They Shoot Horses, Dont’ They?


Sadly, there still seems no way in which you can avoid the fat man in the suit?

Almost a year on from that fateful day in July 2012 when ‘Kangnam Style’ was released from captivity, it, for some unknown reason (to me at least) is still lingering round like that unwanted smell at the back of your student fridge. I wish it was as easy as calling someone to get rid of it. I’ve tried. Really, I have. But it all looks like being in vain. There is no getting away from it.

I should mention that I’ve never actually seen the video in its entirety. Nor have I (willingly at least) heard the song from begining to end. However, that’s not to say that I’ve not been given the privilege of having it blasted in my face when say, travelling on a bus or grabbing a quick bite at lunchtime. I can deal with things like this in short doses as I usually just turn my own music UP to compensate for the inherent noise pollution.


What’s also perplexing is that not only was ‘Kangnam Style’ the first Youtube video to reach one billion (I’ve no idea how many zero’s that is?) hits, but it shows no sign of stopping any time soon. How on God’s Green Earth did we manage to get in such a shitty state of affairs? I want to speak to whoever’s in charge. Now!

Psy also has three videos in the Bestest Youtube Ever Top 20. When you see what makes up the rest of the Top 20 (Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, and the chimp that lights its own farts – ok, I might have made the last one up, but no too far from the truth), I cannot help but wonder when (and where) all this is going to end? Do people really have that much free time (says he, avoiding writing his thesis by doing this and/or anything else instead) on their hands? How many times do you need to see a video?

Last night as I was going through my Twitter feed, I came across this piece titled – ‘Gangnam’ is one year old, K-Pop Is massive, and Music Is Forever Different

While I don’t necessarily disagree with the first two points in the headline, I can’t see eye-to-eye with the third. Simply put, music is not that much different (Unless ‘different’ is a euphemism for ‘shit’?).

Psy certainly hasn’t changed it.

How people consume music and how the product is sold to them has become more spohisticated, for choice of a better word. But music, and the Psy ‘phenomenon’ in particular is just another cog in the wheel. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s just another in a very long line of sub-standard, cheesy, and generally fucking awful novelty songs. ‘The Emporer’s New Clothes’, if you will…

The writer then feels the need to tell us the first time he saw the video, then the first time he showed his friend and blah blah blah. He goes on about it not being ‘anecdotal conjecture’. Utter bollocks.

The parodies. The chat shows. Hanging out with Presidents. The Worldwide Number #1 hit single. The stupid fucking dance routine. But how has it actually changed music forever?

Psy, short of being put up for early-beatification, has done pretty well for himself out of the deal. Riding high on the crest of his equine-esque wave, he’s managed to turn his flagging career around. One could say he has in fact managed something that has escaped so many of us and has  ‘polished the turd’ to great success? Proving many of his critics wrong along the way. Wait, does he have any critics?

I thought it would be difficult to squeeze any more life out of this turgid tune, but not for the first time, I was wrong. The government, albeit the tourism lackeys, have seen fit to put Psy’s big mug all over an advertisement promoting Korea’s awesomeness (of which it has many – but most of which were overlooked). See for yourself.

Seriously –  Samgyeuopsal and champagne? WTF?

To sum up, I don’t think it’s that bad that Psy’s taken on this role as ‘ambassador for Korean culture’, or that he’s continuing to bring ‘Kangnam’ to a worldwide audience. But try getting a taxi there on a Friday night (ironically, unless you’re Psy) pal…that’s a different story?

I can’t really see myself  tuning in to Youtube to partake  in  any more of his ‘musical shenanigans’, now, or anytime soon. For me, the whole ‘Kangnam Stlye’ craze has all the entertainment value of shit on a stick. And not a very big stick at that.

Evidently, however, there are billions of you out there who will. It’s just not for me.


Author: From a Late Night Train

Teacher. Musician. Ponderer. Had lived in Seoul, South Korea since 2000. Moved back to Glasgow, Scotland in May 2017.

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