You* will, of course, have already seen the original music video by Korean pop star PSY:
Find out what he’s saying in this annotated slideshow by a Hawaiian design firm. Not that it really matters.
Like all Internet memes, “Gangnam Style” quickly spawned countless imitators. Some are good, some… not so much. After spending way too much time online (WHAT ELSE IS NEW), I’ve collected some notable specimens below.
Let’s just get this out of the way. This first video, by the hit-or-miss comedy factory CollegeHumor, is significant for being topical, though it probably won’t age well past this election season. I’m not a big fan of the clumsy lyrics, and it’s more a case of co-opting the meme to make a partisan political statement rather than paying tribute to the original sentiment, but c’mon. “Hey wealthy ladies?” Gotta love that bit. (WARNING: open captioned NSFW language.)
Many “Gangnam” tributes feature the original music over new visuals, but few follow in the cheesy dance steps of the original as closely as this one. It features an anonymous cosplayer prancing around what appears to be a shopping mall, and it’s completely nonsensical, ridiculous, and charming. There’s even a Mobile Suit Gundam sight gag early on, and you should watch all the way to the end for outtakes. (Bonus: check out a live “Gundam Style” performance by some enthusiastic amateurs.)
As you know, Bob, I’m a huge Star Trek fan, so my seeing this video was inevitable. The parallel setup works remarkably well—who knew Klingon warriors and K-pop rappers had such similar attitudes? Also, that dancing Vulcan kid is just the first of many well-placed sight gags, mostly from the TNG era. Just wait until the elevator scene at 1:55. (Speaking of which, in another universe: Han always shoots first.)
I’m also an ex-Richter Scale, so I was bound to stumble across at least one pure vocal rendition. This jazzy cover by Bulgarian group Voiceland Ensemble follows the old-school a cappella tradition, re-interpreting the original in a less overbearing style and with evocative words sung in the place of instrumental sounds (as opposed to making imitative noises—long story, ask me later). The stereo effects are a little distracting, but it’s a decent live performance.
My introduction to the world of musical mash-ups was “The Ghost That Feeds,” which weaves together Ray Parker, Jr.’s immortal Ghostbusters theme song and Nine Inch Nails’ “The Hand That Feeds.” I still haven’t heard any other mash-up which matches that one for pure technical quality, but “Gangnam Busters” comes close. The audio transitions are seamless and well-timed, even if it could have used a little more Ray toward the end.
Finally, this is how you win the Internet.
Have you encountered other “Gangnam”-inspired music videos that tickle your fancy? Please share in the comments!
* Unless you’re my wife, who refuses to watch it on principle.