Is K-Pop Over Already?

Psy with Ban Ki Moon ''Gangnam Style''

The whole point of popular music performed by young people is to capture the moment and bring new meaning to old stories of love, hate, and other emotional stuff. So when it emerged that the man behind this years ubiquitous music theme had made some critical comments of US attitude and policy he had a choice to stand by what he said or think of the money he may lose over the next month or so and grab the cash before he is forgotten. He choose the later!

Why should a grown adult apologise for saying what people are thinking when the US invaded Iraq? Even President Obama was against the war in Iraq! OK what he said about the killing of a little Korean girl by a US army jeep may cause offence because it could be seen as jumping on a tragic band wagon, but unless he actually said that the Koreans should murder 2 US people to readdress the balance I cannot see anything wrong in what he said. So why should he apologise, it is clear that people do have different opinions about the world. 

Gangnam Style was supposed to be the launch of K-pop or Korean pop which was going to do to music what J-pop (Japanese pop music) never really did. It was going to march into the world popular culture and with it’s mix of RnB, Hip Hop and electronic folk music was going to shape the new music which is being downloaded. However, for this to take place then the music has got to make challenges to the old order and be relevant. The reason US music was able to conquer the world was that its main source of music was poor black citizens which spoke a language which could be understood by anyone. Korean pop need to do this.

K-pop must be able to speak for the people of Tower Hamlets as well as Chicago South side to be relevant. You see by Psy apologising because he made a concious decision to ask questions on US involvement of Korean and Iraqi politics, he should at least be honest and say that he was either trying to jump on a bandwagon that fizzled out or that he actually believes in what he was saying but now is worried that he may lose the biggest market – the US – by upsetting the general US downloading public he has decided to retract his earlier beliefs?

‘Gangnam Style’ is a nice bit of nonsense. It apparently is a swipe at people who aspire to be like a Gangnam resident. Gangnam is a posh district in the city of Seoul, South Korea. Basically it is a class concious song attacking people for imitating but not quite getting the ‘Gangnam Style’. So the song is a bit snobby and the reason why it has not been brought to the attention of the public is that it has a silly dance which detracts the viewers from the message, ‘know your place and stay there’!

So on the score sheet of the culture wars K-pop scored a nice hit but need to follow up with some bands/artist/performers who can help lift the human spirit and challenges the accepted order of things. In the meantime lets laugh at the antics of those wannabe’s who want a piece of Gangnam Style.


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