Gangnam Style – how the Internet exploded…again

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Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style? Are you a little lost? With over 110 million views, have you still not heard of ‘gangnam’?

It all began with South Korean pop sensation Park Jaesang, a very unlikely poster boy for pop music. Better know as Psy (short for psycho), this ‘old man’, read 34, has something of a reputation – busted for weed, avoiding the compulsory military service and not good-looking. So what makes him famous?

He is famous for his over the top concert performances, outrageous outfits and his parodies. But he is internationally famous for ‘Gangnam Style’. He’s one of the only K-Pop sensations to have made it in the big time: he’s made it in America, and that’s what counts. Gangnam Style has earned 110 million hits* on YouTube since it released in mid-July and has gone viral – for once I can use that word appropriately.

Even American rapper T-Pain tweeted how amazing the video was, which then was retweeted a further 2,500 times. You get the picture.

But what makes this video incredible?

Its pure Meme potential! We can go into an in-depth look at social commentary on the video but this is a Meme Gold Mine. Gangnam is what cat memes were two years ago. The web has literally exploded. Meme’s ranging from the dance moves and styles, to making fun at opulence. It’s dropping like Gangnam!

The background

Gangnam is a neighbourhood in Seoul, very much the Beverly Hills of South Korea, and the video by Psy sets out to make fun of the rich and famous. He plays the role of a Gangnam man in an off-beat clownish way, that is similar to his parodies. The video without a doubt has a lot of subtle references with Korean culture that are lost on everyone, but the obvious poke at the ‘rich’ way of living is not lost on anyone. The dance moves alone in the video has spawned a few hundred videos on how to do it, and like ‘Call me maybe’ has created spoofs and follow-ups.

Also if you ever have an air of superiority, wait for someone to scream Oppa Gangnam at you. 😉

I think we’re going to see a lot of this for the next few months, but like any Meme, what’s popular today, will be history tomorrow.

Side note

Something I only found out recently, was that the bizarre elevator scene and red sports car one, is actually common in South Korean pop videos, as it allows for cameo shots of TV personalities.

*At time of writing

Vid with English Subtitles

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