Blog: My battle to avoid ‘Gangnam Style’

This latest dance-pop song craze Gangnam Style has just become the most watched video on Youtube, surpassing Justin Bieber’s Baby. Yes, almost a fifth of the world’s population has watched these two awful excuses for ‘music’ which are apparently “forces for change”. I’m proud to say I’m not in that statistic.

Gangnam Style’ – sounds like a form of martial arts to me, or some kind of tantric sex repertoire.

Oh, it’s a song? Really? I never knew.

Honestly, I never knew this until a week or so ago. A few months ago, a video featuring the BBC Formula One presenters parodying a “new dance craze” was broadcast on during the coverage of the South Korean race. Most viewers probably assumed it was some semi-racist South Korean skit they were performing, but with the BBC already caught up in paedophilia at that point, it would be stupid to embrace racism too.

I had no idea what the meaning of the feature was, and neither did a lot of fans. So research began, this time in the form of my ever reliable and supremely knowledgeable girlfriend. Turns out she did not know what ‘Gangnam Style’ was either but, apparently, it involved some people dancing like an epileptic jockey in a lightning storm.

So what is ‘Gangnam Style’?

Let’s first analyse the video itself. Well this is tough to explain without actually watching the Youtube sensation, but I refuse to be swallowed by conformity. But, as far as I understand from pictures and audio, it is a rather simplistic ‘K-Pop’ dance song by a guy named PSY – a guy who either cannot write in lower-case, or insists on his name being shouted all the time.

From stills, I’ve identified what appears to be an obscure video of a Kim Jong-Un double perfecting a dance move which is somewhere between The Cossack and a seizure.

From audio, the song seems simple enough – a distorted, overly tampered keyboard riff which is repeated heavily over the typical bass-cymbal drumbeat of dance music throughout history, riddled with shouted verse, and the repeated refrain of “sexy lady.

Some rather strange extras seem to appear at some point and are infected by the dance, and they all appear to join in with this hysteria which seems somewhat banal and moronic.

Of course I’m being flippant, and PSY himself though explains what the meaning of it really is:

“People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are—it’s only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are “Gangnam Style”—so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not.”

On the surface, quite a decent idea then. And with endorsement from Amnesty International and the United Nations as a “song for peace”, it all seems well-mannered. Credit where it is due, PSY really has done something to pull people together across the world.

Yet for me, I do not see it as such. It is just another craze for the masses, another readily available visual drug to induce a sense of change without actually presenting a force for change. Well done PSY – you’ve even inadvertently fooled the UN.

Maybe I am some kind of old fun-hating fool, maybe I am just being awkward, but I have no desire to watch this rather stupid craze. To me, this is not change. It is fun maybe, but seeing that the top Youtube charts are full of music videos and rather awful fakeries makes me shudder somewhat, especially when this song is considered a force for world peace. (source 1, source 2)

Writing a song does not change the world. It never has and never will. Social activism however will. There are far more enlightening pieces out there – just watch the recent global ‘Why Poverty?’ season to see what I mean.

A killjoy? Maybe I am. But a better informed one? I like to think so.

Words: Ashley Scrace

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