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Gangnam Style,a pop song by Korean rap star Psy (short for Psycho) has taken the world by storm. What is Gangnam? It is an upscale neighborhood of Seoul like Beverly Hills of California. It occupies a psychic place in the minds of Korea’s 99% and represents the luxurious life for which they strive. Spending more than you can afford seems to be the trend in Korea. We shall talk more about Gangnam the city, lyrics of song in English. How to do Gangnam dance? Who is Psy?

Psy Gangnam Style

Psy Gangnam Style: Click to see video on Youtube

Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style, a pop song by Korean rap star Psy (short for Psycho) , has been raging across the world. Released July 15 2012,  international viral hit “Gangnam Style” is now the most-liked video in YouTube history surpassing LMFAO’s “Party Rock.” Psy himself has been on a media tour in the United States and has appeared on the various shows MTV Video Music Awards, Saturday Night Live etc. An infographic on Rise of Gangnam style explained.

Gangnam – The City

The words “gang” and “nam” literally mean “south of the river,” but Gangnam with a capital G is  an upscale neighborhood of Seoul on the south side of the Hangang river. It is one of Seoul’s wealthiest neighborhood  known for its luxury boutiques, high-end auto dealers, and posh nightlife. As the Beverly Hills of South Korea’s biggest city, it also occupies a psychic place in the minds of Korea’s 99% and represents the luxurious life for which they strive. Beverly Hills is an affluent city in Los Angeles County, California, United States . Beverly Hills is world-famous for its luxurious culture and famous residents. It is home to renowned shopping district Rodeo Drive.

Where is Gangnam?

Where is Gangnam?

The neighborhood is just seven square miles but holds 7% of Korea’s GDP. For comparison, New York state, which is 3,000 times the size of Gangnam holds 7% of U.S. GDP. Forty-one(41%) percent of students at the nation’s most prestigious college, Seoul University, come from Gangnam, which in the U.S., would be like having 41% of Harvard students come from Manhattan.

Comparing Gangnam and NewYork

Comparing Gangnam and NewYork

The neighborhood is full of high-rise apartment buildings, high-end department stores, the city’s trendiest boutiques and hottest clubs, and a lot of plastic surgery clinics. Infographic shows one day tour of Gangnam.

Message about Wealth, Class,Value in South Korea

Quoting from Time’s The Wholesome Hidden Message of ‘Gangnam Style’  Atlantic’s Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation

Beneath the catchy dance beat and hilarious scenes of Seoul’s poshest neighborhood, there might be a subtle message about wealth, class, and value in South Korean society. The neighborhood is the home of some of South Korea’s biggest brands, as well as $84 billion of its wealth, as of 2010. That’s 7% of the entire country’s GDP in an area of just 15 square miles. A place of the most conspicuous consumption, you might call it the embodiment of South Korea’s one percent. Psy’s character isn’t the only wannabe Gangnamite in South Korea.

Plenty of Koreans are spending like they’re rich.  In 2010, the average household carried credit card debt worth a staggering 155 percent of their disposable income (for comparison, the U.S. average just before the sub-prime crisis was 138 percent). There are nearly five credit cards for every adult. South Koreans have been living on credit since the mid-1990s, first because their country’s amazing growth made borrowing seem safe, and then in the late 1990s when the government encouraged private spending to climb out of the Asian financial crisis. The emphasis on heavy spending, coupled with the country’s truly astounding, two-generation growth from agrarian poverty to economic powerhouse, have engendered the country with an emphasis on hard work and on aspirationalism, as well as the materialism that can sometimes follow.

The video is a satire about Gangnam itself but also it’s about how people outside Gangnam pursue their dream to be one of those Gangnam residents without even realizing what it really means.  Psy’s rendering of “Gangnam Style” highlights the superficiality of this dream. In the opening scene, Psy is lounging on a beach, dreaming he is being fanned by a beautiful girl. As the camera pans out, you realize he is actually lying on a chair in a sandy children’s playground. Then you see him in a tux with a girl on each arm, strutting as though down a red carpet, except they appear to be in an underground parking lot, and instead of confetti fluttering down upon them, trash is flying at them with blizzard-like force. In another scene, he parties like a rock star in a bus outfitted with disco balls, but his fellow partygoers are retirees wearing sun visors. Meanwhile, in all these scenes, he’s dancing as though he’s riding an invisible horse, almost as though he’s the knight of his own imaginary Camelot.

Koreans have been kind of caught up in this spending to look wealthy, and Gangnam has really been the leading edge of that,” Hong said. “I think a lot of what [Psy] is pointing out is how silly that is, Psy hits all the symbols of Gangnam opulence, but each turns out to be something much more modest, as if suggesting that Gangnam-style wealth is not as fabulous as it might seem. We think he’s at a beach in the opening shot, but it turns out to be a sandy playground. He visits a sauna not with big-shot businessmen but with mobsters and dances not in a nightclub but on a bus of middle-aged tourists. He meets his love interest in the subway. “I think he’s pointing out the ridiculousness of the materialism,” Hong said.

Psy states his ability to drink coffee in one gulp and expresses a desire for a woman who drinks coffee too. What is so special about coffee, which is cheap? Well it turns out that in Korea, there’s a popular joke about women who eat $2 ramen for lunch in order to afford a $6 coffee at Starbucks, mocking women who spend more than they can afford. They’re called Doenjangnyeo, or “soybean paste women” for their propensity to crimp on essentials so they can over-spend on conspicuous luxuries, of which coffee is, believe it or not, one of the most common. “The number of coffee shops has gone up tremendously, particularly in Gangnam,” Hong said. “Coffee shops have become the place where people go to be seen and spend ridiculous amounts of money.”

Gangnam style is just a music video! And if you read the lyrics you will find that it’s all about a guy looking for his lady!

Lyrics of Gangnam Style in English

In words of Psy “Gangnam is a territory in Seoul, Korea. I describe it as noble at the daytime and going crazy at the night time. I compare ladies to the territory. So — noble at the daytime, going crazy at the night time — and the lyric says I am the right guy for the lady who is like thatOppa, means older brother. From koplyrics English Translation of Gangnam song. Another webpage for English translation is koreanwavetimes

Gangnam Style lyrics in English

Gangnam Style lyrics in English

For Korean words in English excerpt from lyricsfreak Gangnam style

Na je nun ta sa ro un in gan jo gin yo ja

Ko pi han ja ne yo yu rul a neun pum gyo gi nun yo ja

Ba mi o myon shim ja ngi tu go wo ji nun yo ja

Gu ron ban jon i nun yo ja

About Psy

Facebook page of Psy, Psy on Wikipedia

  • He’s a South Korean rapper whose real name is Park Jae-Sang.
  • Park was born in South Korea on December 31, 1977
  • He’s a family man with a wife and twin 4-year-old daughters. On October 14, 2006, Psy married Yoo Hye Yeon (his girlfriend for three and half years)
  • PSY debuted in 2001 with his first album “Psy From the Psycho World. His first song was titled “Sae,” and guess what, it’s was about sexy ladies. He later had to pay a fine due to accusations that the album contained “inappropriate content”.
  • Park served his mandatory military service from 2003 to 2005. After evidence came to light that suggested Psy didn’t properly serve his full term of service, he was re-drafted to serve a second term in August 2007.
  • His albums are:
  • PSY from the PSYcho World! (2001)
  • Sa 2 (January 16, 2002) . It was banned in 2002 from being sold to those under the age of 19.
  • 3 PSY (September 19, 2002)The album’s title song, “Champion”, saw great success partly due to the hype from the World Cup games held in Seoul.
  • Pssazip (July 24, 2006)
  • Psyfive (October 20, 2010)
  • PSY’s Best 6th Part 1 (2012)


Psy From The Psycho World

Psy From The Psycho World

psy 2nd album

2nd album

psy 3rd album

3rd album

4th album

4th album

5th album

5th album

PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1

PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1

How to do Gangnam dance moves

Following picture from Economic Times shows how to do Gangnam dance move

Learn Gangnam dance moves

How to do Gangnam dance


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