The Bottom Line
To be fair, following up such a huge worldwide smash as "Gangnam Style" would be a tall order for any recording artist. However, the biggest problem here with "Gentleman" is musically it is boring. Perhaps a new dance and video would help. However, until that point it is very tempting to listen to "Gentleman" one more time and say, "Next..."
- Catchy beat
- Solid in the club
- That beat might be borrowed
- Boring on the radio
- Cliched lyrics
- Written by Park Jae-sang
- Produced by Park Jae-sang
- Released April 2013 by Schoolboy Records
Guide Review - Psy - "Gentleman"
The real genius of "Gangnam Style" musically was that it sounded both like everything we were hearing in pop-dance and something completely unique. Psy's attempt at a follow up hit lands in one groove played over and over with little variation, and, according to many listeners, that groove is not even an original one. Last fall American DJ TJR released a dance track titled "Ode To Oi." It is considered part of the Melbourne Bounce dance music scene. A quick listen to "Ode To Oi" sounds an awful lot like Psy's new single "Gentleman" minus Psy's Korenglish rapping.
The sound of "Gentleman" might work well in a club, but on pop radio it would be incessantly repetitive requiring listener patience to make it all the way through, although there are some rewards to making it there as the final build is the most exciting part of "Gentleman." Lyrically the song seems to toss out western pop cliches about sexy girls and "gonna make you sweat, gonna make you wet." David Guetta will recognize the "Damn girl" from his massive international hit "Sexy B**ch." The unique element in the English lyrics of "Gentleman" is the chorus of "I'm a motherfather gentleman." No one seems quite sure what the intended meaning is other than a somewhat weak pun on "motherf**ker."
Arguably the worst sin of "Gentleman" is that it will carry many critics of K-Pop back to the frequent criticism lobbed at Asian pop in general. It is the argument that Asian pop music is simply derivative of western pop. If we are using Psy's "Gentleman" as the standard, then that argument might indeed hold water with an instrumental hook parroting an American DJ and lyrics rife with western dance music cliches. Fortunately, Psy is not the whole of Asian pop, but, just as he created a major breakthrough with "Gangnam Style," he might singlehandedly slow the forward progress of the genre in countries beyond Asian shores.