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Facts Behind the Phenomenon - Psy's 'Gangnam Style'

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 8 8

gangnam style
With over 225 million hits on his YouTube video, Psy had made it into the international big time with his song Gangnam Style. The song is a viral hit to be sure. Whether it is due to Psy's addicting silly dance moves, the catchy club dance beat, or Hyunas' addicting gorgeous face.

There's no arguing it's a hit, but what does it mean?

For years this writer has been an avid fan of Asian music and for just as long people have been baffled as to why. I was thrilled to see that a video has broken the language barrier and possibly opened up a new genre of music to many people, though a little shamed that it took pure silliness to do so.

Psy shows that music isn't all about what the song is saying. It can be about sweet dance moves, beats, and pretty ladies as well as how the music makes you feel.

How did Psy come to such success?

Psy, short for Psycho, was born Park Jae-Sang was born in Seoul, South Korea where he attended some very prestigious schools. He then eventually went onto Berklee College of Music. Which throughly explains how he is able to hack our brains into loving his music.


Very early on he sought to differentiate himself from the K-pop music mold. This mold usually involves having flawlessly handsome faces and choreographed music in the traditional boy band style.

In his early music career he was fine for having inappropriate content in his music. The public went onto give him the nickname 'bizarre singer' for reasons that are quite obvious by his hit music video.

The video Gangnam Style is essentially about finding a woman who's not a slutty-slut-slut face. The name itself comes from a district in Seoul, Gangnam, where the rich go shopping for fancy things, drive fancy cars, and generally act fancy. Psy himself is actually a native to this district.

While the video may seem silly, it actually hides quite a bit of social commentary on the newly rich people who inhabit this district. Though two generations ago, the district would have been just a few shabby houses and some farmland. In the 1970's, the land became highly coveted by families whose wealth seemed to manifest overnight. These new wealthy people drew in the fanciest shops of course, and a booming district was born.

Living in the Gangnam district is something that inspires envy as the average South Korean citizen would take about 15 years to earn enough money to live in an apartment there.

Due to their wealth, Gangnam residents can make their face look flawless with plastic surgery, dress in the best clothes, and be stylishly slim. These are all the things Psy isn't. He's parodying the upper class in the Gangnam district. He's the equivalent of it you put a country bumpkin in fancy clothes.


The song also explores the the social class system of the Gangnam. In the video you see the rich lounging about, dancing as they please, while the poor are just cannon fodder to their merriment.

Gangnam Style has really turned out to be one of those things that may seem skin deep at first, but really goes all the way to the bone. Though perhaps it is a case of people seeing symbolism where there isn't and Psy is just going along with it.

Only one thing is for certain.

This song is as addicting as Afghani Heroin.

PSY's musical sensation continues to climb the charts at Youtube at a titillating and record breaking pace, to read more about this check out this article by my fellow Infobarrel Writer, Brandon Gardner.



Sep 21, 2012 6:31pm
Hi--Two thumbs up for a thoughtful and informative piece. Not my style of music but certainly my style of music but my style of article!
Sep 22, 2012 9:27am
You're honestly the first person I've met that did not like it. :D
Oct 7, 2012 2:17am
I love Psy! I love Gangnam Style! Great article!
Oct 7, 2012 8:55pm
I discovered this video after watching an SNL skit on it. The video itself manages to be even more bizarre than the skit. With this background it makes just a leetle more sense!
Oct 16, 2012 10:35am
You inspired me to check out the video- it's fun! Thumbs up!
Oct 21, 2012 3:23am
Great song, I actually listen to it almost daily on Spotify.
Oct 28, 2012 4:55am
I still can't believe how big this has become globally.
Dec 27, 2012 6:21am
Surpassed a billion views now. O_o
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