Why Psy's songs are such phenomenal hits

23 April 2013 / 3 years 6 months ago

Source: The Straits TimesA gentleman never beats a woman, but Gentleman sure could knock the daylights out of Boyfriend.Gentleman, South Korean singer Psy's new song after his worldwide hit Gangnam Style, was viewed more than 10 million times within 24 hours of its release on YouTube on April 12.This is a new record, deposing Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber's previous record of eight million views in one day for his song, Boyfriend.And in five days, Gentleman earned more than 100 million YouTube views. Gangnam Style, the first song to get more than one billion views on YouTube, took about two months to reach 100 million hits when it was released last year.Psy's new offering could be seen as Gangnam Style's sequel. The earlier music video is a comical satire of the lifestyles of the rich in Seoul.In Gentleman, Psy gets up to pranks such as yanking sunbathers' bikini tops and pulling chairs from under women as he sings about being a gentleman and acts anything but.Musically, the two songs are similar, with catchy beats and riffs married to simple dance steps.Gentleman taps on the familiarity of Gangnam Style, which builds up to one defining line, says singer-songwriter Jack Ho, 35, of local band Jack & Rai.In this case, it is "mother father Gentleman" instead of "oppa Gangnam, Style".Ho adds: "Songs like these, much like LMFAO's Sexy And I Know It, are written with an attentiongrabbing line that people will remember easily."They play into the current electronic dance music trend, making them appealing to the mass market, says producer and musician Kevin Guoh, 34.The play on words, which may seem vulgar, is part of the fun, says HOT FM91.3 deejay Boy Thunder, 28, whose real name is Gerald Koh.Since the song's release, netizens have been hotly discussing if Psy deliberately slurred the words "mother father" to make the lyrics sound like an expletive.Deejay Boy Thunder says: "If you get what you think he means, fine. If not, you just don't."Gentleman's simple dance steps are borrowed from South Korean group Brown Eyed Girls' Abracadabra video in 2009.To incorporate the dance moves in the Gentleman video, Psy reportedly paid an unspecified fee to the choreographers who created the moves featuring a sideways leg jumble, uplifted chin and folded arms.This is dubbed the "arrogant dance", says dance instructor Samantha Mun, 25, of Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts.Psy's poker face and tubby physique provide a comical foil for the energetic dance moves, says O School's instructor Fredy Kosman, 27.This comic effect is his unique selling point over, other conventionally attractive K-pop stars, says Dancepointe's Dance Factory's K-pop head coach Jacky Lim, 31.But a unique selling point could become a cliche. Hype Records director Ken Lim, 49, says Psy should have attempted something different from the Gangnam Style "formula" to ensure his longevity in the industry.He says: "When you have something so successful and you make a copy, it is going to be seen as 'not so good' as a matter of expectation."He could have tapped on a huge audience who would watch and listen to his new song anyway, rather than just remain a YouTube sensation."

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