Looking back on it, most people might admit that the official 2012 summer song absolutely without a doubt had to be the crazy K-Pop smash hit, Gangnam Style. You've got to admit that it's been stuck in your head for the better part of of the summer.
Originally released in South Korea on July 15, 2012, the ridiculously catchy pop single sung by rapper Psy quickly started gaining steam internationally shortly after it was uploaded on Youtube.
The music video for Gangnam Style features rapper Psy dancing comically in several different interesting settings, including in a horse barn, on the street, on a boat, in a parking garage and many other places - sometimes accompanied by a group of other female dancers.
Haven’t seen it yet? Watch it here.
The Horse Riding Dance
Psy’s signature Gangnam Style dance move, the horse riding dance, is one of the funniest aspects of the viral video, which eventually sparked a number of flashmob dances carried out in various locations around the world--many of which have been uploaded on YouTube.
GIFs of Psy doing the horse riding dance in the music video have popped up everywhere on social networking sites like Tumblr and Reddit, and, the now iconic dance is even considered to be an Internet meme.
The Spread of Gangnam Style
After the music video took off in its home country and started gaining international attention, it only took a few weeks before several popular media outlets on the web were talking about it. The video was picked up by sites from Gawker, BuzzFeed, FunnyJunk and Know Your Meme, among many others.
Along its viral journey, the Gangnam Style video received some great celebrity endorsements on Twitter, where big name celebs like Katy Perry, T-Pain, Robbie Williams and even Britney Spears helped spread the word.
In August, the video became so popular on YouTube, a few major mainstream media outlets like CNN, ABC News and The Wall Street Journal had reported on it. And by September, Psy had appeared on popular talk shows like Ellen and the Today Show.
The Meaning Behind Gangnam Style
To most of us who don’t speak Korean, the lyrics in Gangnam Style sure as heck can’t tell us much. But behind the hilarious dancing, catchy beat and over-the-top settings, there’s an actual story about wealth and cultural values in an area of South Korea.
Gangnam is a symbol of the South Korean culture of a neighborhood where people are heavy spenders with upscale lifestyles, where the average number of credit cards per adult is five. It’s a place of the most conspicuous consumption in the country.
The song and video was made to be a satirical representation of Gangnam and how others outside of Gangnam desire to be part a part of it. In the video, Psy focuses on really highlighting the ridiculousness of Gangnam materialism.
Spin-offs, Parodies and Mashups
Gangnam Style is just one of those things that people can’t get enough of, no matter how annoying and repetitive it gets. As a result, the viral video has served as a source of inspiration for many looking to explore their own their creativity.
To start, Psy himself took advantage of the success of Gangnam Style and released a spin-off version of the song and video featuring Hyun-A, member of the K-Pop group 4Minute, and also the same red-haired girl who played Psy’s love interest in the original Gangnam Style video.
And if you go ahead and search “Gangnam Style parody” either on Google or on YouToube, you’ll be sure to find a good number of results that should keep you entertained for hours on end.
People with experience in mixing audio files have produced a good number of remixed versions of Gangnam Style, and if there’s any other song that Gangnam Style would have to compete with in terms of catchiness and popularity in 2012, it would probably have to be Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe.
Of course, someone just had to combine the two into a mashup. It hasn’t receive the best of reviews and doesn’t sound particularly amazing, but if you really want to, you can listen to it here.