Self Expression Magazine

Behind Oppa Gangnam Style

Posted on the 11 September 2012 by Technospecs

Behind Oppa Gangnam Style

When I first saw the vid, I had no idea how popular the song actually is. I mean it’s top 20 stuff even in Europe/US. I just thought it was funny without knowing what he’s singing about. But hell, look at the wikipedia page, how many songs have that lengthy wiki-pages?

OK, for the lazy:

Gangnam Style | Know Your Meme

Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation – Max Fisher – The Atlantic

I’ve no idea how popular korean pop is today, but if this is the first really global hit, I’m guessing we’ll be hearing lot’s of k-pop/j-pop influenced productions in the future.

So, besides having the GREATEST VIDEO OF ALL TIME, does anyone know about how this track was made? Were there any analog synths used, or is it all softsynths?

The sound might be two detuned osc with lots of glide and a basic ENV…but getting the exact tone is kinda hard.

We may be able to sound like this, but probably impossible to reach this awesome level on any given day. This is just an example of where passé meets serendipity, becoming a phenomenon. It’s just the right mix of weird, wtf, fun, silly, awesome.

You can sound like this easily, but you won’t be this. Work on what drives you and you’ll find a moment, eventually, where something awesome happens.

“Generally speaking, “Gangnam” is the south of the Han River in Seoul while “Gangbuk” is the north of the river, in which gang means “river,” that is, the Han River, nam is “south,” and buk is north.”

“Over the past four decades, Gangnam has become an iconic place to Korean people, representing wealth, status, and luxurious life. PSY’s “Gangnam Style” is a satire about the Gangnam life itself which is nothing but materialistic and about people who are chasing rainbows, dreaming of becoming a Gangnam resident someday. If you had googled the phrase ????? (“Gangnam Style”) before the release of his song, you would have seen so many questions asking “What the heck is Gangnam style.” (Now you’ll get results almost all about the song.) As Gangnam earned the enviable reputation “overnight” (compared to Korea’s 5000-year-old history) as the best place to live not because it offers rich heritage, sophistication, or cultural legacy, people don’t really know exactly what they are longing for even in the midst of longing for the “Gangnam style.” And here, PSY is being sarcastic about the idea of “Gangnam style” that is not actually tangible, just like the “Emperor’s New Clothes”.”

“So, the song is a comic satire about people who bluff, pretending to be rich and trendy. “Oppan Gangnam style” can literally translate to “I’m a Gangnam style,” in which “oppa” is a Korean referring expression used by females to refer to older males such as older male friends or older brothers. However, the narrator in the song refers to himself in the third person. He keeps saying he lives or loves a Gangnam style life, but in reality, he’s far from it.”

Kangnam/Gangnam is also the area for shopping. It is cheap if you you are at the Kangnam subway station underground mall or expensive if you go walking down the street from Kangnam station. It’s also a good place for food, bars and clubs. I recommend exit 10 and the exit across from exit 10.

Kangnam is like Manhattan while Apgujeong is like beverly hills.

Not really “like” them, but the nearest Korean equivalent to those places. There is some money there and some ok bars but main drags of both areas are fairly small and not all that much to see.

Apgujeong is fairly ritzy, but Gangnam is mostly a drab looking business district with a main street with some shopping and bars and way too many chain stores and franchise coffee shops. Some ok places but also lot of hype and pretentiousness and that’s what Psy seemed to be parodying in part.

It’s hilarious that the K-pop industry has been trying to launch their polished teen idols into the limelight outside Asia with mixed results, and suddenly the hit that makes it is a tounge-in-cheek parody video from a chubby thirty-something guy who doesn’t give a damn about his looks. Props to him just for that.

And of course now he’s raking it in with ads and sponsors. “Oppan (insert product name here) style!”

You can walk anywhere in Kangnam but you need a car (or taxi if you can get one to pick you up at night) for Apgujeong. My first time in Apgujeong, my friend pointed across the street from our subway exit and said “You see all thoses stores there?” I said “Yes.” He said that they are all plastic surgery offices.

Kangnam is “above” Apgujeong but if you live in either area then people know that you have money.

Park Jae-Sang (Hangul: 박재상; born December 31, 1977) is a South Korean rapper, better known by his stage name, Psy is a pretty talented guy: a Berklee grad, he writes and produces his own music, directs his own videos, and he’s sneakily subversive in a homogenous multinational-controlled country. His first CD was fined(!) for inappropriate content, his last CD was banned(!!!), and this video is a sly skewering of rampant consumerism in the wealthiest neighborhood in Seoul.

This song also ripped of LMFAO, whose ‘Shufflin’ was just as catchy.


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