The Bottom Line
- Instantly catchy party music
- Clever accompanying dance
- Humor fully intact
- This is clever pop music at its best
- Written by Park Jai-Sang and Yoo Gun-hyung
- Produced by Park Jai-Sang and Yoo Gun-hyung
- Released September 2012 by Universal Republic
Guide Review - Psy - "Gangnam Style"
The synth riff that kicks off "Gangman Style" will sound instantly familiar to the millions of fans that made LMFAO worldwide pop stars in 2011. 40 seconds into the song the massive buildup to the chorus is more reminiscent of Ricky Martin stirring a crowd into a Latin frenzy. This song would have an outstanding chance of becoming a hit on its own merits. However, one of the most cleverly entertaining music videos has done exactly what the clips are designed to do. The humorous video illustration of Psy doing his horse-riding dance broke down all language and culture barriers and has already moved past 200 million YouTube views.
Psy explained his approach to the "Gangnam Style" dance in an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. As he was teaching Britney Spears and the host, Psy simply said the point is, "to dress classy and dance cheesy." There is a nearly universal appeal to seeing smartly dressed men and women letting go to happily appear "cheesy." A key element that sets "Gangnam Style" apart from many pop music dance fads of the past is that Psy's dancing is intended to be humorous particularly when performed properly.
Is "Gangnam Style" simply the first hit of a tidal wave of K-Pop to reach our shores? That is difficult to predict. However, Psy's song is idiosyncratic and not necessarily representative of a general style of Korean pop music. Efforts have already been made to break South Korean solo singers, girl groups and boy bands in the US without significant success. Pop radio may now be a bit more willing to play a song sung in a language other than English, but K-Pop needs to strike while the foot is in the door. Meanwhile, "Gangnam Style" stands on its own as an instant pop classic. Thank you Psy.