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File: Gangnam Style
"Gangnam Style" is a K-pop single by South Korean musician PSY.
The song was released on July 15, 2012, as the lead single of his sixth studio album PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1. "Gangnam Style" debuted at number one on the Gaon Chart, the national record chart of South Korea. As of December 18, 2012, the music video has been viewed over 971 million times on YouTube, and is the site's most watched video after surpassing Justin Bieber's single "Baby".
The phrase "Gangnam Style" is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul. The song and its accompanying music video went viral in August 2012 and have influenced popular culture since then. "Gangnam Style" received mixed to positive reviews, with praise going to its catchy beat and PSY's amusing dance moves in the music video and during live performances in various locations such as Madison Square Garden, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Samsung commercials. On September 20, 2012, "Gangnam Style" was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most "liked" video in YouTube history. It subsequently won Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards held later that year.
It became a source of parodies and reaction videos by many different groups and organizations, including the British Forces Broadcasting Service in Afghanistan, the American space agency NASA, and the North Korean government. By the end of 2012, the song had reached the number one position in more than 30 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Although the song's reception in Japan remained lukewarm, the song topped China's Baidu 500 download list and was labelled by state-controlled media as having a "divine melody."
As the song continued to rapidly gain popularity and ubiquity, its signature dance moves were performed by many business and political leaders such as Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Australia's former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who hailed the song as a "force for world peace". The song's influence on political activism was exemplified by the film Gangnam for Freedom. It was produced by the British sculptor Anish Kapoor to advocate the freedom of expression and had subsequently won the support of various human rights organisations including Index on Censorship and Amnesty International. According to the United Nations' news division, PSY has become an "international sensation" through his song "Gangnam Style".
"Gangnam Style" is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul, where people are trendy, hip and exude a certain supposed "class". The term was listed in Time's weekly vocabulary list as a manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul's Gangnam district. PSY likened the Gangnam District to Beverly Hills, California, and said in an interview that he intended in a twisted sense of humor by claiming himself to be "Gangnam Style" when everything about the song, dance, looks, and the music video is far from being such a high class.
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.
The song talks about "the perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to get wild." The song's refrain has been translated as "Big brother is Gangnam style", with PSY referring to himself "Oppa" is a Korean expression used by females to refer to an older male friend or older brother. During an interview with The New York Times, PSY revealed that the Korean fans have huge expectations about his dancing, so he felt a lot of pressure. In order to keep up with expectations, he studied hard to find something new and stayed up late for about 30 nights to come up with the "Gangnam Style" dance. Along the way, he had tested various "cheesy" animal-inspired dance moves with his choreographer, including panda and kangaroo moves, before settling for the horse trot, which involves pretending to ride a horse, alternately holding the reins and spinning a lasso, and moving into a legs-shuffling side gallop.
During an interview with Reuters, PSY claimed that "Gangnam Style" was originally produced only for local K-pop fans, and he later said the same thing during a speech at Oxford University. On July 11, PSY and his music label YG Entertainment started releasing several promotional teasers for "Gangnam Style" to their subscribers on YouTube. On July 15, 2012, the full music video of "Gangnam Style" was uploaded onto YouTube and received about 500,000 views on its first day. However, in Germany, an ongoing dispute between YouTube and the GEMA (the country's performance rights organization) regarding copyright issues has led to thousands of music videos including "Gangnam Style" being blocked in the country.
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