Is Gentleman by Psy better than Gagnam Style?

Now, I’ve always been a fan of things I really shouldn’t; I enjoy archiving my media, I listen to the Scott Mills Show on Radio 1 and I don’t really know why, I have a fondness for  80s and 90s acts like The Bangles, Level 42 and Ace Of Base, I own Craig David’s Born To Do It album…which is rubbish! And, last year I tried desperately not to get involved with the global sensation that was Gangnam Style.

But I failed.

This behemoth of a track crushed everything in its path and broke all sorts of record while doing it. It was released on 15th July 2012 (yes, really.! It hasn’t even been out a year  yet!) and went straight to number one in the South Korean chart. In fact, by the end of the year it had topped the charts in over 30 countries. The music video was the first ever on YouTube to reach 1 billion views and has gone on to over 1.5 billion. It also picked up the accolade of the most ‘liked’ video on YouTube.

The video is the reason for the song’s success as far as I can see, it is simply hilarious with a ludicrous dance that is fairly easy to replicate. You only have to see the amount of parodies out there from prison inmates to leaders of the free-world like David Cameron, Ban Ki-Moon and Barak Obama all giving it a go. It’s damn infectious! Here he is dancing with Hugh Jackman, both of whom have Wolverine claws!

It seems like this guy came out of nowhere, but this is his 18th single and he’s produced six albums, with a seventh on the way! The first album came out in 2001. He’s an old hand at this, which means he must be made up that all that hard graft has culminated in him becoming one of the most recognisable people on the planet and easily the only South Korean to make a world-wide impact.

So after the most ridiculous half a year of his life how on Earth does Psy top Gangnam Style? With a song called Gentleman, that’s how.

When I first heard this I dismissed it as a seeming rushed through follow-up and that Psy would simple fade into pop obscurity as another one-hit-wonder. But actually the more I’ve heard it the more it has buried itself right into the back of my brain, to the point where I started humming it at work! So I went back for another listen.

The video, again, is very funny with Psy treating people (mainly women) in quite ungentlemanly ways and has an even simpler dance that even an oaf like myself could attempt and look good. But it’s when you take the videos away that things get interesting. They’re both uptempo techno number with a standard 4/4 dance rhythm and they’re both quite repetitive. But without the visuals there are only moments where Gangnam Style holds up in its own right. These being mainly the “Hey, sexy lady” parts of the chorus. But Gentleman, I believe, stands on its own as a well crafted pop song without the video. It has an infectious synth melody, strong verses as well as choruses (even if I don’t understand Korean). I think it comes down to an increase in production value too, it sounds like more money has been put into crafting the song.

Either way, I’m slightly hooked on this K-pop sensation. Psy seems to be having the time of his life and comes across as a really down to earth guy in interviews I’ve heard him give. He reminds me of a cartoon character in some ways, he seems to be getting up to all sorts of fun while straddling the world and doing the famous dance. Either way, as long as he continues to make up dance move anyone can do and write catchy synth-based dance songs he’s got it made. I just hope the bubble doesn’t burst too soon for him as I enjoy watching the joy he’s experiencing.

In fact, at the time of writing this he just tweeting an article from Time Magazine that says the music video for Gentleman has broken the record for the most views in 24 hours: 38,409,306! Is Gentleman going to be bigger than Gangnam Style? Only time will tell…

psy

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