Gangnam Style Spreads Korean Music on YouTube


The video that South Korean rapper Psy uploaded to YouTube has accounted for over 200 million views.  It has become the music sensation of 2012 and reached the number one spot in music charts all over the world. And you don’t need to know any Korean in order to enjoy the dance performance.

The song is critical of Gagnam, a district in Seoul where many rich South Koreans live.
Some time ago Gangnam was a flat sparsely populated area of land.  Even today only one per cent of Seoul’s population lives there, but those that do are very rich. Gangnam means money and those who can afford a luxurious apartment move there. Infrastructure for the wealthy started popping up all over Gangnam – new modern schools, shopping malls and stores that offer luxurious foreign goods.

Psy is already an idol in his country and stands for the new Korean style of music, called K-pop. His name derives from the word psycho which he has always called himself. In fact he is a kind of freaky guy with a special, strange character. A successful South Korean artist for over 12 years, Psy has always considered himself an outsider.

In the funny video, Psy shows his talent as a great dancer. His performance is a mixture of shuffling around and horse riding. The song itself is about a person who wants to be cool and stylish, like a resident from Gangnam, but fails.

Although Psy has received mixed criticism from the music industry, he has proved that with a single hit one can make millions of dollars. The Korean tourist industry also hopes to profit from Gangnam style and sees it as a cultural export.

Psy performs Gangnam style

Psy performs Gangnam style - / Korean Culture and Information Service 


Related Topics


  • account for = to be the reason for something
  • afford = to have enough money to buy something
  • although = while
  • artist = musical performer
  • consider = thought to be
  • critical = here: to show the problems and bad sides of something
  • criticism = here: opinion formed by someone else
  • cultural export = here: part of a country’s culture that spreads to other places
  • derive = come from
  • fail = not succeed
  • foreign = from another country
  • freaky =  strange, unusual and a bit frightening
  • guy = person
  • idol = someone that you love or admire very much
  • infrastructure = basic services, like schools, banks etc..
  • luxurious = very comfortable, expensive
  • mixture = combination
  • outsider = someone who is not accepted as a member of a social group
  • performance = act, show, presentation
  • pop up = appear
  • prove = show
  • psycho =  someone who is mentally ill and behaves in a violent or strange way
  • reach = get to
  • resident = a person who lives in a place
  • shopping mall = shopping centre
  • shuffle = move your feet around
  • sparsely populated = very few people live here
  • stand for = to be a representative of
  • stylish =  attractive in a fashionable way
  • upload = to transfer to the Internet so that everybody can see it
  • view = number of times people have watched it
  • wealthy = rich