Korean Rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style has been blazing the viral trails. It’s got him a fantastic amount of attention and has made his sixth album a smash hit. The popularity of the video and song has inspired a variety of blog posts, articles by both The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal.
It shocks me that despite the abundance of highly crafted pop groups and cultivated Hip Hop and Indie music in Korea (with lots of style and stylish videos) that this song and video has struck a cord with people around the world. Kpop artists do hold shows worldwide, in specific areas (i.e. Hollywood Bowl, Las Vegas, New York, DC (DC is a little rare), Paris, London, etc). However, this song has taken off - 70,000,000 views. It’s got a catchy way about it but it’s also subversive (and more complex of a background). Gangnam is this very well-to-do area in Seoul. If you are curious about the background of the video, check this blog out: http://mydearkorea.blogspot.com/2012/08/korean-music-psys-gangnam-style-and.html
Psy’s not the typical Korean act because he’s not considered to be an attractive guy (shouldn’t matter but…oh well) and he’s got into trouble before 1) being busted for drugs and 2) trying to get out of mandatory military service. However, he’s survived and endured because of his talent. Actually, he is considered to be a good rapper.
And honestly, the last several years, things around the world have seemed grim and a little gloomy – it’s good to see a video that’s light-hearted and fun. There’s no pretense about it. Additionally, I want to see more International acts break out in the States and worldwide, but especially The States. The reason being that outside of British acts having success in the US, there’s not lot of International Artists that have a popular foothold in the US. Korean Pop really has a lot to offer as well as German Rock.
The Internet makes International music more accessible and just because you aren’t seeing acts like 2ne1 becoming as successful (yet!) as mainstream acts like Beyonce, Maroon 5, Coldplay etc doesn’t mean they don’t have a loyal stateside that isn’t culturally homogenized. 2ne1 has fans from many backgrounds.
One may say that language is the old barrier. However, Psy has managed to tip the acceptance scale.
Nonetheless, I hope Korean Pop invades the American music market more because Pop needs an injection of something new. It’s grown a bit tiresome.
My current favorite girl group is 2ne1/투애니원. YG Entertainment (home of Big Bang and… Psy) brought them out in 2009. It’s been fun watching them grow and change. I totally admit I like all the girls, but I really like CL.
Their new Japanese single on AVEX :