Will ‘Gentleman’ PSY Do it Again?

[youtube height=”270″ width=”500″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASO_zypdnsQ[/youtube]

Although he hardly needs any more publicity at this point, unless you’ve been living in a bunker, you’ll be aware that Korean singer/rapper PSY (short for ‘Psycho’) released his new single and music video called ‘Gentleman’ over the weekend. In addition, he also performed the song live in Seoul, Korea, literally flying over thousands of screaming fans in a harness at a concert that was streamed online for the whole world to watch.

As of this writing, the official video for Gentleman has received well over 81 million hits on YouTube over the course of just a couple of days. The number of ‘likes’ is now nudging up to one million. Regardless of what you think of the song, there can be little doubt that it will be successful- however it will  be a relative measure. No one believes that he will be able to top Gangnam Style’s insane level of popularity around the world. That video recently surpassed 1.5 billion views online. No other music artist (or YouTube video) in world history has cracked that number, and it is unlikely that anyone will do so anytime soon.

As of this writing, the official video for Gentleman has received well over 81 million hits on YouTube over the course of just a couple of days. The number of ‘likes’ is now nudging up to one million.

First, a brief synopsis of the song and music video. The title is meant to be ironic. In the video, everything we see PSY do is the opposite of what a real gentleman would do. Once again he is layering on the wry social critique that we saw in Gangnam Style, but this time his methods are a little cruder. The tune itself also is a mixture of pounding club beats and K-Pop pizazz. The main dance move, however, is partly copied from another K-Pop group, Brown Eyed Girls, in their music video for ‘Abracadabra’. One of the members of that group, Ga-in, also appears in PSY’s new video, helping him to avoid claims of plagiarism, yet at the same time, it is a bit disappointing that he hasn’t been able to come up with something fresh and unique like the horse dance from Gangnam Style.

If you haven’t seen the video, I won’t spoil the rest of it for you, but suffice it to say that if you are familiar with Korean popular culture at all, you may recognize some familiar faces, some of whom also appeared in the Gangnam Style video, which makes Gentleman feel even more like a continuation of that past triumph, rather than something entirely new and different. He even makes sure to throw in a few English words (bordering on vulgarity) here and there so foreign audiences don’t feel totally left out.  Whether you like this familiar approach or not is entirely up to your expectations.

Gentleman’ was in fact PSY’s second choice title for the song- he was originally going to title it  ‘AssArabia’, a Korean word used to express excitement, however altered it when it was pointed out that it may cause offence to Arabs.

Interestingly enough, PSY mentioned at a press conference that he hopes even North Koreans can enjoy his music, and he has been careful not to alienate any international groups. ‘Gentleman’ was in fact PSY’s second choice title for the song- he was originally going to title it  ‘AssArabia’, a Korean word used to express excitement, however altered it when it was pointed out that it may cause offence to Arabs.

So, what has the early reaction to Gentleman been like? Comments range from “Freaking awesome” to “YOU SUCK!” typed out dozens of times. Clearly, PSY’s music isn’t for everyone. But perhaps he won’t be a global one hit wonder after all.

By Tim Holm

 

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