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Oppan Gangnam Style

   
 
  ▲ Korea's the most humorous singer Psy is dancing his signature "Horse Dance" from his title song "Gangnam Style."  
 
You have likely heard of the Korean Singer ‘Psy’. This is because he is renowned for his unusual performances and his eccentric music. A few weeks ago, Psy released his new album and the title song ‘Gangnam Style’ has become popular worldwide. The song has been at the top of many music charts for the last five weeks, which is noticeable considering how fast songs shuffle on the music charts. There have also been several parodies of this song, which are ‘Hongdae Style’ and ‘Daegu Style’, which have changed the location from Gangnam, and show the special features of other places. Gangnam is an area in Seoul, and is regarded as the Beverly Hills of Korea. ‘Gangnam style’ is a song about a guy that appeals to a girl who he fell in love with and tells her about his impressive character.

Let’s analyze the reasons why ‘Gangnam style’ is so popular. The Post interviewed an expert in music. Beginning with the Black Eyed Peas we saw that electronic music could be very successful. The electronic music genre has since become trendy all over the world. Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ similarly follows this trend, and uses electronic beats throughout the song including an accessible melody, which people can easy sing along to. Another reason why the song is popular is because of the so-called ‘horse dance’. The horse dance is the main dance used in the music video of ‘Gangnam Style’. Other dances have also been quite popular for their uniqueness. Take for examples the Macarena of 1996, the shuffle dance of 2010, and today we have the horse dance. Lastly, the music video of ‘Gangnam Style’ is one of the main factors that have contributed to the song’s popularity. The video clip has its share of hilarious moments such as when a small boy dances like the adult Psy, and when Psy walks toward to the camera and a huge amount of fake snow is blasted at him. We can also see sexuality being portrayed in different generations of people starting from young children to older adults. 

It is the mesmerizing points of ‘Gangnam Style’ that has drawn the interests of foreigners. People from all over the world have watched the music video of ‘Gangnam Style’ on YouTube more than 30 million times. Also numerous celebrities, such as T-pain, Josh Groban, and Harry Shum Jr., have mentioned how much they are fascinated by this song on their Twitter pages. Moreover this video has been introduced on CNN’s webpage and a morning show in the United States has mentioned the song. The host of the show even ended the program by mimicking the signature dance of ‘Gangnam Style’, the horse dance.


With the explosive popularity of ‘Gangnam Style’, the Korean wave has suddenly become the hot topic again. The Korean wave is the boom of Korean culture that started in the late 1990’s. At first, a Korean soap opera was introduced in China and it became really popular. After that incident a lot of Korean Soap operas and movies were introduced in the East and Southeast Asia. Today K-pop has become the center of the new Korean wave, and it has influenced not only Asian countries but also European countries and the United States. 

The early Korean wave was about Korean Soap operas and movies. Many Korean Soap operas became popular in Japan, China, Thailand and other countries. A few such dramas were Winter Sonata, A Jewel in the Palace, and Lovers in Paris. The reason why they became so popular is that their storylines gripped the audience and audiences were attracted to the charming qualities of the actors and actresses on the Korea dramas. The most well known example is Winter Sonata, which fascinated Japanese women. After Winter Sonata was broadcast on NHK, which is one of the largest broadcasting stations in Japan, the main characters of the soap opera became very popular. A large number of Japanese women fell in love with the main male character and visited Korea only to see the places where Winter Sonata had been filmed and bought the products that featured Winter Sonata.

The second Korean wave is more focused on K-pop (Korean Pop song). K-pop is mostly composed of idol group singers. They are good-looking, the songs they sing are easy to listen to and sing, and the performances or dances they show are often fascinatingly accurate. These kinds of idol groups are very unusual, thus they became very popular all over the world. The first Korean wave was more focused on Asia; and the second Korean wave was also popular in Europe and the United States. For instance, in June 2011, SM Entertainment hosted a concert in Paris. The concert was very successful and 15000 tickets were sold. In fact it was sold-out within ten minutes. Because of popular demand, SM extended the concert for one more day and the tickets were sold-out again as fast as they were the first time. Today many famous artists are also collaborating with Korean pop stars; Will.I.Am with 2NE1, and Sean Garrett with BOA to name a few.

Psy, on the other hand, does not exactly meet the good-looking attribute of Korean idol singers, nor does he possess their accurate group dances, but he is still unprecedentedly popular. This has helped to break through the negative perception of standardized singers like Korean idols.

Lim Su-mi  chloe90@dongguk.edu

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