Gangnam Style, The Novelty

Korean Music Artist PSY, Creator of 2012's "Gangnam Style"

South Korean Artist PSY, Creator of 2012's "Gangnam Style"

South Korean Artist PSY, Creator of 2012’s “Gangnam Style”

“Oppa Gangnam Style!”

Where were you when you first heard the cult-hit of 2012? Despite there being only three english words (“hey, sexy lady!”) everyone chanted this one particular line. I remember the first time I heard the song, I’ll explain it briefly:

One random night on Facebook in early 2012, I saw a friend post a YouTube video to another friends profile, it was obscurely titled, and the thumbnail looked quite weird as well. So I followed the link, and saw that it had 600,000 views and as the video went on, the only thing I thought was, why? Why does this have so many views, the song is catchy yes, but the visuals are among one of the most odd things I’d ever seen.

As time went on, Gangnam Style was everywhere, partly for its replay value, partly for its obscure visuals, and party because of the hype that suddenly surrounded it. The song quickly became known as the bridge between the western world and K-Pop, the song that will finally allow the west to absorb and enjoy the musical stylings of South Korea.

It’s 2015, and where is PSY now? Since Gangnam Style, he has released 4 songs, entitled “Gentleman”, “Hangover”, “Korea” and “Father
one of which featured hip-hop mogul, Snoop Dogg.

Ask virtually anyone to sing “Gangnam Style” and they’ll do it in an instant, the others? Not so much. Not only is PSY a one-hit wonder, he is also NOT the bridge between K-Pop and westerners. The odd visuals, the lack of english, the public interest and the general catchiness/replay value is what drove this song to it’s fame; it’s the first YouTube video to reach 1,000,000,000 views, and as of September 1st, it has 2,406,659,243 views.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 7.45.12 pm

Gangnam Style view count as of September 1st, 2015

Gangnam Style, to put it bluntly, was the Korean Macarena. Yes, it transcended language barriers, it was a song that anyone could dance to, but that was the novelty. For many, it was the sheer cult-like status allowed them to access this genre of music, and while it propelled some westerners to discover K-Pop, it was not the song that finally brought K-Pop to respectability. Play Gangnam Style in 2015, and you might just be the most hated person in the room, you’ll be met with groans that scream “not this again”. This is what classifies Gangnam Style as just another novelty, a meme of sorts that comes and goes in the golden age of technology; in the age of the internet in which something fizzles out as fast as it became popular.

This isn’t to say he hasn’t achieved much though. In addition all the YouTube success (He currently has over 8 million subscribers), he has garnered a dedicated following in and around Asia after his hit song of 2012; his song “Korea” was a ballad proclaiming his loyalty and love for the country itself – although he is experiencing success with his new music, it just won’t be the crossover mainstream express that the western world is waiting for from Korea.


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