If you have been even somewhat active on the Internet during the past months, you can’t have missed the phenomenon of Gangnam Style. This quite unlikely song and video-gone-viral of the South Korean artist Psy has, it seems, taken (over) the world unawares, and as of 6th of December this year, it became the most watched video on Youtube, with over 900 million (!) views.
In case you have been living in some kind of a Bag End of this world and haven’t seen the video already, here goes – also for the viewing pleasure of those who, like me, just find this video and song so hilarious, fun, cheerful and catchy, an earworm really, even if they wouldn’t want to admit to liking it…
This song and video are almost the polar opposite of the music and visuals of music videos that I usually like and listen to in my life. I don’t understand the language or the lyrics, let alone be able to get the references to the Gangnam District lifestyle they depict; the over-the-top visuals and candy colors are jaw-droppingly god-awful, and the dance moves are so cheesy (and at the same time, so hilariously cool) that words can’t begin to describe the amount of cheesiness. In other words, this really is not my cup of tea at all – and I simply love it!
I first became aware of the video when the biggest national newspaper in Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, mentioned it in passing in a bit of news reporting on the North Korean parody version of the song. It immediately caught my attention: if something is deemed that important by the North Korean government that they want to make their own version of it, it surely must be something to see… I put aside the newspaper and opened Youtube to discover a totally unexpected explosion of sights and sounds that glued me in front of my Mac, hitting the replay button a few times in a row.
What on earth did I just watch?! are probably the words that went through my mind after the first (and second, and third) time of watching the video. The horse-galloping dance moves at an intersection or on the boat, the canary-yellow suit and matching sneakers, not to mention the weird guy in the elevator… WTF!? Nevertheless, despite (or perhaps because of?) the absolute absurdism, from my unaccustomed point of view, of the piece, I noted that the song immediately stuck in my head, like a good earworm does.
Naturally, as a person living in the current world of let-everybody-know-what-you’re-doing-thinking-feeling, I posted about this video on my Facebook right away, and described it as a “video filled with pure epic bestness.” And even if I’m typically not a fan of this type of music, I had to admit that this song really had something in it, because I wanted to dance to it immediately.
Of course I didn’t. Immediately, I mean. But the idea of dancing to it got stuck in my head (along with the song), and a few days or weeks after my initial initiation to the song I had the brainwave that took even myself by surprise: I realised that I wanted to dance to this song at a bar. I mentioned this idea to a few friends, and at least one friend told me that under no circumstances I would be doing the horse-riding dance moves to this song with her anywhere in the close vicinity – although on the other hand, if I remember right, she also expressed the interest of seeing me do it.
In this great vision of mine, I would have wanted to go all the way over board: if I were to do it, I would want to do it properly, in tribute to the hilarious absurdity of the video. This plan would have included me, by some kind of a miracle, getting my hands on a canary-yellow men’s suit and sneakers and – this goes without saying – then hitting the dance floor and mastering the dance moves just as smoothly as Psy does in the video.
Well, in reality things didn’t quite go as planned, but that’s real life for you. So no yellow suit – not even a yellow t-shirt – and definitely no real grasp of the dance choreography. I had seen a video where Psy teaches the dance and I had a rough idea of what I was supposed to be doing, but had never actually tried to follow the choreography. Well come on, how hard can it be, I thought. The chance for doing the dance thing appeared just as unexpectedly as the video when it first made itself known to me – and just as instantaneously as I started digging the video, I seized the chance of dancing to it.
Funnily enough, on the night when this happened, I had just seen a gig by a Finnish metal band (yes, metal is the music genre that is typically “me”, as you may remember from my previous entry) and was, perhaps quite understandably, in no kind of dance mood, really. I was finishing my soda water and was just about to leave the concert place to go home when suddenly I heard the first beats of Gangnam Style. I didn’t think, I reacted: I grabbed my purse and literally almost ran to the dance floor.
I wasn’t only one on the dance floor, but I most likely was the only one totally sober on the dance floor, and very definitely, it seemed, I was the only one on the dance floor doing the dance moves to the song. Yes: when the refrain came, I said giddy-up to my invisible horse, so to speak, and grabbed my invisible reins/lasso, and, well, danced. I’m pretty sure that what I did actually resembled the choreography to some degree, but due to lack of practice I definitely didn’t get all the moves right.
What I did get right was perhaps the most important thing: I had so much fun! Never mind the choreography, here comes the pure joy! I probably smiled or laughed all the time, and even tried to sing along to the lyrics, although I naturally have no idea what one is supposed to be singing. (I don’t think that anyone minded, though, I’m sure there was no one present who would’ve understood Korean.) I felt hilarious, the situation was hilarious, and even though I thought that I must look hilarious, galloping on the spot holding on to invisible reins, it was the least of my worries in that moment.
Exhilarated, when the song ended, I effected my egress, still smiling, humming to Gangnam Style on my way home.