Do you ever have one of those moments where you just stop and ask yourself, “What is going on in this world nowadays?”
I personally had one yesterday while driving to Ann Arbor. Normally, we listen to CDs in my friend’s car, only listening to the radio for the brief moments between changing CDs. So, what happens to be on the radio…but “Gangnam Style.” For most people, this may just be that catchy song from that hilarious music video that went viral, but it’s just one of the strangest experiences I’ve had.
To make a long story short, I’ve been following Korean pop music, generally referred to as k-pop, for about 5 years now. And I’m not an isolated case. Thousands of people all around the world have become addicted to k-pop. So why is it such a big deal that it’s playing on the radio if thousands of people like it?
First of all, it was never meant for a market other than Korean. Now all of a sudden everyone, even the U.S. Navy, seems to be making videos of themselves dancing along to it. It’s even second only to Maroon 5 on the Bilboard Top 100 charts. That brings us to the second “big deal.” When was the last time a foreign act has done this well on the charts with a song in their native language (excluding English-speaking countries)? There have only been six total number ones, the most recent being the Macarena in 1996. Gangnam Style would be the first from Korean and the second from Asia.
Here we are. After a few attempts from Korean artists to make English songs to break into the American music market, Psy has been able to actually make waves in Korean. We are witness to an interesting part of American and Korean music history.