Before moving to Thailand, I had a lot of expectations. I expected to meet friendly people with lots of smiles. I expected to taste spicy street food. I expected my skin to boil under the hot, hot summer sun. I expected to be dazzled by the glittering Buddhist temples. I expected to learn about culture and history while traveling and growing. But I never expected Gangnam Style.
Gangnam Style is a K-Pop phenomenon performed by Korean artist PSY. The song parodies the lifestyle of the elite Gangnam neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea. Criticism of the materialism of this wealthy neighborhood is apparent as PSY reduces luxury to laughs. For example, in the video, PSY is often seen in outlandish situations such as on the toilet, naked in a sauna and intruding upon a posh yoga session. The most memorable part of the video, is, of course, the now famous "invisible horse dance."
Although PSY's single ‘Gangnam Style' was released in July of 2012, the music video went viral during my first few weeks in Asia. I remember that early September day when my friend placed her laptop in front of me, saying, "You have to see this!" As I sat entranced by what was happening on my screen I remember thinking, "This is crazy!" By the final refrain of "Heyyyyyy sexy lady!" I was hooked.
From that first view back in September, Gangnam style has been a staple of my life in Thailand. I've danced the "invisible horse dance" at clubs. I've belted out the jumbled Korean words at karaoke. I've heard blasts of "OP OP Opan Gangnam Style!" blaring from market stalls. I've even pondered buying t-shirts on Khao San Road which feature cartoons of PSY mid horse dance.
I was shocked to see that even my friends in the States were singing and dancing along to the K-Pop sensation. In the words of my co-worker, "It's taking over the world!" The music video for Gangnam Style was the first youtube video to ever reach 1 billion views and to this day has over 1. 6 billion views. And why shouldn't it? Gangnam Style is fun, it's catchy and it has even convinced the world to dance around like horses. What's not to love?
OPPAN GANGNAM STYLE!
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