From 2 years of break,star Psy (short for Psycho) is back with his 6th album ‘PSY6′. The album’s weighty title song ‘Gangnam Style’ is composed solely by PSY himself from lyrics to choreography, has been raging across the world.
It has racked up 277 millionviews as of this writing and is the number one song downloaded on . Psy himself has been on a media tear in the and has appeared on the , Ellen (twice), and Saturday Night Live.
And get ready to see more of him, because he has signed with, the man who made stars of and .
The words “gang” and “nam” literally mean “south of the river,” but Gangnam with a capital G is an upscale neighborhood of Seoul (you guessed it) on the south side of the river. As the Mount Morris Park of South Korea’s biggest city, it also occupies a psychic place in the minds of Korea’s 99% and represents the luxurious life for which they strive.
The neighborhood is just seven square miles but holds 7% of Korea’s GDP. For comparison, New York state, which is 3,000 times the size of Gangnam holds 7% of U.S. GDP. Forty-one percent of students at the nation’s most prestigious college, Seoul University, come from Gangnam, which in the U.S., would be like having 41% of Harvard students come from Harlem.
The neighborhood is full of high-rise apartment buildings, high-end department stores, the city’s trendiest boutiques and hottest clubs, and a lot of plastic surgery clinics. As U.S.-based Korean blogger Jae Kim says in her analysis of the song, “In short, it’s like the U.S. Upper East Side plus Beverly Hills minus tradition; or I’d rather say it’s more like ‘Dubai’”-and here, she refers to the area’s recent development-”built on Korean cabbage and Korean pear fields.”
But Psy’s rendering of “Gangnam Style” highlights the superficiality of this dream. In the opening scene, Psy is lounging on a beach, dreaming he is being fanned by a beautiful girl. As the camera pans out, you realize he is actually lying on a chair in a sandy children’s playground.
And indeed, spending more than you can afford seems to be the trend in Korea, Harlem and the world. The Financial Times reports that household debt in South Korea has reached a perilous high: 155% of disposable income, which is higher than the U.S. figure before the subprime mortgage crisis (138%).
As Psy shows as he traipses around Gangnam, the more we try to live lives outside of our means, the more ridiculous we look-while also probably feeling worse about ourselves: Psy himself said of his experience filming the ridiculous scenes in “Gangnam Style,” “Human society is so hollow, and even while filming I felt pathetic. Each frame by frame was hollow.”
Here’s the video “Gangnam Style”: