Posted on November 12, 2012 AT 07:55pm
Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Owl City, The “South African” guy from Ark Music… all examples of current pop music that has one thing in common. They’re not PSY, and they don’t have the actual quality that makes Pop music good. Sure, they’ve sold a lot of records and they’ve toured the world. They’ve even made a metric f***ton of money in the process. That’s fantastic, in fact, I find it admirable that people work so very hard to separate fools from their money and CLEAN UP at it. That however, doesn’t make them good pop artists by a long shot.
“…So, Oslo, you (Insert terrible insult here)! What makes PSY, this seemingly random korean pop sensation, so much better? What makes him a legit pop artist?” Well… take into consideration the general response that all of those dorks I mentioned in the first line usually get. They sell a lot of records, but they also make a LOT of people absolutely pissed when their music is played. The mere mention of some of them almost grants you a punch in the face. (If you’re a DJ, I’m sure you’ve resisted the urge to punch someone in the face for requesting any of it.) Yet when PSY dropped Gangnam Style with a video on Youtube and it exploded… there was less of that anger that a lot of people had towards a lot of western pop icons. My friend, Prince enthusiast and artist extraordinaire, Alex Cherry, even went as far as to call him a “one man Beatles”. I thought it was weird, but it makes sense. First off, He’s foreign, and over here in the western world… we tend to go “derp” over anything with a foreign accent. Just the fact that he’s from someplace else gives off this vibe of “otherness” about him that gets people paying attention. That was one of the main draws to the Beatles back in the 60′s. A bunch of handsome dudes from the UK with different attitudes and exotic accents.
Alex also brought up the point that PSY is also very smart. He speaks English fluently, produced the song himself and choreographed the dance moves himself. How many of the current western pop icons do you know of produce their own tracks or choreograph their own dance moves? There’s also something about how he carries himself, like he knows what he’s doing most, if not all the time. He went to Berklee College of Music in Boston and while he didn’t attain a degree at that college, it speaks volumes for his capabilities. In the Western music realm, he totally fits in without being manufactured. His music doesn’t piss off a crowd of people by being illegitimate (like Soulja Boy), It’s clean, but even then unless you speak Korean, it ultimately doesn’t matter. It’s catchiness is in it’s music and a FEW words: “Hey, Sexy Ladies” and “Oppan Gangnam Style”. If you were really trying to dig for a message, it’s simple; It’s a song about hitting on girls. “Oppan” being a word used by women to refer to an older male friend or “big brother. “Gangnam Style” is a symbol of flashy high-life in South Korea; essentially saying: “Heyyyyy, Sexy Ladies! I’m Rich!” or for the sake of being more accurate “Hey, sexy ladies! Big Brother is Gangnam Style!” This nifty blogspot even breaks it down for you.
All of that good stuff aside, there’s one kicker to all of this. He’s an older artist at about 34 years old and he’s been doing music for about 10 years with success in South Korea. Think about that for a moment… It’s a kick in the privates to anyone who says “This industry is for the young.” The man is 34 years old, made a pop song that DOESN’T piss people off, has been in the game for 10 years and is having IMPORTANT people request him by name. Even going as far as having a sold out speech at the Oxford Union in England. Nobody is asking Bieber to do a speech at Oxford. No one at the U.N. is trying to get in touch with Carly Rae Jepson OR Katy Perry. He didn’t have people writing music for him and ALREADY he’s got producers lining up to work with him. I’m not even a fan of his music and you know what? His music doesn’t make me cringe. I’m a friggin Metal elitist that embraces noise more than Linus keeps his security blanket with him and this doesn’t bother me ONE little bit. Think about that… everyone that currently works in the pop music industry and hasn’t figured out what PSY has figured out should hang their heads in shame. There’s no target demographic here and very little sweating over a formulaic hit. It’s just a matter of NOT SUCKING AT WHAT YOU DO. As far as it’s all concerned: I for one welcome our horse-dancing South Korean pop overlord.
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