• pandasaurus

    PSY is cheezy and funny and not altogether bad looking – we get it!  And THAT’s exactly why we love him.  On a radio show interview, he said he never thought he’d become a kpop star – even though he’s been doing this for nearly 16(?) years.  He’s right.  He’s not part of the kpop scene.  So regardless, he’ll survive – even if kpop doesn’t.

  • shalom69

     Dana, let’s cut to the chase and talk about why Psy is popular.  In short.  All the things you’re insecure about… you are right.

    For context consider that MORE views of Gangnam Style come from the US than Korea.  And more views come from the West (USA+Europe plus a smattering of South America) than from Asia.

    Then consider the demographics.  The vast majority of pop music is driven by teen girls.  This goes not only for Justin Bieber and Carly Rae but all pop music.  Look at the counts for Akon… hardly a girly song, it’s misogynistic if anything.  But the top view come from girl 13-17.  All pop music is like that… going all the way back to “Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra and Elvis to the Jackson 5 to even the Beatles.

    Kpop is also driven by girls.  It’s a fact.  Girl Groups like SNSD and boy bands like Big Bang are driven first and foremost by girls.  But Gangnam Style is different.  It’s primarily been driven by reddit, 9gag, 4chan and other domains of young males.  It’s passed around on Starcraft and League of Legends communities.  That is not a Kpop audience.

    You are right that Psy isn’t representative of Kpop.  Let’s face it.  Psy is a clown.  He’s popular and appealing the way that Mr. Chow and Bobby Lee are appealing to young males.  The way Lonely Island is popular.  He’s a sort of William Hung with talent.

    So your starting premise is right on the money.  There’s tremendous danger and maybe even a bit of racism in Psy’s appeal.

    But now what?

    First of all keep something in mind.  Americans, even Asian Americans operate with a very American knee jerk/short term mindset.  Take the long view.  Yes Psy is a clown.  But what type of clown is he?  Is he in on the joke?  Psy himself mentions Austin Powers and Mr Bean.  Those guys are clowns but they have OWNERSHIP of the joke so they have the power and they are respected.  There’s no question that people laugh at Gangnam Style but are they laughing at Psy or with Psy?  That’s the line that Psy has to navigate.  And it’s not going to be easy.  Keep in mind what Hollywood did to Jackie Chan… the most talented action star of all time… he could never navigate that line in the US and was repeatedly cast as the clown and eventually the American audience got bored of laughing at him.  Chan left the US altogether and wasted a good chunk of his best years making crap movies for hacks in the US who didn’t even respect him.

    Second keep in mind the TREMENDOUS RACISM that Koreans have faced and that Asian americans have faced in the US.  It’s not a recent thing.  Chinese have been lynched, excluded and marginalized for 170 years going back to the 1840s when Chinese coolies were brought over as slaves to work on railroads.  400,000 were brought over but by the 1930s only 30,000 of their descendants remained (compared to 600,000 total slaves brought over and their 45 million descendants today).  They were literally worked to death then any cultural, social and historical trace of them was wiped from the tablet of America.  Similarly there were Asian performers in Hollywood and music as early as the 1920 but they too were systematically excluded, marginalized and destroyed.  Today they are forgotten.  Today even 99.99% of Japanese Americans know the nameSessue Hayakawa.

    TO be clear Psy does not have a “good chance” to make it in the US.  He probabably doesn’t even have a FAIR CHANCE.  But he has a chance.  It’s more than any other Asian artist has had in the past 100 years in this country.  He goes on the Today show.  He goes to MTV.  This is his shot and having a shot at all… even an unfair one… is something that he has to go for.

    As for the Macarena comparison, yes they were a one hit wonder.  But it’s also clear that them getting ON THE RADIO and attuning American ears to hearing Spanish over the airwaves set the table for Ricky Martin and the Latin Explosion of the late 90s.  J Lo would not exist without Macarena.  Pit Bull would not exist without Macarena.  The best case scenario for Kpop would be along those lines.  To this day Pit Bull and other latin flavored artists have crossover hits every week on the youtube 100 and the billboard charts.  If Kpop can become a flavor of American pop music, and if ASIAN ARTISTS CAN GET OPPORTUNITIES unlike the deliberate, systematic discrimination in our country’s history then Psy will have done his job beyond all expectations.

    • Retrogirladdy

      Your point regarding the Latin Explosion of the 90′s is interesting.
      Reggaeton, has specifically helped to make in roads on American radio
      and has solidified a market with many non-Spanish speaking people.
      The brilliance of Gangnam Style goes beyond the video and into the
      song structure/beat. It’s set up perfectly to be added to Zumba playlists,
      alongside Don Omar’s Danza Kudro, Jai Ho, and other non-English songs who
      force anyone with a pulse to dance.

    • http://twitter.com/sweetgurl009 Gilda Ocampo

      I don’t agree with the macarena comparison…..JLo  is from Bronx, she barely speaks spanish. Pitball was born in Miami. I mean they are Americans ( they have a hispanic background, yes) it’s not like they are from  Spain or South America. I still don’t think that Macarena paved the way for singers like Ricky martin and Shakira to make it in the U.S.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Widney-Meridien/811237047 Widney Meridien

    http://toyotaconcertseries.today.com/_news/2012/09/14/13860081-today-goes-gangnam-style-with-psy?lite#__utma=238145375.11581810.1347638906.1347638906.1347638906.1&__utmb=238145375.3.9.1347639007528&__utmc=238145375&__utmx=-&__utmz=238145375.1347638906.1.1.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=nbc%20today%20show&__utmv=238145375.|8=Earned%20By=todayshow%7Ctoday=1^12=Landing%20Content=Mixed=1^13=Landing%20Hostname=today.msnbc.msn.com=1^30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=Earned%20to%20Mixed=1&__utmk=65153773 

    If you can’t acknowledge the revolution then I feel sorry for you. Whoever you are. Peopl are ever trying to learn the language so they can sing along. Therefore, Gangnam style did in one hit, what many of us have been trying to do for years. It introduced people, to the culture the language of Koreans. How about we all just shut up and enjoy the wonder.

  • lilibaiyu

    Unpopular opinion?? I don’t think so. Psy is a flash in the pan. There is no intrinsic talent there. The rest of the world may momentarily look and laugh at him and then forget about him. If you think this will help the cause of truly great Korean artists like Hwanhee, like Junsu, like Tim Hwang, like Park Hyo Shin… then I don’t know what to tell you.

    • mangochic

       You seriously think he has no talent? LMAO!!!

      • http://twitter.com/dds87 dechen

         and yet she/he thinks Junsu is more talented than Psy..*smh*

  • kpopfan6

    I don’t know what Seoulbeats, or anyone with similar opinions, wants tbqh.

    People say PSY is get popularity because he’s a fat Asian guy doing a funny dance and has a gimmicky song. Yet Kpop is overflowing with gimmicks and to many people it’s just random Asian people who sing and dance to cheesy songs their company wrote for them.

    Kpop in and of itself is not a form a music with much depth or meaning nowadays and it’s pretty much just as commercial (if not more so) than U.S. pop. 

    However, like the article says, at least Psy “possesses a strong command of English,… knows music, knows the music industry,…is directly involved in both the creation and performance of his material,… and is decently talented as a rapper and a performer”. So even if Kpop doesn’t get anywhere because of him, I hope the Kpop industry realizes the kind of assets Psy has and make sure their idols develop them too.

  • SamiSwanSion

    Finally, someone else said it! I agree completely, and I even made this comment the first time Gangnam Style hit sb’s pages. I EVEN USED NUMA NUMA as an example! He’s just a fad for laughs, he’ll go down in youtube history and that’s about it. He will not lead a K-revolution in the US, he will not become the anchor on Ellis Island in which all our K-favorites can finally enter the “New World.” He’ll hang out with Rebecca Black, and the like, for their one hit wonders and meme-worthy videos/performances. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheKetashiRiver Kate

    I completely agree with you. As soon as Gangnam Style went viral and people started screaming “HEYYYYY SEXY LADY!!” everywhere, I just started cringing. I agree that it’s nice that a K-Pop song has become successful, and that it IS a catchy song, but I hate that it’s popular for all the wrong reasons.

    PSY is a pretty talented artist, but there’s more to K-Pop than amusing videos with odd actions. I truly appreciate that PSY has opened the door for other groups, but I’m just hoping that those who would call themselves ‘k-poppers’ don’t find K-Pop something to laugh at with their friends, and appreciate it for the multi-dimensioned genre that it is.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/FKPK6U4PSAXYEKRMC2CEXASD5Y Bean Boop

      Oh god yes. I was going to comment saying exactly this, You took the words right out of my mouth! Thank you for this, really. It’s so true.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZLPSC43DBXWJERPSP3L25HY7WA Euri

    To me, it seems like people aren’t liking Kpop at all. They just think it’s some pudgy, asian guy dancing like a horse. At my school only a few (like, 3) people knew of Kpop before Gangnam Style became viral. And now, all we hear is ‘Oppan Gangnam style!’ all the way down the hallway. At first, I was on board with Kpop getting big in America. But now, it’s like they’re taking it as a joke. And when someone who’s only heard Gangnam Style claims they like Kpop, ask them to name 3 other songs NOT related to GS. Gets ‘em every time.

  • jesuis2

    I’m afraid Psy is just a novelty (the funny looking Asian guy w/ the funny dance) act w/ a catchy tune.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VHVSMSHFAZ5EOZPCIJ4IO2IS2Q Elle

    After watching Psy’s Gangnam Style video a few times, I got curious about K-Pop and watched some stuff on Youtube.  I like it.  But they look like a bunch of girl bands and boy bands with cute outfits and shiny, happy sets.  Creative, yes.  Original, no.  Psy is original, he paid his dues, and like it or not, he may be the one to introduce K-Pop to the U.S. and the world.  Give credit where credit is due.  He’s smart, he’s talented, and he’s funny.  Did he not feature a number of other Korean artists, dancers, comedians, and singers in his phenomenally popular video?  Then he is generous, too.  Psy will outlast K-Pop.  He deserves to.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VHVSMSHFAZ5EOZPCIJ4IO2IS2Q Elle

    Psy is to Korean pop music & dance as Jackie Chan is to Chinese martial arts.
    China owes a debt of gratitude to Jackie Chan.  Korea owes a debt of gratitude to Psy.

  • Moniisek

    I watched Gangam Style when it had about 500,000 views. I didn’t like the song and that was it (it’s just nothing like the typical idol MV). And then suddenly, people in my school started to scream oppaaaaa!! (not even caring to know what it actually means) and they even showed me a parody about it in my language. I almost cried! There’s quite a large ethnic minority of Vietnamese people in my country who became the target of rasistic jokes in this gangam style parody. So it’s just like in this article. A guy with slanted eyes making the fool of himslef is exactly what the westerner wants to laugh at.

  • Sonia Knapp

    After 10 years in Korea I still hate Kpop (and for that matter Jpop and USofApop). . . but I respect Psy (Gangnam Style is getting a little old). Most westerners, including myself, appreciate that he is the master of, and clearly in on, the parody and satire. . .  all the pull aways. . . the nods to the pretty boys and girlies that Psy has never been. I think it’s harder for Asians (Koreans) to imagine this one-of-a-kind, hardworking star to shine brighter than their shiny over packed fluff. One need only to see the humility, grace and humor with which Psy can handle any interviewer. He doesn’t have canned memorized answers and comes across as genuine and likable. No other Kpop artist has accomplished that in English (and few, if any in Korean!)

  • Sonia Knapp

    After 10 years in Korea I still hate Kpop (and for that matter Jpop and USofApop). . . but I respect Psy (Gangnam Style is getting a little old). Most westerners, including myself, appreciate that he is the master of, and clearly in on, the parody and satire. . .  all the pull aways. . . the nods to the pretty boys and girlies that Psy has never been. I think it’s harder for Asians (Koreans) to imagine this one-of-a-kind, hardworking star to shine brighter than their shiny over packed fluff. One need only to see the humility, grace and humor with which Psy can handle any interviewer. He doesn’t have canned memorized answers and comes across as genuine and likable. No other Kpop artist has accomplished that in English (and few, if any in Korean!)

    • NoctLightCloud

      you live in Korea but don’t like Kpop?….woah, I pitty you then, must be hard for you sometimes. But “hate” is a strong word, I hope you know that ;-/

  • j j

    His 3 minutes of fame is almost over, and it might end badly after all those choice words about killing Yankees. And now he makes it worse saying his words were ‘misinterpreted’. Pray Psy that the gods don’t take away your fame! 

  • hittingbottom

    I think, by virtue of everything you’ve described in your article, that Psy HAS done a massive favor for K-Pop. He’s the one who broke the mould of the generic, superficial crap that’s pumped out by the Korean entertainment-industrial complex (and let’s not forget that this is exactly where most K-Pop comes from). I’m speaking as a Korean who splits her time between Korea and the US, so I’ve been able to see this whole phenomenon unfold from both sets of perspectives. From what I can tell, he’s shown the rest of the world that Korean pop music, and at least certain pockets of our culture, are capable of self-critique, introspection, and complexity and hell, just being different. When the was the last time SNSD or Big Bang did that? As others before me have said, Psy actually has the potential to outlast K-Pop. Good for him; he’s done well.

  • hittingbottom

    I think, by virtue of everything you’ve described in your article, that Psy HAS done a massive favor for K-Pop. He’s the one who broke the mould of the generic, superficial crap that’s pumped out by the Korean entertainment-industrial complex (and let’s not forget that this is exactly where most K-Pop comes from). I’m speaking as a Korean who splits her time between Korea and the US, so I’ve been able to see this whole phenomenon unfold from both sets of perspectives. From what I can tell, he’s shown the rest of the world that Korean pop music, and at least certain pockets of our culture, are capable of self-critique, introspection, and complexity and hell, just being different. When the was the last time SNSD or Big Bang did that? As others before me have said, Psy actually has the potential to outlast K-Pop. Good for him; he’s done well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1561522305 Jarla Garrett

    K-pop is not that well known or liked in the US because most people dont understand what they are saying and think the guys are very feminine which women here like masculinity and dominance which they seem to “Lack” and the women are baby face drama Queens period point blank. I like it and accidentally stumbled upon the world of K-pop in late June early July. I am fond of both feminine and manly guys which k-pop is clearly looked at as feminine but to be honest I’m more so into their Culture,movies,and dramas than music, I do like a good amount of Kpop, but I watch some kinda of Korean movie and/or drama everyday but their music is a different story. and this PSY thing I honestly think it could go either way, it can be the hype for now and then just die down and only be heard of once in a blue moon or it could be the path for other K-pop stars in America you never no so dont Prejudge! All I have to say is I hope one day Koreans/K-pop’s talent will be acknowledged and they get their shine. K-pop FIGHTING! <3

    From a Black,Indian/Native American K-pop fan <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1561522305 Jarla Garrett

    K-pop is not that well known or liked in the US because most people dont understand what they are saying and think the guys are very feminine which women here like masculinity and dominance which they seem to “Lack” and the women are baby face drama Queens period point blank. I like it and accidentally stumbled upon the world of K-pop in late June early July. I am fond of both feminine and manly guys which k-pop is clearly looked at as feminine but to be honest I’m more so into their Culture,movies,and dramas than music, I do like a good amount of Kpop, but I watch some kinda of Korean movie and/or drama everyday but their music is a different story. and this PSY thing I honestly think it could go either way, it can be the hype for now and then just die down and only be heard of once in a blue moon or it could be the path for other K-pop stars in America you never no so dont Prejudge! All I have to say is I hope one day Koreans/K-pop’s talent will be acknowledged and they get their shine. K-pop FIGHTING! <3

    From a Black,Indian/Native American K-pop fan <3