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Whishful gallop Gangnam style

by das monde Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 02:35:46 AM EST

A big Youtube sensation this summer has been the music video "Gangnam style" by the Korean rapper PSY.

He is not a usual K-pop act, being 34 and chubby. But he likes to entertain, and now he became the first Korean pop artist to break through in the US.

So first, enjoy:

Here is a bit of lyrics (from below-the-fold to this youtube video):

A girl who is warm and humanle during the day
A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist

I'm a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey...

Is there more to this hilarity? Surely, there is.

Gangnam is the posh Seoul neighborhood, the summit of highest Korean affluence dreams. That kind of neighborhood.

Let me switch now to a lazy quote mode, citing this The Atlantic article.

As it says, Korea has not had a long history of nuanced satire. But:

One of the first things Hong pointed to in explaining the video's subtext was, believe it or not, South Korea's sky-high credit card debt rate. In 2010, the average household carried credit card debt worth a staggering 155 percent of their disposable income (for comparison, the U.S. average just before the sub-prime crisis was 138 percent). There are nearly five credit cards for every adult. South Koreans have been living on credit since the mid-1990s, first because their country's amazing growth made borrowing seem safe, and then in the late 1990s when the government encouraged private spending to climb out of the Asian financial crisis [...]

Gangnam, Hong said, is a symbol of that aspect of South Korean culture. The neighborhood is the home of some of South Korea's biggest brands, as well as $84 billion of its wealth, as of 2010. That's seven percent of the entire country's GDP in an area of just 15 square miles. A place of the most conspicuous consumption, you might call it the embodiment of South Korea's one percent [...]

"I think some of you may be wondering why he's making such a big deal out of coffee, but it's not your ordinary coffee," U.S.-based Korean blogger Jea Kim wrote at her site, My Dear Korea [...] "In Korea, there's a joke poking fun at women who eat 2,000-won (about $2) ramen for lunch and then spend 6,000 won on Starbucks coffee." They're called Doenjangnyeo, or "soybean paste women" for their propensity to crimp on essentials so they can over-spend on conspicuous luxuries, of which coffee is, believe it or not, one of the most common [...]

The video is "a satire about Gangnam itself but also it's about how people outside Gangnam pursue their dream to be one of those Gangnam residents without even realizing what it really means," Kim explained to me when I got in touch with her. Koreans "really wanted to be one of them," but she says that feeling is changing, and "Gangnam Style" captures people's ambivalence.

"Koreans have been kind of caught up in this spending to look wealthy, and Gangnam has really been the leading edge of that," Hong said. "I think a lot of what [Psy] is pointing out is how silly that is. The whole video is about him thinking he's a hotshot but then realizing he's just, you know, at a children's playground, or thinking he's playing polo or something and realizes he's on a merry-go-round."

If this is too serious for this time, enjoy PSY making an appearance at an American baseball game:

My Singing/Composing Daughter currently has a co-written song on a hit album by a Korean singer. I've been trying to work out the potential income for her, but the Korean music market and its business practices remain opaque.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 03:08:29 AM EST

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 03:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say, it will be interesting to see the song's impact. The European side is visible and rather good, there should be a Korean niche for that.

K-pop is a big thing even in Japan, though the audience there follows English with more difficulty.

by das monde on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 05:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know a little bit about K-Pop, and I've read that quite a lot of songs come from Scandinavian songwriters and producers. Are you allowed to name the Korean singer you're referring to?
by Gag Halfrunt on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 04:24:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't say the singer's name, but the originating Finnish publishing company is connected to producer Risto Asikainen. He's had connections in the Korean pop scene for some years - and a good few hits in Finland.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 04:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It turns out that writing credits can be looked up on the Korean Music Copyright Association website, so it can't be much of a secret...
by Gag Halfrunt on Thu Sep 6th, 2012 at 05:09:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the information is available - but I promised not to reveal the name in Finland. So that's what I will do ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Sep 6th, 2012 at 05:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if one doesn't get any context, that video is pleasantly hilarious :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 03:22:43 AM EST
Having watched some of PSY's other videos, he is seriously good at dancing, but especially "finny" dancing.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 06:10:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is "finny" dancing?

There are some funny youtube video reactions as well.

by das monde on Fri Aug 24th, 2012 at 10:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny with typo :-)

It was an CNN, too, but watch it only if you must:

For me the above exemplifies everything that's wrong with US news media today:

  • the editorial policy is to jump on the bandwagon if something is already popular in the web
  • it's not about presenting the news, it's about the vanity of news presenters, with awful obviousness
  • they have to pretend interest in the news item, with horrible acting
  • they have to pretend to be "in the know" regarding the subject, with horrible acting, but have no clue and haven't done proper research in truth (the second woman claims she saw Gangnam Style 15 times but still believes it's about how pretty Gangnam girls are)

(And before anyone would think to look down on US media: our media people are doing their best to copy US media people.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 03:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN is unwatchable. Even if you wish to see something.
by das monde on Sat Aug 25th, 2012 at 08:42:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm new to this phenomenon of "YouTube reaction" to music videos, too... this one is interesting:

"His swag is literally off the charts. Justin Bieber: <hand held at nose level> – him: <doing upwards salute with hand>"

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 12:57:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only for the fans here, a party in Gangnam:

Here is (presumably) the same event from audience cam.

A brief interview with PSY

And here is an older flash performance of PSY:

by das monde on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 12:58:52 AM EST
the party video (at the Gangnam U-bahn station) includes a dancer in red hair and a blue mini-Rock who will be a star in her own right.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 08:30:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She's already one: while browsing YouTube, I found she's Hyuna, a member of the Korean girl band 4Minute who also went solo. Here is she outdoing Shakira:

There is also a Hyuna version of Gangnam Style where she uses a pitched voice to play a Gangnam girl (making many a non-Korean YouTube commenter think she can't sing):

According to Wikipedia, other Korean celebs in the Gangnam Style video are two comedians (the yellow dress guy in the dance duel scene and the dry-humping guy in the lift scene), and two members of a boy band (dressed as old men playing a board game who get blown up behind PSY).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 12:38:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Unfortunately..." blah blah blah... frickin' Germany.

But the videos that Germany allowed me to see were fun. Thanks!

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 07:04:43 AM EST

Will HongDae style work?

by das monde on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 10:00:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 06:16:06 AM EST

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