eyyy, sexy lady!
For all the hullabaloo and hysteria surrounding Gangnam Style, the giddy dance hit by Korean rapper Psy, who comes bounding into Tampa on Saturday, there's a legit question lurking beyond the horsey trotting, viral high jinks and that upcoming trip to the White House:
Is Psy a one-hit wonder?
You have to admit: Gangnam Style, which has reached No. 1 in more than 30 countries, has a certain whiff of I'm Too Sexy about it. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. We all need to cut loose now and then, and what with all the nonsense going on in the world these days, the 34-year-old Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang) is a respite.
But don't be so quick to relegate Psy to Right Said Fred status. Consider this: Psy will perform at the free Jingle All the Way event at University Mall in Tampa on Saturday. He was supposed to play Sunday's 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball at the Tampa Bay Times Forum but instead has a date with the president. Fair enough. The Ball will still be headlined by Canadian dream Justin Bieber and L.A. party-crasher Ke$ha, hot acts that, in a curious coincidence, show that Psy might very well stick around in our pop lives for a while.
Herewith, a few ways Psy is very much like Biebs and Ke$ha — and why the admittedly lovable Gangnam Style might avoid a lowly Macarena fate:
1 He's a social media sen-Psy-tion
Recently it was trumpeted that Gangnam Style, its delirious video a tribute to the dork in all of us trying to function in a cool world (best advice: horse dance!), had become the most-watched YouTube clip of all time, with some 881,000,000 hits and counting. Whom did Psy pass to take the record? Why none other than Bieber, whose video for ubiquitous debut smash Baby sits at about 808,000,000 hits.
Psy, a star in his homeland since 2001, has become a watercooler phenomenon, with every walk of life at your office, grocery store, you name it, weighing in on the chunky-but-funky musician. He's been on every talk show, every awards show. Smartphone apps allow you to personalize Gangnam vids with your own snapshots. Psy-inspired flash mobs have bloomed from Paris to Rome to the Tampa Bay Bucs cheerleaders.
As a result, Bieber's management team has signed up Psy to their team. Of course they did! They obviously recognized another hot commodity.
Everyone will be watching — on TV, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter — for Psy's next move. K-pop is already a huge international movement, and a massive Asian fan base will only help his endurance. If his next cut is catchy, if he can somehow continue to bridge the English-Korean language barrier, who knows how long he'll stick around?
Watch your back, Biebs.
2 We could use a few laughs
Never underestimate the power of a big, dumb grin. Of cutting loose and saying what-the-bleep. Of thwarting how we're supposed to act and just, well, twirling an invisible lasso while wearing dark glasses. With a globe largely at war, and with a political divide still agape around these parts, Gangnam Style comes at a time when we could all use a little release. Another artist benefiting from the need for escapism is 25-year-old Ke$ha, whose libidinous hits include Tik Tok, Blow and Die Young, all of them catchy carpe diem. She is currently the very definition of a rock star. Making sense isn't the point; making noise and dancing like a fool are far more fun.
3 Who doesn't love Psy?
Psy is a chunky, well-dressed, average-looking Korean man who winks about sexuality and yet keeps things relatively clean. Everyone is invited to his party, and you better believe every wedding reception from now until next December will host a whole lot of Gangnam Style antics with the extended family on the dance floor. ("Oppan Grandma Style" = look, I even wrote a joke for your upcoming Uncle Larry's wedding.) Truth be told, there aren't a lot of people who dislike Psy, and what marketer doesn't want to sink promotional fangs into that?
That's also why Bieber's peeps no doubt wanted to get Psy on board. Biebs shares the very same It Factor: Grandmas, moms and girls all love him. Grandpas, dad and boys like him, too, especially with such later hits as Boyfriend and As Long as You Love Me adding a little testosterone to the mix.
No one knew who the Baha Men were when Who Let the Dogs Out ruled the charts. But we know Biebs. We know Psy.
4 Work your Gangnam off
Bieber and Ke$ha have been pretty much in the public eye since they broke a few years ago: making records, touring, taking every and all award-show and talk-show appearances. Psy has the same work ethic. Or maybe he knows that he has no choice but to saturate the market until he drops. He has appeared with Madonna and MC Hammer; he dropped in on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the other day and taught him how to do the Gangnam dance. That White House appearance — a cross-cultural photo op if there ever was one — is going to pay massive dividends. If he's exhausted behind those jet-black shades, who can tell? The man knows he's onto something. And after having this much fun, who'd ever want it to stop?
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.