20140610_seoulbeats_psy_snoopdoggPsy is back with his latest single “Hangover.” Featuring Snoop Dogg (or is it Snoop Lion — Psy’s official video currently lists it as Snoop Dogg), this video and song first premiered on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Both Snoop and Psy contributed to a few key sketches on that show, and the MV is filled with the crazy and exaggerated antics we have come to expect from Psy. Since the viral and breakout global success of “Gangnam Style” which recently surpassed a staggering 2 billion views on YouTube, Psy’s style of satirization of pop culture though his art continues to be expounded with this latest MV.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkMNOlYcpHg]

The major aspect of “Hangover” that struck me the first time I heard it was how prominent Snoop’s role was in the song. He handles three major rap verses and is in almost every scene in the MV. Shot over an 18 hour period in South Korea, Snoop mentioned that it felt like he was in a big production action film while filming this video. In the MV, they both play a dual role in enjoying the night life and drinking culture of South Korea as they down a variety of alcoholic beverages. The catchy “Hangover Hangover Hangover” refrain is a bit grating at first, but its repetition is an earworm. Within a few plays, the songs rousing chants become ingrained in your ear.

The production and writing on the song sounds like it was made for the clubs. It is a summer dance stomper with a prominent horn section at the helm to get people up and dancing along with the beat. If there were ever a song with crossover pop potential, then this is it. Both parties contributions to the song work cohesively on this track. It may be a bit surprising given that Psy mentioned how he and Snoop worked on the track mostly online. The lyrics appear fairly straightforward —  at face value, they are about getting drunk, partying, and repeating this cycle. The glamorized view of drinking is almost egregious, but could these lyrics actually be a veil for a deeper set of social commentary through imploring why society gets wasted? The addictive lifestyle is mentioned in the lyrics:

“And I can’t quit

I wake up in the morning do the same shit.”

It may very well be overanalyzation of a simple pop tune, but I suppose that is something left for the audience to decide.

20140610_seoulbeats_psy2The video itself is a work of comedic art. Psy and Snoop play buddies experiencing in a fun filled night after getting intoxicated. They do not care about the repercussions for being drunk and deal with a few tropes in the video which works well because of the level of commitment they both have in their roles. At the start of the MV, Snoop emerges from the bathtub and helps Psy who is hunched over a toilet. There are a lot of different images to take in like sensory disentanglement during the karaoke scene. After connecting with some middle-aged women, Psy hallucinates and sees them as younger women. These scenes and the mayhem of the ending of the MV are examples how Psy’s videos typically utilize exaggeration to induce humor. It is extremely entertaining because of how meta the whole MV is. The people and scenarios never seem too serious, and scenes where things seem to reach hyperbolic lengths become mitigated through its own sense of self-awareness – such as when leaves fall and huge gusts of wind blow towards Psy.

Also, as a trend continued here, there were a few guest appearances. The noticeable ones are G-Dragon and CL who add to the MV with their roles as tertiary Easter eggs. G-Dragon plays a person who joins Psy and Snoop at the Karaoke room. CL dances along while Snoop and Psy are sizing each other up while in a martial arts dojo. These low key appearances will undoubtedly be nice little surprises for K-pop fans. While they may not be as integral to the storyline as Ga-in was to “Gentleman” or Hyuna to “Gangnam Style,” they work because the real co-star this time around is Snoop Dogg. He is unrestrained and really seems to be enjoying himself throughout their night of drinking and partying.

20140531_seoulbeats_psy_snoop-doggOverall, this music video has a lot going for it. There were nice little animations of the city at the start of the MV. The dancing was limited to the backup girls who were twerking during the horn section, but it seemed to fit nicely in this jam packed video. The different settings where Psy and Snoop Dogg partied at felt very full of life. Hints of specific Korean drinking traditions along with types of food, pastimes, and drinking-specific customs are showcased throughout. I would be remiss to not mention how South Korea wants to be represented through this video, since there has been heavy criticism against the representations of drinking shown in this MV. Because Psy has become such a phenomenon, his work will bear a burden of representing his country. The excessive drinking and stylization of their drinking culture can come across as insensitive in light of South Korea’s issues involving heavy drinking. There have definitely been mixed reactions from netizens regarding the content of the song and video. While, the song itself is a catchy affair, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (including mine). However, there was a lot of entertaining points to this video. It is a worthwhile watch and has already amassed over 26 million views as of writing this piece. It also seems like Psy will have a new single entitled “Daddy” to be released later this summer. Did you like this collaboration between Psy and Snoop Dogg? Does this seem like a track made for a global audience versus a K-pop specific audience?

MV Rating: 3.5/5

(YouTube [1][2], YG Entertainment, Lyrics via Popgasa, Quartz)