Gangnam Style Video & The Thunder Connection…

You probably heard by now that Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ has become the most viewed YouTube video of all time with over 803,760,000 views (that’s since July 2012). No doubt many are repeat views, but still, that’s a huge number!

“Gangnam Style” has taken a life of its own. People from all walks of life are doing dance moves from the video. I thought it jumped the shark when San Francisco Giants’ broadcasters Jon Miller and Dave Flemming did it during the World Series Celebration on Halloween.

It is a cultural reference that is helpful to know about since you’ll see people doing some version of it.


The Oregon Duck

“It’s the greatest video since ‘Thriller,’” says Scooter Braun, who signed Psy to his Schoolboy Records label shortly after the video’s debut, said in a DailyBeast / Newsweek story published in October.

The popularity has been analyzed extensively in the media. I found a story from September in the San Jose Mercury News that included some interesting points. For example, Oliver Wang, pop culture critic and sociology professor at Cal State Long Beach said the following:

“It’s easy to forget that even as songs entertain us, they also are ways of communicating ideas and tensions about society.”

“I think it’s brilliant that what most non-Korean-speakers think is some kind of over-the-top music video is actually, itself, a subversive critique of over-the-top upper class mores.”

But the vast majority of fans driving the song’s popularity don’t speak Korean. They just love the beat.

Another person quoted was John Change, 21, of Berkeley, who said, “It’s like the K-pop version of (LMFAO‘s) ‘Party Rock Anthem.’ It’s got all the elements of a great hip-hop song, the bass, the drums, and building tension to the chorus.”

Here’s my Take…

I read a New York Times Magazine article about the Oklahoma Thunder NBA team (
A Basketball Fairy Tale in Middle America by Sam Anderson).

The “celebrity” at their games is Wayne Coyne, the singer of the alternative-rock band the Flaming Lips. In the article he talked about the popularity of the Thunder and what they mean to Oklahoma. He believes that the Thunder transcend the limits of their confusing sport — that they “channel the energy of the whole community in a way that resonates across the world.”

>> Sound familiar? <<

Coyne continued to explain how he sees an analogy between basketball games and rock concerts. He told the Anderson, the author of the piece that “Playing a song for the thousandth time, is just as meaningless as putting a ball through a hoop. Under the right circumstances, however, those things take on great collective meaning.

Let me repeat: Great collective meaning.

“It’s that idea of everybody being focused on the same thing at the same time and being together in the bigger experience,” he said. “It’s silliness, but all things are like that.”

Now if you had read that quote at the beginning of this piece, you would have thought it was a reference to Psy’s Gangnam Style video, right?

It takes a musician to call it as he sees it. In my view, his take definitely “has legs” for other cultural phenomenon we currently are and will be encountering. This all makes for an interesting ponderable.

So here’s the full Gangnam Style video for your enjoyment.

Also, some others.

Had to throw in Party Rock…


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