate you cluing me in! Hope all is well with you, Carolyne!!!

Michelloui said...

My family has recently been introduced to this by my 21 year old step-daughter's boyfriend. Now my 14 year old plays it all the time. No, I mean All. The. Time.

But still, I never knew much about Korea and now I've had a little insight into the culture. The biyfriend told us a little about the background, but I shall click on the link to read more!

MsCaroline said...

@Heather- so glad I could be of service!

MsCaroline said...

@nvg- Glad to help- it really does seem to be the topic of the moment, doesn't it?

MsCaroline said...

@Karen- yes, things are going well, if a bit busy! As far as your kids' musical taste goes, I think most parents would prefer what yours are listening to?

MsCaroline said...

@Michelloui- yes, it's quite the sensation, isn't it? Here in Korea, you can hardly take a step without running into Psy or a reference to him- just saw him on a poster this morning advertising for a local mobile phone company.