Gangnam Style: Horsing Around Pop Culture

Since the launch of YAM Magazine we’ve been covering world entertainment, including a heavily biased focus towards the Korean music industry, following the spread of its popularity in Europe and Latin America [1][2][3].

With the massive explosion of Psy’s Gangnam Style into the worldwide pop culture scene, I ended up listening to the song for the first time a few days ago despite a couple of my friends promoting the song a lot on Facebook in such an annoying fashion. The end result of this: an unlikely conversation of Kpop between Amy and me, who has had little to no interest in the Kpop music world. Enjoy the conversation!

Rodrigo: Lately, it seems that PSY’s Gangman Style has become a big hit worldwide.
Amy: PSY’s everywhere. He just got nominated for best video at the MTV EMA’s.
Rodrigo: Yeah. Including SNL and teaching Ellen Degeneres and Britney Spears how to do his moves on The Ellen Show [1]. But more importantly, how the hell did a Korean pop song managed to get really huge in the States?
Amy: Well, you tell me. People that don’t really like Kpop seem to like this song… the main opinion seems to be “because the video is hilarious”. But then there’s people overanalyzing it, saying the video is actually making a social commentary. Whats your take on it?
Rodrigo: I avoided it until a few days ago. It’s really catchy and it can be fun at parties if you’re drunk, but it’s also the kind of song I’d hate if it gets overshoved… and a couple of my friends seem highly obsessed with it.

Amy: Would you say it’s the Macarena [MV] of Korean music? A few years after the Macarena, the Latin Wave exploded with Ricky Martin.
Rodrigo: I was thinking about him being the Michel Teló of Korean music for a recent comparsion, but Teló is a different issue. I mean, Teló got f*cking huge around Latin America, but PSY got a lot bigger in the States.
Amy: Teló didn’t explode into pop culture, though, I don’t think.
Rodrigo: It’s a regional thing. Plus, the English version of his song [MV] literally killed any chance he had to explode worldwide.
Amy: Hahahaha, talk about language ruining a song [1]. Wasn’t there a English version of the Macarena? It was a remix, wasn’t it? xD [MV]
Rodrigo: Youtube comment on the English Macarena video: “This was the Gangam Style of the 90’s
Amy: I still don’t get what the Macarena is about, even though I know the lyrics. No one has sat down to write about a deeper meaning of the song, yet people have written on why they think Psy’s Gangnam Style is not what it seems to be [1]. Do you think there’s a deeper meaning to the song and video and that’s why it’s become so huge?
Rodrigo: I think it’s the dance moves and the English words. “Oppa Gangman Style!” and “Hey, sexy lady!” are easy to say for everyone.
Amy: Like Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Macarena, ah!!
Rodrigo: Yeah.


YAM Magazine contributor, has a B. Sc. degree in Science/Pharmacy and is a very lazy person.

10 Responses

  1. Mirella says:

    Considering I must be one of annoying friends that share all the Gangnam in facebook, yes I did like the song. It was catchy and funny, and that’s how I like my music lately (besides the music I already like or anime songs).
    I think all the social commentary people talk about, it’s mostly for its title, what with Gangnam being the most wealthy district in South Korea. But the lyrics of the song itself is about this (upper-class) guy who tells all what he wants in a (upper-class) woman, and then describes himself as a match for said woman?

    • amy says:

      @Mirella, hahaha and that’s in contrast to Rap and Hip Hop saying that they drink the most expensive booze, drive the coolest cars, but want them hos ? xD

    • Rodrigo says:

      @Mirella, The difference between you and the other friend that posts Gangman Style non-stop is that the other person I know is more of an “Asian pride” type of person and would probably like Gangman Style almost by default. You like it because it’s catchy and funny.

      Checking Facebook at the moment, now there’s like 6 persons that I know who like the GS song.

  2. amy says:

    I forgot to mention that some of the videos that turned “viral” lately have been Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s PONPONPON [MV] as well as Hyuna’s Bubble Pop [MV], but they never made it past the 50M views or never reached the status of “people that don’t listen to it have watched it”

  3. I remember that “Asereje” got quite a bit of airplay on the Latino outlets here in the US, but it never got as big as I heard it got in Europe. I think I saw something about it on the German news (Deutsche Welle)…

    anyways, Gangnam Style is fun and I hope that since it’s intentionally funny, that it doesn’t come across the same mean “make fun of the Asian guy” way as the William Hung business sort of turned out in the USA…

    • Rodrigo says:

      @chrryblssmninja, Aserejé got pretty popular among hispanic countries and Europe, yes. I remember one of my university teachers briefly singing a bit of the song and it was lulzy.

      I have no idea how long Gangman Style’s staying power will last in the States, but it’s catchy right now. Even members of my family talked about it briefly (they know it as “El Baile del Caballo”), and they know jackshit about Kpop (in my case, I am aware of Kpop thanks to YAM’s shoving promotion and talks about it).

      William Hung… lol, I forgot he existed until Amy and I chatted about GS.

  4. Rodrigo says:

    With the 2012 Emmy Awards airing tonight, does anyone thinks that the song will be used somehow and/or the song being danced by anyone? I guess Psy himself could do a cameo and teach it to Jimmy Fallon in the intro segment… or maybe Rex Lee or Ken Jeong imitate Psy.

  1. November 30, 2013

    […] considering most of the world doesn’t care much about Kpop — and it even spanned a conversation about the song between Amy and myself of all […]

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