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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Oppah Gangnam Style

I've always been a bit of a nutter when it comes to statistics. For some reason, I love finding out various stats on dates, numbers, facts, figures, and records. I suppose that's a good trait to have when you have a pop culture blog up and running. The only downside is that to the general public, babbling off statistics randomly may sound like the most boring activity in the world.

Don't worry, though. These stats are going to be fun. Just have a look at some of the stats for my blog.

DATE STARTED: May 24, 2011
TOTAL POSTS: 597 (including this one)
TOTAL PAGE VIEWS: 97,610 and counting

So, as you can see, this blog is approaching a bit of a milestone. I would estimate that at some point in January 2013, I'll reach the 100,000 mark. To me, this is something that makes me very happy, as I never imagined that I would ever reach that point. Again, it's all because of you reading and supporting this venture. You all rock my world!

Heck, it makes me feel confident one day that I'll eventually reach 500,000 page views. Or maybe if I'm alive to see it, maybe 1,000,000 page views.

Or, what about a BILLION page views?

I know what you're saying. Don't shoot so high. Stay grounded. Yes, it's very likely that this blog will never reach one billion page views. And, even if it does, it most certainly won't be in my lifetime.

In fact, with the Internet being made available to the general public in the early 1990s, it seemed as though it would be an extraordinary, impossible feat for a single web page to reach one billion page views.

That is, until December 21, 2012.

On that date, a single YouTube video surpassed the one billion page view mark, the very first one in the history of the Internet to do so. The only other video to come close to that mark was Justin Bieber's music video for “Baby”, which currently is sitting at a little over 818 million views.

As of January 5, 2013, this video is currently sitting at 1,132,944,644 views and counting!

So, what is this video? I'll give you a hint. It's not this one;

I mean, how many videos with almost a billion page views does the Bieber need? And, it's not this one;

Though Carly Rae Jepsen did have one of the most recognizable songs of 2012 with “Call Me Maybe”. And, it's not this one;

Though Taylor Swift ended up having a fantastic year with the release of her latest album “Red”.

Well, I may as well post it. It's not like it needs the attention, but what the heck, right?

SONG: Gangnam Style
ALBUM: PSY 6 (Six Rules), Part 1
DATE RELEASED: July 15, 2012

By now, I am almost certain that everybody has heard of this song which quickly became a global phenomenon. The single was released in the summer of 2012 by South Korean rapper/songwriter PSY (born Park Jae-sang), and within one month, the accompanying music video went viral on YouTube. A month after that, in September 2012, the song was awarded a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most “liked” music video on YouTube, and won Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

And on December 31, 2012 (which coincidentally also happened to be PSY's 35th birthday), he performed the song at Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve '13 with Ryan Seacrest in front of the large crowd in the middle of Times Square, moments before the big ball drop (which coincidentally also featured the three artists whose videos I posted earlier in the blog).

So, now that you know who PSY is, and how the song reached such a huge milestone, the next question that needs to be asked is this.

Just what the heck does Oppan Gangnam Style mean?

Apparently, Gangnam Style is a term that is used in Korea, which loosely translated into English stands for a lifestyle that is associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea (PSY's birthplace). PSY has described the Gangnam District of Seoul as being the Korean version of Beverly Hills, California. In some ways, the music video that accompanied the song was ironic in nature, given that PSY was depicting an area of a city that was filled with luxuries and riches by making one of the cheapest looking music videos that could be made this day and age.

In short, it was a 2012 video that had the style of a 1982 Duran Duran video. Strangely enough though, I think that made the public want to watch it more. I'll admit that I even was curious to view the video after hearing so many people talking about it!

And, my surprise, I didn't hate it. Sure, the song can get a little monotonous if one were to play it on a continuous loop for half an hour, but I'll admit that the video saves the song in my eyes.

(I'm still a bit shocked that it has a billion page views!)

Oh, and the signature dance that PSY performs within the “Gangnam Style” video? He actually came up with the choreography for the dance himself, although it wasn't exactly done in a few hours. He stated that between trying to come up with a unique dance step to accompany the video and to make his recent effort stand out, he worked on the dance for almost an entire month. He eventually settled on the “horse trot” move after testing several animal-based dance moves with his choreographer.

TRIVIA: When the video reached the one billion page view mark, YouTube added an animated picture next to the page view count which shows a little man dancing the “Gangnam Style” moves.

The single also ended up getting mostly positive reviews from a variety of entertainment websites and publications. Ian Garland of the “Daily Mail” remarked that the song was a “bizarre music sensation”, while London mayor Boris Johnson actually named “Gangnam Style” the greatest cultural masterpiece of 2012!

I don't know if I would actually go that far...but I don't doubt that the song made an imprint on the 2012 music scene.

Of course, not all critics seemed to give the same praise over the song that other people seemed to have. “Digital Spy”'s Robert Copsey criticized the monotony of the song, “The Guardian”'s Paul Lester described the song as a messy blend of “Pump Up The Jam”, “Cotton-Eye Joe”, and the “Macarena”, and Robert Myers of “The Village Voice” stated that the song was an “inspired piece of silliness”.

Critics aside, the video was voted by fans as Billboard's “Best Music Video of 2012”, and it has inspired several dance mobs of people performing the “Gangnam Style” dance. Just in case you were interested, on December 31, 2012, more than a million people gathered outside of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany to witness and attempt a live “Gangnam Style” performance.

As of right now, the song is nominated for a slew of awards for the upcoming year. It's on the nomination list for the People's Choice Awards for Favourite Music Video, and is nominated for two World Music Awards for World's Best Song, and World's Best Video.

Alas, no 2013 Grammy nominations were given. But, hey, I don't think PSY's complaining. He already has the most watched online video ever.

So, let's add Gangnam Style onto the list of fad dances of yore. It joins the ranks of the Hustle, the Disco Duck, the Electric Slide, the Safety Dance, the Conga, the Loco-Motion, and the Macarena as some of the most memorable crazes ever featured in the world of music.

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