Will Lightning Strike Twice For K-Pop's PSY?
There was another big story on the Korean peninsula over the weekend, but it wasn't about the guy in the north with the missiles and the threats. No, the other big story is about the guy in the south with the shades and the goofy dance moves, South Korean K-Pop star PSY.
The singer released his new video on at a concert on Saturday for the song "Gentleman," the follow-up to his monster hit "Gangnam Style," which at last count had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times on YouTube.
Tens of thousands of people converged on the World Cup stadium in Seoul for PSY's concert, excited to hear his new song and see the new video. The pressure is on to see if he can follow up the huge success of "Gangnam Style."
Lee Han Sun, a 33-year-old old power plant engineer, was headed inside with 50,000 other PSY fans for the sold-out concert. Lee hopes the new song will be a bit hit.
"I have really high expectations for how this one is going to turn out," he says. "'Gangnam Style' had such a huge impact, and I expect this one to have an even larger one."
The audio for the single "Gentleman" came out Saturday morning, and Lee likes what he's heard so far. But he was waiting on the key element: the video.
Some here wonder if PSY — or anyone — can match the success of Gangnam, which took Korean pop, also known as K-Pop, global.
Even Lee worries PSY could become a global one-hit wonder.
"I heard the new single and, honestly, I don't know. I think maybe there's a 30-percent chance it will flop," he says.
Sunday morning, after the concert, the video was out. And what better place to hear the public's verdict than in the Gangnam, the wealthy, fashionable district in Seoul which PSY parodied with his absurd, lassoing, horse-riding dance?
Kim Kyung Ah, a 21-year-old film student at Seoul's Dong Kuk University, says the new video — full of hip-thrusting, slap-stick and big dance numbers — is similar to Gangnam and a bit of a let down.
"Because PSY was a big hit internationally, I had this expectation that he was going to produce something of quality that befits his reputation," Kim says. "But he copied this one dance move from a famous girl group, so I thought it wasn't as fresh as I expected."
Kim's boyfriend, Lee Ju Yong, a freelance photographer, agrees. He also thought the new video had too much product placement. Lee is actually from Gangnam, and says he's actually not rich.
Although the new video did not live up to expectations, the couple are still PSY fans, and Kim is proud of what PSY has done to boost their country's image.
"He's promoting Korea to the rest of the world," she says, "and spreading K-Pop."
Which is a lot more than can be said for that guy with the missiles up north.