Oppa Gangnam Style: Is Korean Pop The Next Big Thing?

Posted on October 19, 2012 in Media and Culture

By Umika Sharma:

Oppan gang-namseutayil,
Kang-namseutayil
Naje-neun ttasaroun inkanjeo-gin yeoja
Keopi hanjanye yeoyureuraneun pumkyeok i-nneun yeoja”

No. My fingers did not go crazy and I did not forget the English language. These are just the lyrics of the song which seems to be the current obsession of the international media- Oppa Gangnam Style. Launched in mid-July and now one of the most viewed videos on YouTube, this particular song is the new big thing. Right from my five-year-old cousin to friends who are nineteen, everyone is crazy about it. Be it the peppy and groovy music or the initial silly dance moves or the randomly made video, this song is a favourite among people for truckloads of reasons.

Gangnam Style is a 2012 dance-pop single written and performed by Korean pop singer Park Jae Sung, better known by his stage name PSY. This is one video which went viral on YouTube and gathered millions of likes in just a few days. Today the singer with his signature style has been featured on many shows like Saturday Night Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show etc. It has found mention in The Wall Street Journal, has been talked about by international pop stars such as Katty Perry, Robbie Williams and Justin Bieber. It has a meme dedicated to it and holds the Guinness World Record for being the most viewed video. Last, I heard about it getting featured in the MTV awards.

What could be the possible reason behind it being such a rage amongst people? Is it the lyrics that we do not get? Or is the funny dance moves? Or is it the loud and slightly different music? I have just bombarded myself with endless questions and still have no answers to them. But I am sure that every person has a different reason to listen to this song.

Another very important question pops into my mind, is it the new cultural phenomenon? Is KPop the new music genre to look forward to? Does this mean that the days of the American and British artists ruling the global charts are numbered? The possible answers are maybe, maybe not. It is very much possible that this could be another viral video and all the hype around it will fizzle out after some time. But on the flipside this could be the defining moment when we discover a new genre and can religiously adopt it as a mark of our generation, much like the generations of hard rock, grunge and classic rock. I know both the possibilities are extreme but then who knew that people would go bonkers over this song, the way they have?

But this Gangnam Style phenomenon is not free from criticism. Some call it an insult to the original KPop and there are others who call it a direct assault on music. After the release of the video, many parody videos also came up and in a way made fun of the original one. Some have gone to the extent of calling it as a hyped version of trashy music, a bad dressing sense and over-the-top-dance sequences. Then there are people who feel that the video will have a bad impact on kids and teenagers.

Ultimately, the people crazy over Gangnam Style will continue to watch the video, listen to the song and imitate the dance moves. The sheer carefree nature of the song makes it such a favourite. This global phenomenon is here to stay. Whether you like it or not, sing it or not or whether you dance like PSY or not, Oppa Gangnam Style is one song you simply cannot ignore.

Youth Ki Awaaz

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