first published on The Philippine Online Chronicles
So you have probably seen the viral goofy horse dance video on Youtube. It’s undeniably hilarious, its beat catchy. But what about the message? The lyrics may seem repetitive, but PSY’s Youtube hit is actually a funny jab on the lifestyle of the rich.
But in a culture industry where form sells over content, can the song’s satire cut through the mind of the millions who viewed it?
“Gangnam Style” is poised to make it to the circle of most viewed videos on Youtube, raking in over 260 million views on Youtube (as of posting time) in just a matter of weeks. Last week, it nailed down the Guiness World Record for being the most liked video on Youtube.
It also broke into a number of foreign music hit charts, from the US to Germany – a feat unparalleled by other contemporary K-pop singles. Its global contagion can be best seen in flash mobs doing the horse dance in Times Square, or in the opposite light, in thedeadly dance showdown in Bangkok.
Aside from hooking millions into its catchy beat, PSY’s hit single has generated curiosity over “Gangnam,” which is actually Seoul’s poshest district.
When the 34-year-old PSY (Park Jae-sang) showcases the yoga classes and tennis courts in the dance video, he is giving a glimpse of the luxuries in Gangnam that are far from reach of average Koreans.
Formerly a flat farmland, the Seoul district grew into what is now the neighborhood of the wealthiest in South Korea, thanks to a real estate investment boom in the early 2000s.
“From the video, most people can gather that Gangnam has some happening clubs and swank amenities – but its real estate is also the most expensive in the nation (at roughly $14,000 per pyong, or 3.3 square meters) and, although just 15 square miles, more valuable than all of the real estate in Korea’s second largest city of Busan,” Sukjong Hong wrote in Open City.