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Yes, PSY’s “Gentleman” IS “Gangnam Style,” Part II

Yes, PSY’s “Gentleman” IS “Gangnam Style,” Part II
Photo Courtesy of Artist

And that's not a bad thing

By Corynn Smith
April 18, 2013

If you haven’t been living under that rock that everyone mentions, you might have noticed that a certain global phenomenon is back with another world-grabbing single. Ever since the South Korean rapper PSY dropped his new track “Gentleman” last weekend, a sizable part of the Internet has been dedicated to talking about it nonstop and blowing up video views faster than on anything EVER in the history of YouTube. (Watch out, Bieber — PSY is coming for your YouTube records. Again.)

On the surface, “Gentleman” brings back everything we loved about “Gangnam Style”: an earworm hook, a beat you to can’t help but dance to, excuses to yell ridiculous things in public, and a music video that practically hits the “Share” button all on its own. “Gentleman” also throws in more social commentary, parodying chauvinistic behavior the same way “Gangnam Style” critiques the hyper-materialistic aspects of Seoul’s elite.

In fact, the two are so similar that folks have been asking, “Why’d he copy his own music video?” Well, duh, guys — it’s meant to be a sequel. Why else would “Gangnam Style” Elevator Guy (comedian Noh Hong Chul, 0:42) and Yellow Suit Guy (comedian Yoo Jae Suk, 0:46) make repeat cameos along with PSY’s over-the-top rich-guy persona?

Speaking of ‘copying,’ regardless of whatever rants you’ve read, the guy didn’t swipe moves from K-Pop femme fatales Brown Eyed Girls on a whim. PSY intentionally made a choreography throwback to the girl group’s 2009 too-hot-for-TV hit “Abracadabra.” This simultaneously created context around his new MV girlfriend Ga-In (a member of Brown Eyed Girls) and attached an easy-to-copy visual hook to his MV that could rival the “horse dance.”

It’s interesting to note that while the original “Abracadabra” MV was banished to a late-night timeslot for being too inappropriately sexy for Korean television, PSY brought its claim to fame point back to life in a decidedly more raunchy way, and in front of an even bigger audience.

Some critics have even dismissed “Gentleman” as PSY’s attempt to blindly cater to his new international audience. If you get the context, though, it’s clear that he’s staying true to his creative roots and hasn’t changed much at all. Trace PSY’s success back through his popular singles in Korea, and you’ll see a clear trend of witty lyrics, suggestive themes, and silliness above and beyond the call of duty. Sound familiar?

It’s true that PSY increased the volume of English lyrics in “Gentleman,” but those lines still retain his signature pattern of being puns or having double meanings — an obvious one being the swear sound-alike ‘mother father gentleman’ hook.

Another example would be the almost nonsensical “wet PSY!” exclamations near the end of the track. Not only was it intentionally made to sound like “West SIDE” and to further drive home his obvious sexual innuendos, it also may be a nod to PSY’s wildly popular Summer Stand concerts every year, all of which are water-themed.

You’re missing out on insane fun if you haven’t seen clips and/or photos from PSY’s Summer Stand 2012: The Drenched Show

Hate it or love it, PSY has definitely grabbed the music world’s attention. At the time of publish, “Gentleman” has already passed 100 million views, racked up over a million likes, and is still on the up and up. It’s currently topping YouTube’s Daily, Weekly, and Monthly most-viewed charts, beating the closest competition by tens of thousands in every case. Mother-father gentlefolk, we can stop calling PSY a one-hit wonder now. (Especially since he never was one in the first place.)

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