Analyzing Our Hopeless Addiction to PSY – Gangnam Style
About a month ago, my son emailed me the video Psy – Gangnam Style. He did this because he knows my history with high-energy hip-hop/electronica, an essential music genre for anyone who takes roller blading seriously. I used to purchase bootleg tapes in West Hollywood and then roller blade to the tapes all around Santa Monica.
Today, reports from MTV Europe are that “One of the night’s most popular performers was dance sensation Psy with his record-breaking hit “Gangnam Style”, which won Best Video.
With 710,294,710 YouTube hits at the moment, here is that video:
Last night, Fred (aka Mason/Masoninblue) came across this thing and started listening. We both just circled the drain; the thing started growing on us both and just would not stop. Now, just to confess here, I am 52 and he is 65, and we both ordinarily listen to areas of music that are pretty unrelated to this. Psy is a Korean artist, his genre is K-Pop (Korean Popular) and the words are in Korean with just a bit of English. However, Psy has managed to overcome cultural and language barriers, and his in-your-face infectious and sweet nature appeals to everyone, including us.
His flash mobs are epic, spanning from the largest flash mob ever in Paris, to an illegal flash mob in Jakarta, Indonesia with so many people it simply left the authorities helpless, to others in New York, Rome, Los Angeles, and other places.
Our night went like this: Step – Step – Step – Repeat step….Oppan Gangnam Style! I had to stop briefly when I nearly broke my leg, carrying a cup of soda and doing this dance down the steps. It’s probably safer if you’re old to begin with coming up the stairs. As Fred rubbed the sore muscles of his shoulder, he and I both fantasized about some solid plans to take over this staid town we live in, and instigate a memorable flash mob that would be well worth the jail time. While technically not illegal here, you don’t have to do anything illegal here to get arrested nonetheless.
Psy’s live summer stand concert in Korea is my favorite:
I guess it just feels really good to set aside worry or fear or concern about the sadness in the world today and see something that the entire globe can agree on: a cheesy, really fun dance with a catchy tune and words (yes, we’ve got some of the words memorized). The English translation and ‘Romanized’ lyrics are here.
In this interview, Psy explains that he is a father of twins who are six in Korea and four in the US. Psy took some of his musical training at Boston University. When he was discovered by his current US manager, who wanted to sign Psy, Psy wondered why, and suggested that he take the manager to Koreatown and drink instead.
In yet another video that is hilarious, Psy, in a Spider Man outfit, and his dancers, essentially accost people in the streets, winning over their hearts and getting them to dance. The elevator pelvic thrust is fabulous:
Whop, whop, whop, whop, Oppan Gangnam Style!!
Addendum: On Psy’s sunglasses:
Psy’s sunglasses are from French eyewear brand Thierry Lasry. I did find some discrepancy as to whether these were from Garrett Leight (probably because the two brands recently collaborated on a limited edition of sunglasses) but upon some closer inspection they’re definitely from Thierry Lasry. Psy really only goes through two different styles of sunglasses and one pair of swimming goggles, but I still had to do some digging through their collections and Look Books to hunt them down.
The first is Variety 1015 from the opening scene in Psy’s video, as well as in the final scenes with HyunA and the flash mob. This was found in Thierry Lasry’s 2011 collection.