Sunday September 2, 2012
World domination, Gangnam Style
By SETO KIT YAN
The Gangnam Style frenzy gallops across the globe.
Op Op Op Op Oppa Gangnam Style! That’s right, Malaysians have well and truly caught Gangnam fever. If you haven’t heard about it yet, then it’s time to wake up and trot over to YouTube and saddle up for a new sensation. South Korean entertainer Psy’s original music video, Gangnam Style, currently ranks No.1 on YouTube where it has already notched an astronomical 78 million hits since it was released on July 15; the song has also topped Billboard’s K-pop Hot 100 for the fifth consecutive week.
Ever since Gangnam Style started spreading like wildfire and winning fans all over the world, it also began spawning parody videos galore. Here in Malaysia, our multi-racial folks have come up with local versions of the viral hit complete with videos to show off our homeland and culture. Some of them look set to hit a million views.
In keeping with the spirit of Raya, for example, some Malaysians even celebrated Hari Raya in Gangnam Style. Suasana Gangnam Raya is not so much a parody video but more a home video showing how the 60-member extended family of Rohiman Haroon, 51, celebrated this year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Their video combines Suasana Hari Raya (made famous by Anuar and Elina) with Psy’s Gangnam Style. Made by ACTH (short for Anak Cucu Tok Haroon) Clan Fankrew, the video shows Tok Haroon’s family preparing food and gathering to celebrate, when they “berjoget” in Gangnam Style.
Local English radio station FLY FM also has done a version of what it calls “Super Kampung Style” with funny lyrics in English and Malay. The video features a group of deejays singing about the goodies in their respective Malay/Chinese/Indian kampungs in Kelantan, Kampar and Klang.
Chinese entertainment programme 8E-news TV hosts Orange, Rickman and Wind also did a tongue-in-cheek cover of Gangnam Style, with a Kuala Lumpur city twist. The trio goes “horse riding” through Petaling Street, in front of the Petronas Twin Towers, outside a traditional “Gunting Rambut” barber shop, all while featuring local knickknacks including cardboard cutouts of cartoon characters Upin and Ipin, as well as a cartful of Malaysia’s king of fruit, the durian.
And, would you believe it? Someone even did the Gangnam Style at his own wedding. Hailing from Sabah is “Sunny’s Wedding Style”, a 14-minute wedding video which includes a part where the groom Sunny and his buddies go and get his bride Sanny and her friends in Gangnam Style.
Outside Malaysia, there are numerous interesting videos to check out too, including regional Korean parodies like “Daegu Style” and “Hongdae Style” to tributes created by lip-syncing music fans in Singapore and the United States (look for Chicago Style, San Francisco Style and the Nicki Minaj mashup on YouTube); the strange horse dance has also been receiving media coverage in Canada, Germany, France and other European countries.
According to online site knowyourmeme.com, the song’s hook “Oppan Gangnam Style” became a joke among English-speaking listeners as its lyrics were mistakenly referred to as “Open Condom Style” or “Open Gundam Style.” The same site says that the term “Gangnam Style” is, in fact, a new term coined in South Korea to describe upscale fashion and the lavish lifestyles associated with trendsetters in the Gangnam district, an affluent part of metropolitan Seoul.
According to the Wall Street Journal online, Gangnam is “a 38sqkm neighbourhood whose astronomically pricey real estate makes it more valuable than all of Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, put together.”
Psy, who is making a comeback with his sixth studio album PSY 6, after a two-year hiatus, confessed that he never expected Gangnam Style to have such a a global impact. The rapper only meant it for his fellow South Koreans.
Whether it’s the silly music video, bizarre dance craze or quirky social satire, people started to sit up and take notice when US blog site Gawker wrote about it. The title of that posting: “Did This Underground Hip Hop Artist from South Korea Just Release the Best Music Video of the Year?” seemed to pique the public’s interest.
Already featured twice on CNN, Psy was also interviewed on American cable television network VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live recently, teaching hosts Carrie Keagan and Jason Dundas how to do the horse-riding dance.
Even more exciting for him was the recognition from prominent singers in the West. When Katy Perry tweeted “Help, I’m in a gangnam style k-hole,” Psy was so psyched that he personally replied “I...I’m the very ‘PSY’ of the video. K k. This is a H~~~uge pleasure to be introduced by U~!!!”
This week alone, Britney Spears, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ryan Seacrest have made some mention of Gangnam Style.
Most recently, Spears shared the video on her official Facebook page saying: “I am LOVING this video – so fun! Thinking that I should possibly learn the choreography. Anybody wanna teach me?! haha.
After raving about Psy’s video at a press conference to promote her album, Nelly Furtado became the first big name Western celebrity to cover Psy’s hit when she performed an English version of Gangnam Style during her recent concert in Manila on Aug 16.
One of the earliest celebrities to tweet about Psy’s infectious video was British opera singer Josh Groban, who on July 31 posted a link to the video and said, “It’s a Gangnam Style world, we’re just living in it. Amazing video.”
Psy who styles himself as a jokester, never imagined breaking into the US market, much less have celebrities tweet about him. “This is a joke. This isn’t happening, I never expect things like this, not because they are top stars, but because this is the biggest market in the universe for pop music, right, so everybody’s dreaming about appearing in the US.”
Psy has revealed that even his own bosses have begun treating him differently, now that he’s got the world’s attention.
Meanwhile, as the Gangnam Style dance craze continues to build up, flash mobs are being triggered all over the world (such as the one at the Forever 21 apparel store at Pasadena, California; or Manifest 2012, short for Melbourne Anime Festival; the Korean Film Festival 2012 March in Sydney, Australia, and the “My Gangnam Style” flash mob at the Saranghaeyo Korea Festival being celebrated right here in Malaysia today! The festival is at Hotel Istana, KL, from 10am-2pm.)
And, watch out, bosses now also want to do their hiring Gangnam Style! Earlier this week, Game Spot UK even tweeted a vacancy reading: “We’re on the hunt for a Features Editor. WARNING! All applicants must be able to break it down, Gangnam Style.
It looks like Gangnam Style has made its presence very much felt and if you haven’t learnt how to ride the horse wave yet, it’s not too late to go for some riding lessons.
Now where’s my imaginary lasso?
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Honey, I’m off to Seoul’s Beverly Hills