WHOOP ‘EM GANGNAM STYLE

PSY up on his horse riding it “Gangnam Style.”

This song needs no more hype, except I can’t stop watching the video. It’s like some zombie infection. Please get it out of my headspace.

At last count it had been viewed 355,235,136 times on YouTube.

I only heard  “Gangnam Style” a couple weeks back and thought it was amusing, especially with the hilarious video that spawned its own dance craze.

There is something oddly interesting about having a window into pop culture in Korea. We don’t see much emanating out of the North or South except bizarre political posturing from Pyongyang, so having a hit like this, especially one that goes viral in the U.S. is epic.

South Korean rapper PSY currently is holding down the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. On September 20, 2012, Guinness World Records recognized “Gangnam Style” as the most “liked” video in YouTube history.

The song title refers to Seoul’s Gangnam District, which exudes a certain hip class that trends towards gauche. That’s part of what’s so ironic about the video. It depicts the same nouveau rich attitudes we’re all used to seeing in our rap culture, but pokes fun at the absurdity of it all. It shows a keen sense of humor, and awareness of American style.

The song deals with a familiar topic, finding the perfect girlfriend, one who knows when to be refined and when to get wild. The chorus, “Oppan Gangnam Style,” translates to “big brother is Gangnam style.” Oppa is a term Korean women use to refer to an older male friend or older brother.

The video shows PSY often well dressed and in unexpected locations around the Gangnam District, rocking this comical horse-riding dance and lassoing his prey. The prototypical American cowboy is wearing sunglasses and going all urban in South Korea.

PSY’s depiction is so non-Gangnam it skewers the individuals he is parodying.

While on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in September, PSY described his dance to the host and fellow guest, Britney Spears as “pretending to bounce like riding on an invisible horse.” Spears was going to remove her high heels to give it a try and PSY kept her from doing so, saying the point was, “to dress classy, and dance cheesy.”

Check out this live version of the song performed before a packed stadium in Seoul, South Korea, which has gotten 16,098,044 views. These kids are losing their minds – it’s so fun to watch them get their freak on.

[PSY – “Gangnam Style” @ Summer Stand Live Concert]

This is a pop culture moment, it’s just so left field for it to come courtesy of Korea.

The beats in this song are infectious. This clearly isn’t my usual cup of tea, but there is something about the video that brings millions back for more. The self-deprecating humor and over-the-top Gangnam style combine for a sublime piece of videography.

There are some comparable aspects to “Gangnam Style” and what we were subjected to by Tag Team and its #2 Billboard Hot 100 single, “Whoomp! (There It Is).” Also, who can forget the crimes against cultural nature committed by the Baha Men when they released the single “Who Let The Dogs Out?” That remains painful, and actually won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2001. Then there is Ricky Martin, who was “Livin’ la Vida Loca” in 1999, and sold over 22 million units.

All these were cultural sensations, but have gone down as some of the most annoying tracks in recorded history. “Gangnam Style” has more going for it than these other examples, but its shelf life is limited, and PSY will join the esteemed company mentioned above any minute now.

These types of mega-hits follow a stock market-like mantra; buy low and sell high, and definitely get off them before the bottom falls out. Don’t get caught rocking it “Gangnam Style” in the local karaoke bar with the whole room growling back at you in animosity. When popularity turns against songs like this they go south fast.

In the meantime I imagine we will see some baseball playoff teams trying to win “Gangnam Style.” Beware of the dance-cam, for it will immortalize that cowboy spirit in fans as they root their teams on to lasso a World Series title.

One thing for sure PSY has made a boatload of cash along the way, and probably had one hell of a good time rocking that booty. Good on you mate! Enjoy the ride.

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