Gangnam Style Tops Global Charts, Korean Twitter Reactions

Psy performing at Saturday Night Live

In ironic contrast to the consumerist lifestyle that it is allegedly parodying, Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ seems to have taken over the global market. After topping the iTunes download charts in a few countries, the frustratingly catchy Party Rock Anthem-inspired epic jingle is now at the top of the UK singles chart and Billboard’s digital songs chart. As Psy gallops towards global success on his imaginary steed, Gangnam Style still manages to somehow make headlines every day in both international and Korean newspapers.

The song’s popularity and its true meaning might be different or bring differing connotations for each cultural region. As Korean hip-hop pioneer Tiger JK pointed out in a Tweet, for some people and Hollywood, the song’s popularity perhaps stems from the age-old orientalist‘s Asian stereotype; rather than reflecting any genuine interest in Korean musicians or music. According to his Tweet, some white people repeatedly interrupted his performance during a ‘Creators Project’ concert, yelling, ‘Do the horse dance!, Do the horse dance!’ – which upset him and instead inspired him to embark on a verbal dance of R-rated expletives instead. He later apologised for the incident, but remained firm on his stance about the Asian stereotype in Western countries.

Tiger JK apologises for his rant at the Creators Project concert.

However, for most Koreans, Gangnam Style invokes a similar vibe to his first hit song, ‘Bird’; as the song is also famous for its funny, buffoonish dance moves and its quirky lyrics. Koreans suffered from something of a cultural shock at his debut in 2001; he seemed so comfortable with his unconventional look, even though K-pop was already dominated by suspiciously good-looking idol stars at the time.

Psy dancing with Britney Spears at Ellen Show

It may be hard for most Koreans to see his success other than through this prism; and most likely see Psy’s international audience as going through a similar experience to them when his first album came out. As the Twitter reactions below show, many Koreans don’t seem to see view the ‘Gangnam Stlye Sensation’ in the same race-orientated terms as Tiger JK. Rather, the majority are simply proud of him for topping the global pop charts, even if a lot of people do find that a bit hard to believe.

Of course, if (like us), you feel you’ve had your fair share of Gangnam Style, you might be interested in the below version, where the music has been edited out and replaced with ambient sound effects. Without the actual song, it’s just the bizarre tale of a lonely madman, galloping round Seoul on an invisible horse, shouting in sunglasses and a dinner jacket. (HT to the Grand Narrative).

From TVReport:

Psy charts number two on the Billboard…Will he make it to the number one?

Psy’s Gangnam Style has hit the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

According to Billboard magazine, Psy’s Gangnam Style ‘galloped to number two on the Hot 100 charts’ on the 26th September, whilst Maroon 5’s ‘One More Night’ remained at number one.

The magazine said ‘Gangnam Style skyrocketed from number 64 to 11, and jumped to number two, thanks to the music video and the Korean rapper’s signature horse dance.’

It also explained, ‘Gangnam Style is rising to the top on the back of the highest digital points among the hot 100 songs.’

Meanwhile, Psy promised to ‘perform the song topless’ if the song hits number one on the chart.

Comments from Twitter:

Who Cares? [email protected]:

Our so-called ‘music’ critic says that Gangnam Style’s rise on the Billboard charts is our ‘greatest cultural achievement since the establishment of the Republic of Korea.’ A pitiful culture indeed.

● 파 ● 란 ● 연 ● 필 ● [email protected]_pn:

Psy was a great musician before he ever appeared on the Billboard charts. While Psy’s commercial success is a cause for news attention, some ridiculous articles seem to be reevaluating Psy’s ability just because he became famous worldwide. Since when was Billboard a measure of a musician’s artistic ability?

공지영 [email protected] (Korean Author):

Congrats! Congrats! RT @ecoriver: Psy’s Gangnam style became number one on the Billboard charts as of 1:00 a.m. Korea time. Champion.. http://dw.am/L1IABp

Uncle Bico [email protected]:

If Psy makes it to number one, I really hope we don’t start seeing books with titles like ‘Think Like Psy’, ‘Creative Marketing Like Gangnam Style’, ‘Working Your Pants Off Like Psy’, or ‘Gangbuk Boy Meets Gangnam Girl’. [Note: ‘Gangnam’ is the area south of the Han river in Seoul – the name literally translates to ‘south of the river’. ‘Gangbuk’ would roughly equate to ‘north of the river’].

Hyunjoon Shin. [email protected]_ [Korean Actor]:

Psy is awesome! Go for number one! Good luck! Hwai-ting!

박수민 / Soo Min Park [email protected]:

Psy’s Korean singing rises to number three in the UK and number two on Billboard. When all the Korean girl bands go to perform in America, here’s a striking piece of advice to them from all the famous American label promoters: please don’t sing in English. They said that the moment the singers start singing in English the fantasy is ruined at once.

Barry Lee [email protected]_lee:

Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ rises to number two on Billboard! http://bit.ly/QxBP8d he really is an international singer now duh duh

COFFEE TOUR | 한장섭 [email protected]:

(Breaking News) Psy! In the UK, an even more difficult market than the US Billboard charts, makes it to number one! The world has gone crazy. To think that this has happened within my lifetime! ke ke http://bbc.in/bj8LBm

박성준 mNine [email protected]:

Everything has gone crazy, big brother Psy makes it to number 11 on the Billboard 100 ke ke ke

Yongmin Kim [email protected]:

Thanks to Psy, it looks like I will be able to see an all-Korean song hit the top 10 on Billboard chart before I die, by next week. OMG

복음지기 김세원 [email protected]:

Oppan~ Gangnam Style ~~ Psy is just great, a Korean singer whose song rises to number eleven, not on the Billboard K-pop chart but on the main charts! I was deeply touched when ‘Gangnam Style’ came out on Bae Cheol Soo’s ‘Music Camp’!!! http://yfrog.com/g0c6mstj

윤덕 공격대 대구지부 공대장 [email protected]_lanziee:

It was always one of Bae Cheol-soo’s dreams to introduce a Korean song that had made it into the top 20 on the Billboard charts, looks like Psy made that happen for him.

김원종 Deegie [email protected]_Trabler:

I personally think this commercial is really effective. ‘Our aim is to conquer the South Chosun [Korea] hip-hop and pop charts and the American imperialist agent Billboard chart, just like Psy did.’ [parodying North Korea’s frequent phrases] They have actually put this commercial on the website, ‘Hip-Hop Playa’ [online music magazine] ke ke ke

드립연금술사 꾼 ‏@_ggun:

When Psy was caught smoking marijuana [they said] ‘that saekki isn’t right in his mind~’ When Psy was caught skipping his military work [they said] ‘that saekki isn’t right in his mind~’ When Psy achieved the 2nd place on the Billboard [they say] ‘I’m proud to see a Korean do it!!’ When he does wrong they call him a saekki, and when he does great they cheer for the Korean people…

발칙한상상 [email protected]:

Before we delight in Psy’s entry to the top ranks on the Billboard chart, we need to think hard as to why we don’t have a pop chart that deserves public confidence.

낙산해수욕장 [email protected]:

I used to write down the Korean pronunciation of an English song (Honesty by Billy Joel, as I remember it now) on the Billboard chart and imagine Korean songs reaching the first place in the chart. Now I feel that dream might just come true thanks to Psy… I’m going to listen to the songs of that time again. Thank you~ Psy

권란 [email protected]:

From Psy’s press conference upon his arrival. ‘I still feel dumbfounded, as if I’m on the Truman Show. To be honest I do get nervous during TV shows in the US, but I gain strength from all your cheers and support. I will perform topless on the street if my song becomes no.1 on the chart.’

고안수 [email protected]:

Sports stars get exempted from their military duties according to their achievements in international competitions. Then could the same be applied to an entertainer who raised our country’s position to a higher level? What if there appears another singer who achieves no.1 on the Billboard chart, and hasn’t done his military service yet?

lotto [email protected]:

DBSK in the first place in China vs. Psy in the first place in the US… Why? There’s a lot of noise on mass media about Psy’s song ‘Gangnam Style’ hitting the 2nd place on the Billboard chart in America. It’s surely something to be proud of. But I feel suspicious and curious about such response, which is almost like celebrating a national achievement. This…

느린걸음 [email protected]:

Singing Psy, ‘2012 Festival of World Street Dance’ is held. Psy’s ‘Oppan Gangnam Style’ ranks no.2 on the Billboard chart. Let’s make him topless in Jang-an dong.

JO KWON [email protected] (K-pop idol, 2AM) :

Psy’s no.2 on the Billboard is really awesome… He’s writing a new history..!! It might as well get to no.1 soon!

문재인캠프 [email protected] (Democratic United Party’s Presidential Candidate) :

Congratulations to Psy on his song ranking no.11 on the Billboard chart. I hope you achieve even higher.

PSY's 'Gangnam Style' music video is a worldwide sensation

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  • Matt

    I like the song and the original video, but this is getting reeeeeeeaaaally played out. It’s not Psy’s or the Koreans’ fault, but rather the dumbass Westerners and Southeast Asians who don’t know when a joke has gotten old. The people making this video popular are the same type of clueless dunces who still thought Chuck Norris jokes were funny in 2008, and probably think Ray William Johnson is hilarious. Most of them probably also couldn’t even recognize hangul as being a Korean script when they first watched Gangnam Style. -_- (Which explains why all these idiots thought they were being so smart and culturally enlightened by pointing out, “This is Korean!!!!” to all the “this is japanese lol” trolls.)

    Anyway, wouldn’t this:

    “I will perform topless on the street if my song becomes no.1 on the chart.’”

    …violate his “dress classy” advice? Not so sure if that would be a good idea…

    • k

      So westeners who like his song are “dumbasses” because they dont understand Korean? So I guess that same logic applies to all Koreans who like western artists but cant speak English but must think they are so smart when they occassionally inderstand an English word…..His song isnt a joke, its a good song, its fun and catchy and creative and western audiences like that. And those western “dunces” who keep playing his music are also putting money in his bank account, which Im sure he doesnt have a problem with. He is the first Korean artist to appeal to the western hemisphere which is a big achievement for him and he has also opened a door for other korean artist to try to make it thru because before Psy westeners didnt have a clue that koreans even have their music industry and that isnt their fault, its just korean music is never played or promoted until now. Why you gotta be a hater? Its good music, people arent stupid for liking and listening to it, and Psy is brillant. And there is nothing wrong with Chuck Norris jokes….

      • k

        And fyi, they once made Chuck Norris toilet paper but.it wouldn’t take sh*t from anybody.

      • JK

        Agreed K! Westerners are dumbasses? WOW. And Asians are too I guess for copying everything from American Hip Hop artists to Western technology. Globalization is what it is. Congrats to Psy. No wonder he studied and lived in the United States for so long and enjoyed a few puffs now and again.

      • Matt

        “So westeners who like his song are “dumbasses” because they dont understand Korean?”

        No. The dumbasses are the ones who treat the song like a meme and talk about Psy like they talked about Chuck Norris. They’re the kind who think posting “Op op op oppa GANGNAM STYLE!” qualifies as funny, not to mention all the ones who think “OPEN CONDOM STYLE!!!” is even more hilarious (or even more inexplicably, “OPEN CONDOM STORE!!!”). They’re the type who comment on YouTube, “fuck swag. i’ve got GANGNAM STYLE, bitch!”.

        I’m sure by now I’ve made it clear who I was referring to. After all, I’m a Westerner who liked the video, and I’m sure I needn’t persuade you that I’m not so modestly humble as to deem myself a dumbass.

        “He is the first Korean artist to appeal to the western hemisphere”

        No, he’s not, not least of which because the “western hemisphere” is not some collective hive-minded insect colony. Moreover, Korean music has had MILLIONS of obsessive fans in the West LONG before Gangnam Style ever debuted (Ever heard of SNSD or Super Junior? Or perhaps you’re new to the Internet?), and, needless to say, there are still millions of Westerners who maintain their disdain for this type of music (and not because it’s Korean) for a whole host of reasons.

        • k

          First, I don’t see why you have a problem with where other people find a sense of humor. If they find Gangnam style hiliarious, then that is their own business and you shouldn’t be such a scrooge about what someone else finds hilarious. We all have to find a way to laugh somehow. If you don’t like seeing people make those jokes, then don’t go to the places where they are making those jokes and scroll comments. Second, I don’t think Korean music has “millions” of fans in the west, because I certainly don’t see any of the bands you mentioned topping US charts or any other western country’s charts (or even making an appearance)when they release an album or single (I said western hemisphere, because I’m not going to go through and name every western country and break it down). Sure, there are westerner kpop fans, but they are a very small minority. And the only reason I know the bands you mentioned is because I lived in Korea and no, I’m not new to the internet, I think I’ve been on the net since 13, so like the past 12 years now. And I don’t think westerners “disdain” kpop, that would implying they actually knew existed enough to form opinion, I think most westerners don’t have a clue kpop exist.

    • Digitalsoju

      Actually I hear more Gangnam style references and jokes than from my friends back home. Swear I can’t go a few hours without hearing Gangnam style or ____ style. It’s been what 3-4 months since the song came out, people need to stop making these lame jokes period.

  • Shawna

    My opinion is kind of mixed. I enjoy his music and glad it was popular, but I strongly feel that most people will forget about him or any sort of Korean music once this particular trend dies down. I come from a town where most people seemed to assume anything Asian was Chinese, although since anime has become more popular over the years, the newer thing is to assume Japanese. Maybe Psy is a start and in the future, those people will just assume everything Asian is Korean. But that’s still stereotyping.

  • 바나나

    Itaewon Freedom

  • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

    Altough Psy’song is gaining unprecedentedly in popularity in western countries, this fervor doesn’t stem from Korea’s distinctive cultural appeal or excellence in music, but from the fact that it’s funny, intriguing. That mean that the spectacular attention from the West to his song will fade away if the song become tedious, boring. That also implies that repeat of his success by other Korean singers is inconceivable because the popularity comes from nothing more than the comical music clip.

    The Korean song’s fervor gives a rude awakening to some westerners who believe that the world revolve around the west: The East, subjugated by the West since the industrial revolution, is increasingly taking the center stagel, crowding out the West. The world is experiencing seismic changes.

    • Matt

      “The Korean song’s fervor gives a rude awakening to some westerners who believe that the world revolve around the west: The East, subjugated by the West since the industrial revolution, is increasingly taking the center stagel, crowding out the West. The world is experiencing seismic changes.”

      lol. So when can we expect Arabic pop to top Korean music charts? Or Chinese pop, for that matter? When can we expect to hear Bollywood music in Seoul cafes?

      • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

        Your question is off the mark.

        My point is that the power transition is arising from the West to the East.
        The gradual but manifest swing is illuminated by crisis-plagued Europe and a faltering US economy, in contrast to relatively young robust BRICS and East Asia.

        In lackluster America and Europe, the surge in so far an unknown’s popularity can be contrued as an intial harbinger indicating that Asia is soon towering over the West.

        To give an anwer to your questions, no one predict a furture with certainty. But what I am trying to deliver is that the East, an inclusive concept encompassing non-western regions, will become an increasingly important presence in the world. And however popluar a foreign tune is, it is impossible for it to claim suremacy over local songs. Have you ever seen US pon songs to retain number one spot on the Korean pop charts? Impossible because making such a question is self-contradictory.

        Plus, the world’s largest music market will be soon changed from the US to China, the world’s most populous nation, if the latter will achieve sustainable economic growth in a successful wealth redistribution policy.

        Fareed Zakaria published a book entitled “The post-American world” the thrust of which is the world is increasingly characterized by the rise of the rest world. We will see whether the peripherial nations will leave their foot prints on the world, politically, economically and culturally.

        • Matt

          Give me a break. There is no “East”. Anyone familiar with koreaBANG would know that South Korea’s success is not North Korea’s success, let alone China’s or Japan’s success, let alone Turkey’s or India’s success.

          “And however popluar a foreign tune is, it is impossible for it to claim suremacy over local songs.”

          Is this a joke? Are we NOT commenting on an article about a Korean song that has topped charts throughout the Western world?

          “Have you ever seen US pon songs to retain number one spot on the Korean pop charts?”

          No, because the Korean chart is a uniquely insular (and ethnocentric) one. US songs regularly top charts elsewhere throughout the world, and so, too, do Korean, British, Egyptian, and Lebanese songs top charts outside their respective countries.

          “Plus, the world’s largest music market will be soon changed from the US to China, the world’s most populous nation, if the latter will achieve sustainable economic growth in a successful wealth redistribution policy.”

          Thank you, Professor Economics, for that brilliant insight. That said, this may come as a shock to you, but Chinese people mostly listen to Chinese music, not so much Korean music, and certainly not “Eastern music”.

          “Fareed Zakaria published a book entitled “The post-American world” the thrust of which is the world is increasingly characterized by the rise of the rest world. We will see whether the peripherial nations will leave their foot prints on the world, politically, economically and culturally.”

          Thank you again, Captain Obvious. JK Rowling published a book series entitled “Harry Potter”. You probably haven’t heard about this obscure literature because you’re not a sophisticated intellectual like me…

          • Jennster

            Chinese people (especially those from developed cities) love korean music and their ‘guys’. More koreans/asians they <3 is correlated with less like for western culture. FACT

          • Matt

            @ Jennster:

            No, that’s not a fact. I didn’t say that some Chinese people don’t like Korean music. I said that 1) Chinese people first and foremost like Chinese music, and 2) Even for those who DO like Korean music, it’s not in the sense of liking “Eastern” music, because I can assure you those same Chinese probably don’t like Japan or its music. They’d probably rather listen to Taylor Swift or Jason Mraz than anything from the evil cold-blooded Japs.

          • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

            The United States was founded with immigrants from Europe, while some Asian countries, including Korea, and Japan, was extablished with each ethnic group of homegenity.

            This is the critical importance becase albums released on the US martket is sung in Enlighs, targeting all nationals from various countries, opening up the opposibility that an obscure singer to the United States like Psy can be popular in the United States though his song is in Korean. There is openness and a sense of inclusion, which is inherent in the Ameirca.

            But while in Korea, most ordinatry people hardly understand things in Enligh, including songs, which means the US pop song cannot top the Korean chart.

            Based on this reasoning, whatever a foreing song is, it is impossible for it to take the top ranking on the local music charts in Asian countries, including Korea, Japan, and China.

            Without considering this cultural factor, you just argue that Korea is insular, and exclusive.

            If you were born as a Korean, wouldn’t you also be in what you criticisize as a insular position?

          • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

            In contrast to the United States, which is fall back upon its influx of labor for its prosperity because there was relatively small number of American natives in the vast expanse of the continent, Korean people had lived for thousands of years in the Korean peninsular with the need for acceptance of foreigners. Isn’t it natural for them to tend to be exclusive because geographical characteristics preordained them to be preoccupied with ethnic homogeneity though discriminations against race should be banned under any circumstances ?

          • Matt

            “Based on this reasoning, whatever a foreing song is, it is impossible for it to take the top ranking on the local music charts in Asian countries, including Korea, Japan, and China. ”

            Then please explain to me the popularity of Korean music throughout Southeast Asia. Does your argument concerning Korea not also apply to Vietnam and Thailand? Vietnamese and Thais certainly speak far less Korean than Koreans speak English, and yet that doesn’t stop them from listening to Korean music. The same applies to Hong Hong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia, too.

            Not to mention the success of a song like Danza Kuduro in many countries that don’t speak any Spanish or Portuguese.

          • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

            “Then please explain to me the popularity of Korean music throughout Southeast Asia.”

            Various hypotheses can be suggested.
            First, some less developed countries, like Vietnam, will like Korean music because there is no sizable commerical market for local popular songs (though this is statistically unconfirmed), meaning that when they have their own music markets, they will possibly soon wean themselves from Korean pop songs.

            Second, other relatively affluent Asian countries are happy with Korean pop songs, because there is cultural affinity, fresh and different from their own. Plus the sophiscated design in projecting Korean idol singers as classy, and imitatable might play a certain role in boosting K-pop.

            But many locally formed young singers are cropped up across those nations, with their feeling in appearances and music strikingly similar to K pop singers—a warning for Korean entertaining industry that the current craze for Korean pop culture will vanish like mirage if it is no longer felt as distinctive but culturally affable.

            Now, I have a question? why are the songs from Asian countries popular in Korea, and Japan which is famous for their adherence to ethnic homogeneity?

            Soaring K-pop popluraity sweeping across South Asian countries is exceptional in that no serious observer predict that this phenomenon will last in the long haul.

        • 참을 수 없는 존재의 가벼움

          why are the songs from Asian countries popular in Korea, and Japan which is famous for their adherence to ethnic homogeneity?

          There is an omission of “not”

          Thus the right sentence is :

          why are the songs from Asian countries not popular in Korea, and Japan, which is famous for their adherence to ethnic homogeneity?

    • k

      I disagree about Korean music being “excellent”, I think Korean music still has a long ways to go and I think it’s really only appealing to Koreans for the most part. There are a couple of reasons why I think the majority of kpop (not all, there are a handful of good artists) will never appeal to an american or western audiences.
      1) Almost all of korean music is suited for a club with very little diversity in topics (I will admit that the older Korean singers do sing about more diverse topics, I know my korean father in law had me listen to them all the time, but they sound really old timey), I mean when was the last time you heard a kpop artist sing about something other then money, boys, girls, love, breaking up, moving on from a relationship, or partying? Most of kpop is highly auto-tuned, electronized, dance heavy, copy cat garbage (with the exception of some of course).
      2) I don’t think Americans will find groups of 6 or more SINGERS (with no instruments) appealing….I mean we use to have boy band and girl bands, but I think for the most part, western music has moved away from those 15 years ago. Plus I don’t think most people will bother to remember 6 different names of 6 very similar looking people.
      3) Kpop artists lack diversity. They dress the same, dance the same, sound the same, thanks to PS they look the same, they all try to play the “good/cutesy girl/good boy”role which comes off as boring and rehearsed because they aren’t allowed to show real personality traits and be different and go against the grains of society and publically question things and cause controversy (Could you imagine a korean artist acting like Lady Gaga?), it’s like they are all formed in the same cookie cut mode on an assembly line. Americans prize originality and creativity and diversity, but Koreans are perfectly content to see uniformity in their music and tv. That’s a major difference. I don’t think that is necessarily bad, but that’s a big difference between collectivist societies and individualistic societies.
      4) I don’t think the majority of Americans would ever be able to relate to any kpop artist group. Most Americans are white, black, or hispanic with asians making up a small, small percent. Kpop would only be appealing to young teens for the most part and I just don’t see young, white girls and boys being able to relate to korean women and men, who don’t look like them, who don’t speak English very well, who don’t have the same cultural values and norms, and who don’t understand western culture or people very well. Korean girls and boys like Kpop because they can see themselves as those singers, they can relate, but I don’t think that would be true in the west.
      5) Western music is awesome in my very bias opinion. We have artists that are so diverse in so many genres, like AC/DC, Tom Petty, Janice Joplin, The Who, Bob Dylan, Ozzy, CCR, Aretha Franklin, Micheal Jackson and so many others and they are all so different and brilliant at their trade. We already have outstanding artists that have pioneered in many genres.

      I think Americans like Psy because he is original, he is funny, He breaks away from the cookie cut assembly kpop line and is doing his own thing and I think Americans see him as an original and interesting and that’s why they love him. I don’t think Wonder Girls (although they are becoming more popular after releasing that song with Akon) or Girls Generation can ever reach the level of Psy. They lack the interesting, unique quality that he has.

      I’d like to read counter arguments to my arguments please ^_^

      • k

        oh geez, so sorry for the wall of text……..

      • Matt

        “I think Korean music still has a long ways to go and I think it’s really only appealing to Koreans for the most part.”

        This may come as somewhat of a shock to you, but there’s this little chunk of Earth called “Southeast Asia”, home to about 610 million people. From what I can tell, it doesn’t appear to be part of Korea. Neither are Japan or the Sinosphere (please correct me if I’m wrong).

        1) Almost all chart-topping music in the West is suited for a club with very little diversity in topics. Besides: Tayor Swift and Eminem, meet IU and Psy.

        3) Mostly true, with 2NE1 being somewhat of an exception. And as terrible as it sounds, thanks to the success of PSY, you can expect a string of Psy imitators over the following years, although some probably younger and possibly female.

        I agree with the rest of what you say.

        • k

          Agreed. Where did you pop up from Matt? You’re new and I like you :)

          • Matt

            More like where I popped ‘out’ from. But I’ll give my mom your kudos.

      • chucky3176

        Korean music only appeals to Koreans??

        Tell that to millions of fans in China, Japan, South East Asia, South America, etc, where Korean music routinely top their charts. Just because the West doesn’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s only confined to Korea.

        • Daboonee

          Don’t forget the millions of fans in New York,California,New Jersey

  • Chris

    I had the opportunity to meet few Koreans and I could sense the feeling of spiritual freedom they have around them. Its not that easy as it sounds for a guy from Korea to come up and be no. 1 all over the world. There are lots of stuff that goes behind it. Koreans mental attitude is at the highest level at this moment in time…They can fully express themselves.

    Its the opportunity and freedom to artists much like in US, that offers them a platform to pursue what they like. Korea is a developed country and it makes world class mobile phones, cars, electronics, clothes etc…So they excel in other fields as well.

    Samsung is already number 1 selling phone in the world. I don’t think its surprising, it is to be expected from Korea. In few years, I’m sure they will take over Hollywood as well. Already Korean Soap Operas are Number 1 in Asia.

    • Snarl

      No offense Chris, but I think your post is rubbish, if not hopelessly naive. The most common expression I see in Korea is one of cold aloofness, often with the intent of creating rigid social barriers. The second most common expression I see in Korea is the all-too-familiar ‘dagger eyes’. In general, the level of distrust and hatred of outsiders is at an all-time high in Korea, which is a far cry from what I would call spiritual freedom. But more to the point, one crazy guy rising to the top of the music charts is a glaring exception to the ocean of uniformity that is Korea. It won’t last.
      As an aside, even though I absolutely loathe Apple and everything they make, it is, to my knowledge, still the best selling phone in the world, with a 52% market share (33% market share for Android, which includes Samsung).

      • Danny

        Just FYI, Android smartphones are dominant in the world today.

        Samsung smartphones, and phones, have the biggest slice of the global market share, followed by Apple (in smartphones), and Nokia then LG (in mobile phones). In the US, Samsung smartphones have been dominant for a few quarters last year, except this last one with Apple edging out Samsung due to the long wait and introduction of the new (but disappointing) iPhone (5). (Disappointing because it did not met consumer expectations [technology is still ‘outdated’], nor its sales forecasts).

        My opinion is that Samsung will regain its lead after a refresh of its Galaxy line.

        Finally I’m not ‘rooting’ for Samsung or anything, but just pointing out recent global and American trends;

  • Fire

    Everything that comes from Korea to our country is popular. Even to the point of making a parody out of this song. People with herd mentality are like that. We dont blame them but we pity them. Often time we restraint from the temptation of wanting to punch them in the face when they think that we are weird for not liking their trend. For their trend is the norm.

    We also congratulate Psy for his success.

  • Stories of butts

    It would be cool if Psy could put out more songs that make it to the top of the global charts, I say this mostly because it would be nice to see the Korean music industry stop making the same type of girl and boy groups over and over again with a scrip persona. I dont want to see Psy artist look alikes but just more individuality in their music scene.

    Thankfully the country I live in right now isnt going crazy over this song so I havent found it too annoying yet.

    • Matt

      There are already a couple of other great (and radio-friendly, of course) songs on Psy’s most recent album (namely: 뜨거운 안녕, 어땠을까, & 77학개론), but I suspect he hasn’t released any of them as singles yet because they’re not “joke” songs like Gangnam Style, and throwing out a “normal” or “serious” song after Gangnam Style would be too much of a curve-ball and kill the comedic momentum. The world wants and expects “The Real Slim Shady”, not “Guilty Conscience”.

  • Daboonee

    I think it is safe to say, many ‘newer’ artists are hella confused/jealous of PSY. He doesn’t represent the ‘new’ wave of culture/music in Korea; think of a few years ago when Girls Generation, Big Bang, 2NE1 were the ‘thing’ in Korea. As a cultural production, those bands seemed to be it and the logical choice or preferred choice to break into the Western markets. They tried with all the bands mentioned…… or even Rain! It is a generalization, but I don’t think I am out on a limp saying that whatever “Pop” music was, Koreans imagined a different group ‘breaking out’ into the west, because they incorporated the new generation of style/image. No one saw this coming, so after seeing this juxtaposition, I think a lot of K-pop artists who are in the current new wave are just saying WTF.

    The verdict is still out if PSY’s song is just a rehash of the Macarania trend years ago. One thing for sure is that there is no Asian racism going on. There might be some elements of orientalism, the Edward Said version of that term, but it is just colonial; the “Do this for me exotic person” crap. I’m not gunna rule that out. But in terms of Asian racism, PSY’s image and intelligence during interviews breaks down the standard Asian stereotypes that exist in the west.

    Most of us, especially the whites who have lived in Korea and love it dearly…. and would love to see more K-pop make it in the west, will have to wait and see where this is exactly going. Questions like this can’t be answered so quickly.

    • k

      First I am one of the whites that has attachment to Korea but I am offended at your racist term of “white” I personally prefer to be called “a vanilla milkshake” or white chocolate or snow bunny. Thanks :)

  • chucky3176

    No offense to Psy, but I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the Billboards which also features the likes of such duds as Justin Bieber whose fame is basically based on no talent – a bubble ready to burst. Such is the state of American pop industry currently which hasn’t changed for 20 years. I think people are looking for something new, and Psy, an Asian man, with a charismatic figure, doing a quirky comical dance, does it for them. Once it becomes a hit in America, it becomes a world hit, particularly in the West.

    I give full credit to Psy though, he is a premium entertainer. Just search for his other live concerts in Korea, the way he can whip up the crowd and entertain the viewers. His live concerts are always fantastic. Then watch his interviews in English, he’s hilarious and his English is fine. He’s a charismatic guy the way he handles himself on stage and in interviews. That goes totally against all the traditional stereotypes of Asians as humorless, shy, stiff, and poor at communication.

    The Psy effect is positive for Korea. Because all of a sudden people in the west are wondering where Gangnam is, what Korea is like, and many who are looking for Psy videos are finding, discovering, and liking other Korean artists in Youtubes and other forums. For example, just today, I got an email from my friend who said he heard it on his local radio in the west, this Korean language song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmBByDQHJAA

    • Patrick

      “That goes totally against all the traditional stereotypes of Asians as humorless, shy, stiff, and poor at communication.” Especially agree with this line. I can imagine things in America would have turned out a bit differently if he went on to the TV programs and bumbled around with a shy personality and poor English.

    • k

      Im glad Psy breaks thru the stupid stereotypes of asian men too……..one thig that really pisses me.off about living in the usa with an american media is how any time they refer to asian men, its always to belittle or put them.down as inferior to.white men…….I just read two recent articles about how korean men are “flower boys” who wear makeup and spend all their money on skin care and another article on how korean men have the smallest penises in the world……so wrong in so many ways….i hate how asian men are painted as girly, weak, asexual boys who cant compete with white men…..its so so so so far from true but i guess when white men control the western media thats what happens :(…..All I can do is love my korean husband :)

      • Tippy Long Stocking

        what i find completely annoying is how every asian man in american movies are kung fu masters. it’s so stupid.

        • Matt

          “Every”? Why would you make such an easily refutable statement when it’d be so easy to just add an “almost” to it, making your statement genuinely accurate?

          • k

            Because it’s the internet, Tippy probably wasn’t on his college debate team and doesn’t care about semantics. I, however, spent 3 years doing parliamentary debate on my college’s team, but genuinely sucked at it, so I left and started making Ouran High School Host Club Plushies ^_^

      • Daboonee

        Well one way of addressing this complex problem of media production, and the “white” slant + inherent colonial discourse, is to understand what “Whiteness” is…. something as an American there is little to no areas in which to critique the properties of this “thing” which has a sweeping effect on culture.

        http://www.amazon.com/Working-Toward-Whiteness-Americas-Immigrants/dp/0465070736

        America is a nation of immigrants, no one came here “white”, up until the 1940s the idea that you could homogenize people as unique and different from each other as say Italians and Polish, into one category of ethnicity, was a ridiculous idea my sociologist of the time. Yet, it happened.

        It isn’t just “Whiteness”, its Black, Asian,Latino. In America, a Mexican and Argentinian come and *poof* as if by some form of magic they become the same “thing”, the same ethnicity. Same as Korean and Japanese. Us who have lived in Korea know the tension between the two cultures, and how unique each one is from each other, but in America *poof* they become Asian.The accepted term for this would be pan-ethnicity. It is a very North American phenomenon.

        BUT Whiteness is the most allusive category of all. As other people have said, it is an arbitrator beyond arbitration. Meaning, it is the standard and judge of culture – but never lets itself be judged or criticized – it hides from its own undoing in the collective American culture. To really get at the bullshit we Americans who have been abroad, exist in multicultural relationships, and denounce racism and ethnocentrism…. you must unpack and deconstruct what the history of “white” identity is.

  • Yorgo

    and despite it all, korea still has no music scene to speak of. no music listeners, collectors, concert-goers. just this kind of shit.

    • Passerby

      Dunno about collectors but listeners and concert-goers do exist in a sizable sum.

    • k

      They have concerts in Korea…..every time I’d turn on the TV, there were always some kpop groups dancing around with twirling lights…..and not true about collectors, cause one time I was out drinking in Slimdong (slang term I came up with for an area close to my apartment) and there was an American rock n’ roll bar there, and the owners were a husband and wife duo and they had over 10,000 Western Rock N’ Roll records, actual records, not CDs. It was awesome, I got to listen to my favorite bands :) And they frequently shared on the house the best whiskey they had with me and my husband :)

  • Cleo

    Oh really, Gangnam Style is about Don Quixote?

  • Cleo

    “Bird” sounds nothing like the message in the lyrics. I NEVER want to know about Korean intimacy – those Kim Ki Duk movies are TOO MUCH for me! – but these lyrics seem very Korean to me:

    English Translation:
    My past love, my past person
    Sometimes, I ask how you’re doing to myself
    Then I smile by myself
    I pour out the faded memories of back then in this empty glass
    The glass fills and overflows
    I drink my memories
    Those memories are bitter but delicious
    We were stronger than most strong liquors back then
    Even after seeing you and seeing you, I missed you
    Even after loving you and loving you, we were hungry for each other
    I was thirsty
    We were so good, there was no reason for us to break up

    Why did we do that? We didn’t know love back then
    We didn’t know that love was love
    I draw you out by myself
    If only we didn’t break up

    What would it have been like (back then if I)
    What would it have been like (I held onto you)
    What would it have been like (would we have been happier than right now)
    What would it have been like (On the last day)
    What would it have been like (If I hugged you)
    What would it have been like (Would we have been together till now?)

    The morning after we stayed up all night
    I jolted awake and closed the window
    As if we were the birds out the window, children who don’t want to go to sleep, like elementary students
    Even though no one was there, we whispered to each other without anyone knowing, so no one can hear us
    Back then, our temperature was hotter than the equator down below
    We got angry, we burned up even though it wasn’t a cold
    If I place my ears on any part of your body, I heard your pulse
    I still hear your sound of that day

    Why did we do that? We didn’t know love back then
    We didn’t know that love was love
    I draw you out by myself
    If only we didn’t break up

    What would it have been like (back then if I)
    What would it have been like (I held onto you)
    What would it have been like (would we have been happier than right now)
    What would it have been like (On the last day)
    What would it have been like (If I hugged you)
    What would it have been like (Would we have been together till now?)

    You don’t live before my eyes but
    You live when I close them
    In another person’s arms,
    Thinking the same memories
    You’re not by my side but
    My body remembers you
    In another person’s arms,
    Thinking the same memories

    Why did we do that? We didn’t know love back then
    We didn’t know that love was love
    I draw you out by myself
    If only we didn’t break up

    What would it have been like (back then if I)
    What would it have been like (I held onto you)
    What would it have been like (would we have been happier than right now)
    What would it have been like (On the last day)
    What would it have been like (If I hugged you)
    What would it have been like (Would we have been together till now?)

    Read more: http://www.kpoplyrics.net/psy-what-would-it-have-been-like-lyrics-english-romanized.html#ixzz28GBsgm24
    Follow us: @kpoplyrics_net on Twitter | kpoplyricsnet on Facebook

    • Cleo

      “In another person’s arms”

      Kakakaka!

  • Cleo

    Koreans really have their own style and charm and strength. They don’t need to copy Pussycat Girls or anyone else.

    • Jennster

      I agree.

  • Gabrielle

    I’m a bit over Gangnam Style, it has been 4 months and seeing my friends from back home discovering it 1 month ago was a little bit disconcerting, but oh well…

    Now, what I really interested about is how Korean majors will respond to that. From what I get, they have no clue why Gangnam Style became popular in the Europe and NA, why that, why him, why now – especially that they had put so much money into lauching SNSD and before them Rain in those markets.

    I can’t wait to see the kind of PSY copycats they will come up with.

    • Yu Bumsuk

      That’s been very much my experience, too. Some of my students were asking me why he’s so popular in America, after I showed them the Ohio University Marching 110 version. They’re very proud of him, but at the same time dumbfounded. And you’re right that he’ll probably become a model to follow. If that means solo acts instead of boy and girl groups, artists who write their own music and come up with their ideas themselves, not having to be a particularly great dancer, and not having to fit an ideal of beauty, that just might be a great thing for Korean music.

    • Chucky3176

      Actually no. SNSD was never promoted heavily. SM Entertainment dabbled in it to test the market, but not beyond that. The market dynamics were too different. The money was exactly the reason why they dropped the promotion in the US. It would have meant losing lucrative appearances on TV in Korea and Japan, for uncertainty in the US where sources of revenue is completely different for pop stars. Read the edition of New Yorker magazine that appeared few days ago, why KPOP is reluctant to expand in the west. They had a write up of SNSD who were judged by an American entertainment company to be marketable in America, but SNSD management decided they couldn’t drop out of Korea and Japan to tour America – like how the Wondergirls did, to their own detriment to their careers.

  • Chucky3176

    Japanese are not impressed though. Thousands of comments, about 100% of them are saying negative stuff about Koreans supposedly making up stuff, by clicking F5 and counting up the youtube numbers, when PSY isn’t even popular anywhere (as they claim). I don’t know if it’s really Galapasgos symptoms (therefore they really believe the nonsense they spew), or they’re really raging behind the computer screens because the kid next to them, whom they had made fun of, for number of years, is all of a sudden becomes popular with the girls. I’ve been reading their internet responses towards Korean topics for number of years, and it’s par for the course.

    http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20121008-00000023-cnippou-kr

    • Passerby

      Yup I saw that. It would be hilarious if we had something like JapanSmash that translates such comments. Their desperate denial is amusing. But no native Japanese speaker in their right mind would be willing to do that to make Japan look horrible although it’s the loud nationalistic netizens.

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