Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Op, Op, Op...What's Next For Gangnam Style?

'Gangnam Style'. It's already the most liked video in Youtube history and is set to overtake Justin Bieber's 'Baby' as the most viewed video of all time. With the lead single from his sixth album, Psy has crafted the most popular K-pop song the world has ever seen and since August, the crazed horse dance moves have been performed everywhere, from the 2012 EMAS to Saturday Night Live.

But it's not just us who have become obsessed with 'Gangnam Style'. Everyone from Britney Spears to Madonna has performed the hit song with Psy.  
Even Rylan from UK X-Factor had a go! The latest celebrity to join the fun/desperately hold onto fame is 90s superstar MC Hammer. Watch Psy and Hammer perform together at the 2012 AMAS here.
Bless Hammer but I thought his appearance was slightly pointless.
So after being parodied by everyone, from the US Navy to the boys from Eton, and even after being tweeted about by the United Nations, what's next for Psy? Will he become another MC Hammer, enjoyed only for his novelty value, reminding us of a time gone by, or does Psy have a successful international career ahead of him?
To prolong the popularity of 'Gangnam Style', which has currently been in the spotlight for over four months now, the K-pop singer Hyuna who featured in the video has recorded her own version of the track.
'Oppa Is Just My Style' is very similar to the original in that it also features Psy on both the song and the promo but this version is more from a female perspective and includes Hyuna's vocals singing alongside Psy.

But this won't keep 'Gangnam Style' going for much longer. Right about now, Psy must be feeling the pressure of living up to that monster hit and according to the man himself, he feels that the video is currently more popular than he is. In an attempt to maintain his international appeal, Psy has revealed that his next single will be recorded completely in English and recent reports suggest that the Korean rapper has signed with Scooter Braun, the manager of Psy's nearest Youtube rival, Justin Bieber. If the stars of the two biggest videos on Youtube made a video together, who knows how big that could be?

But that just sounds awful.

So what else has Psy got planned? Early in November, Psy appeared on the British show Jonathan Ross, explaining that before his team settled on the horse-riding dance, Psy had tried out a number of animal-related moves for 'Gangnam Style'. Now that's been done, Psy revealed that the dance for his next single will be sports-themed, leading Ross to speculate about the moves. Tennis? Bowling? Fly-fishing? Psy kept schtum.

What little we know so far suggests that Psy is going for another 'Gangnam Style' hit but the problem with that is if it's too similar, the new song may lack in comparison. However, if Psy went the other way and released something completely different, such as a mid-tempo number, then this could alienate his new fanbase, who are only used to Psy doing one thing. And will recording new material in English lose some of that bizarre appeal that he holds over Western audiences numbed to mindless Guetta beats and hooks? It's a tough call that could either make or break Psy's career in the West but it's worth noting that he is already extremely popular in South Korea and will remain so even if he becomes just another one hit wonder over here. 

'Gangnam Style' is the lead single from Psy's sixth studio album in South Korea, titled 'Psy 6 (Six Rules) Part 1'.

Interesting cover. For a flavour of what Psy might release next, it's worth listening to a couple of tracks from this album. 'Blue Frog' is a collaboration between Psy and Korean superstar G-Dragon, lead member of boyband BigBang, who have also gained their own international following due to the success of 'Fantastic Baby'. 'Blue Frog' is a bizarre song that certainly wouldn't sell as well as Psy's signature hit in the West but it's interesting to hear the kind of material that appeals to his fans in Psy's homeland.

Finally, here's the lead single 'Right Now' from Psy's last studio album 'Psy Five', which was banned in South Korea due to its obscene lyrics. This promo proves that 'Gangnam Style' was not the only catchy dance number that Psy can do and it has another hilarious video to match.

Check out those abs!

I'm sure Psy has some more great hits of this caliber in him but while it may be impossible for the rapper to replicate the colossal success of 'Gangnam Style', the doors have now been opened for Psy and other Korean acts to have a global impact with their music through the internet. K-Pop bands such as BigBang, Girls Generation and 2NE1 are all gunning for international success in the wake of Psy's record-breaking sales, with many releasing more music in English. While I think K-pop will continue to filter its way into the Western charts, most of these acts will only achieve this on a smaller scale, until perhaps the next big thing comes along (Come on BigBang, 'Fantastic Baby' would be HUGE over her!). 

In the meantime, Psy's next studio album will be out in the next few months and if K-pop ultimately loses its international appeal then hey, there's always J-Pop!     

What do you think of Psy's success? Will he be a one hit wonder or does the Korean rapper have a bright future ahead of him? And will more Asian acts become successful in the West now that the gates have been opened? Feel free to comment below and remember to share, like and tweet us. Thanks again!

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