Music Monday: Gangnam Style

I’m late to the party on “Gangnam Style”, but man, I am getting caught up on it. My girls, of course, are fascinated by it, and we heard it redone on a Glee soundtrack, so it refreshed their interest. And finally piqued mine.

Aside: It’s hard to pick music to listen to with my kids. At 6 and 8, they are past the Laurie Berkner stage (no offense to Berkner, but thank goodness). They still like They Might Be Giants’ kid stuff, which is entertaining (I like the 123s best), but they are ready for pop music, and for the most part, pop music blows (and/or has an inappropriate subject matter). Over the Christmas season, I discovered the Glee Christmas albums (I don’t watch the show, know almost nothing about it), and they became favorites. So I turned to their regular albums for their versions of pop songs.

Anyway: Gangnam Style, by Psy, a South Korean artist. You’ve probably heard it by now (and if you haven’t you should check out the video on YouTube — warning, the song, despite being sung in Korean, is catchy as hell.) Apparently, the grade-school rumor is that Psy uses *gasp!* Korean swear words! (None of the articles I’ve read mention anything to this effect.)

But my kids’ interest in the song plus a bit on a Slate podcast put me on the road to learning more about it.

My favorite fact about “Gangnam Style”: It’s satire. And not very subtle satire either. Gangnam is a very tony Korean neighborhood. The singer is bragging that he leads a Gangnam-style life, but the video clearly makes fun of what that means. (You really should check out the video. It’s pretty brilliant.)

My two sources: An Atlantic article dissecting the song, based, to a certain extent, on a blog post from My Dear Korea. (The blogger follows up with her thoughts on the Atlantic piece as well. Incisive.) The My Dear Korea piece is worth a visit for the version of the video that includes English subtitles.

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, I become easily obsessed with music. I’m glad I stumbled onto these social commentaries and critiques of Gangnam Style, mostly because, since it’s in a foreign language, there was no way to put my own spin on it (for myself or my kids). It was fun to explain to Flora and Kate what the song was about. And also disabuse them of the notion that Korean swear words were in there.

What’s your current musical obsession?