September 28, 2012 by marissapags

If you have not seen or heard of this song then it seems you have been living under a rock for the past month. This Korean pop single sung by an artist called PSY has infiltrated popular culture with its catchy beat, humour and colorful and quirky film clip.  The clip has over 200 million views on You Tube and is being furiously shared by people and celebs like Katy Perry, Niki Minaj and Kanye West (just to name a few). Mainstream radio stations have been belting out this global hit day and night to the point where the lyrics have been imbedded into my brain, even though the song is in Korean. The infamous dance moves in the music video have had even greater success and popularity than the song itself. These crazy horse-riding/Fresh Prince of Bel-Air style dance moves have now become recognized and emulated on a global basis.

Gangnam dance!

Flash mobs all over the world are breaking out with the Gangnam style dance and an incredible number of You Tube videos are circulating the web of people attempting the new craze, there are even tutorials designed to teach you exactly how to nail the comical dance number! Not to mention numerous television shows such as the Today Show and the Footy Show giving these quirky dance moves a shot. Some have even referred to the song as the new “Macarena”. Which I completely disagree with because there is no way in hell you will see me doing that ^ dance at my wedding. And of course, when something becomes fiercely popular the memes start rolling out.  For those who are unaware of what a meme is, it’s basically absurd jokes, bizarre and quirky ideas, certain behaviour, humorous thoughts, puns and witticisms that are smacked on a picture and spread through the web, in particular forums and social network sites. The abundant array of gangnam style memes are popping up everywhere in the world wide web.

According to Wikipedia Gangnam style is a hip and trendy lifestyle taken up by the fashion conscious folks in South Korea. The song is basically praising the hip and beautiful lifestyle of the men and women who embrace the chic Gangnam style culture. (Wikipedia). There really isn’t much meaning to the song, and the lyrics (when translated into English) are silly and simple. But the energy of the film clip and the upbeat rhythm mesmerizes audiences and leaves them saying “what the hell did I just watch?”, pushing their curiosity senses to watch it again and again until the song becomes pretty damn catchy. Well this is what I experienced anyway. I remember the first time I heard the single on the radio and turning it off after the chorus wondering why on earth this foreign song was being played in the first place. My immediate thought was “Is this a joke?” perhaps a parody or pun of some sort that is famous in Asia. Until the next day when to my astonishment I saw the colorful, outlandish film clip being repeatedly played on the music video channels. That’s when it dawned on me and I realized “Dear god, this is real”.  Now, there is not a day that goes by where gangnam style is not played on the radio, shown on TV, discussed on Facebook or imitated by my friends. It is popular culture at it’s very best. A silly Korean song with some whacky dance moves has penetrated the media and has become yet another popular cultural phenomena. Joining the other viral hits like the “Friday, gotta get down on friday” song (

The craze will thrive and flourish and grow amongst the mass culture. Stupid T-shirts will be made and merchandise will be produced and the man who sings this song will acquire ephemeral world wide acclaim and fame – even though he has been in the Korean music scene for years and has only  recently hit the western culture limelight. Gangnam style has drawn in the masses with its distinct sound and quirky identity and those are have never heard or seen this song are the outsiders, the minority, unaware and maybe unconcerned with the fads and trends of modern pop culture. And although gangnam style will continue to bombard our brains over the next month eventually the craze will gradually fade out and become perhaps another addition to the brewing mass of white noise on the internet like many other crazes that rise to popularity. Or perhaps the new dance routine to emerge from this song might leave a significant mark on our culture. Maybe in years to come we might still be breaking out in the gangnam style dance at parties, maybe even weddings! Who knows. For the time being gangnam style continues to saturate our day to day lives if we like it or not. It’s pop culture at its peak and even though the media is pumping the life out of it, it still makes me a little bit happy every time it comes on.


Wikipedia 2012, Viewed September 9th 2012

Youtube 2012, viewed September 9th 2012


One thought on “GANGNAM STYLE

  1. unirewritten says:

    I think the most interesting thing about Gangnam Style is how what should be a strong language barrier doesn’t at all hinder this song from it’s popularity around the world. It even made it into the charts in UK, US and Australia which is phenomenal considering the only words in English are: “Hey, sexy lady!”

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