Psy Unveils His New ‘Gentleman’ Video and Dance at Extravagant Seoul Concert

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Kin Cheung / AP

South Korean singer Psy performs in Seoul on April 13, 2013

Fans of pelvic thrusts are going to love Psy’s new single. At a concert in Seoul on Saturday night, the South Korean star debuted the music video — and cheeky dance moves — for his new song, “Gentleman.” The show, which kept a crowd of 50,000 on their feet for several hours, was live-streamed on YouTube, the video-sharing site that helped make “Gangnam Style” one of music’s biggest ever hits — and where the song’s video is the most watched ever. The whole affair was an epic display of showmanship that included, among other things, Psy singing a heartfelt ballad (and welling up) while dangling on cables above World Cup Stadium, and a campy cover of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” performed in a one-piece, thigh-bearing leotard. (Let’s just say we saw a lot of Psy.)

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Beyond the new song (it’s catchy) and dance (get practicing), the concert had the feeling of a homecoming. Since “Gangnam Style” went viral last year, garnering more than 1.5 billion views on YouTube, Psy has become an unofficial ambassador for South Korea, performing the hit around the world. Indeed, when Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, met U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last fall, Ban joked that he’d been replaced as the most recognizable South Korean in the world. Psy, with characteristic modesty, said he was “touched” by the comment. Somehow, amid girls in gold lamé and back-flipping b-boys, the 35-year-old entertainer managed to strike a poignant tone, talking at length about what it meant to be home. He sang “We Are the One,” a crowd favorite, against a background of flashing South Korean flags.

In some ways it felt odd to be shaking it to Psy tonight. As anyone who has turned on a television recently knows, tensions between North Korea and South Korea are running high. The international press has been warning of an “imminent” missile launch for days. Just yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Seoul to talk nuclear strategy with President Park Geun-hye and other South Korean officials. Certainly, having myself awoken at 7:00 a.m. for a tour of the demilitarized zone, I didn’t imagine I’d spend the evening watching Psy show Beyoncé how it’s done.

But as I learned this week, it seems the further you get from the Korean Peninsula, the greater the level of panic. Americans may be more worried than ever about North Korea, but South Koreans have learned to shrug it off. It’s not that they don’t care — most care deeply. When asked about the political situation before the concert, Psy called it “a tragedy.” “We are the only countries divided right now,” he said. But he quickly added that he hoped North Koreans might also like the new single. “My music videos and my choreography, they might enjoy them too,” he mused. Perhaps. Either way, the show goes on.

With reporting by Audrey Yoo

MORE: Beyond Psy: 5 Essential K-Pop Tracks

MORE: Psy’s New Single ‘Gentleman’ Released Online

39 comments
Maraya
Maraya

It is dangerous to pull a chair from ones behind when thye are about to sit. I once saw a boy become paralysed after another one did that dangerous prank on him. Two times in this video this happens. It will be sad if someone decides to copy the moves.

marlinakoh89
marlinakoh89

Psy deserve every single success that he got. He appeals to the favor of the masses and is always an entertainer to make you feel better by the end of the day by listening and watching to him. Salute ! 

JoleneJohnson19
JoleneJohnson19

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RoccoJohnson
RoccoJohnson like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'm in my 50s and I don't listen to the kind of music Psy performs, in fact this video and Gangnam Style are my only exposure to his music, but based on those two I can at least appreciate him as a good entertainer. Although I found this video crude, I must admit that I enjoyed the humor and tongue in cheek-ness of it. At the very least it's refreshing to finally see something fun and upbeat, as opposed to the dark and somber tones of much of the other music and rap out there. From the limited exposure I've had to Psy I find him to be reminiscent of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, a pair who were popular during a much more upbeat and happy time in American history.

Today there are activists for everything, vegans/vegetarians to global warmers, anti-war trumpeters to ninety-nine percenters, economic meltdown to Iran and North Korea, women's rights to racism, there's just a constant barrage of dire warnings at every turn. I'm not commenting on the veracity of these items, only saying that people are desperately searching for something to bring them joy. As a counselor, I talk with dozens of people who are just depressed and resigned to despair over the state of the world today. People who've lost much of their sense of hope. Many young people have heard their entire lives that the sky is falling, and many of them have given up on any long-term dreams and goals. Their attitude so often is "What's the use?" The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that ten percent of Americans live with chronic depression. 

Obviously I'm not making a case that Psy is a cure for depression, or the answer for the world's woes, only stating that judging by the number of hits his videos have received people are looking for something encouraging, fun and light-hearted, and, at least for a brief moment, he seem to be fulfilling that desire. His music may not be our style here, but many people do derive pleasure from it. In this day and age what can be so bad about that?

marlinakoh89
marlinakoh89

@RoccoJohnson Perhaps when u have free time u can enjoy his other works. He has variety of music and genre that even u don't hv to undestand the language to enjoy.

I really appreciate ur positive thoughts on it. Nowadays all we hear about is bad news , Psy's MV has been a breath of fresh air to the mass in the world. Perhaps people do feel better after seeing his MVs and i think it's a great thing to make people feel better.

Jessica35021598
Jessica35021598

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Tarzan
Tarzan like.author.displayName 1 Like

ridiculous! it seems like looking stupid and foolish nowadays really sells! annoying! where has this world gone

mrbomb13
mrbomb13 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Okay, Psy in no way, shape, or form has any appreciable or significant talent.  He in no way deserves the celebrity status that has been brainlessly conferred upon him. 

His music videos are random, pointless, meaningless, and could be easily imitated by anyone who can hip-thrust in the slightest.  He has no unique vocal talent.  He has no unique dancing talent.  He has nothing to offer any actor, musician, lyricist, dancer, choreographer, music video director, etc.. 

In my judgment, he is a waste of space that happened to be recorded on Youtube.  He deserves the stern line delivered to Billy Madison in "Billy Madison," "That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard...Everyone in this room is stupider for having heard it.  I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

marlinakoh89
marlinakoh89

@mrbomb13U don't even know PSY and what he has done the past 12 years. U have no right to judge him if u only know Gangnam Style and Gentleman. U making a total Jerk out of yourself.

21bears
21bears like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mrbomb13 Anyone can grab his or her crotch but that does not make Michael Jackson's signature crotch dance move or himself any less significant. In fact, it makes him a genius to have thought of and done first, choosing a dance move that anyone can easily follow (but has been afraid of doing it in public) and making it popular and iconic for himself. PSY is doing the same thing with his horse-riding dance and this time hip-thrust dance.

People back then thought MJ was talentless because they were racist and didn't like black people or the Motown style or because they were clueless about the new paradigm shift in the music world. PSY is being a legend, by crossing over to American despite of the language/cultural/racial barrier and the backlash from ignorant, racist, or closed-minded people (sort of like anti-MJ people back then) and bringing a new genre called "kpop" (sort of like Motown back then) and making it part of the mainstream. He is doing all that with sense of humor, merge of multiple genres (comedy as vital part of music), language plays (writing lyrics in Korean yet making them sound like English), savvy use of technologies like YouTube which are all a paradigm shift that he is making in the music market. Even Celine Dion with such a "great vocal talent" herself couldn't do this.

leafonatreea
leafonatreea like.author.displayName 1 Like

@mrbomb13 It's fair that you believe Psy has no appreciable or significant talent.  But the bottom line is this:  As a solo act he is able to entertain and thrill 50,000 people of all ages in a huge OPEN stadium beginning in broad daylight and into the night for solid 2.5 hours.  50,000 people laughing, crying, jumping, screaming, singing and dancing.  To me that's amazing talent.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

"As a solo act he is able to entertain and thrill 50,000 people of all ages in a huge OPEN stadium beginning in broad daylight and into the night for solid 2.5 hours. 50,000 people laughing, crying, jumping, screaming, singing and dancing. To me that's amazing talent."

I did not claim that Psy was not an entertainer.  His style obviously has appeal among those who attend his concerts, and those who watch his music videos.  While I don't find his talent appealing, it's just amazing to me that so many do.

lavoie.desiree
lavoie.desiree like.author.displayName 1 Like

@mrbomb13 He does deserve it though. He was already well known in Asia with many of his tracks hitting the top of their charts. Just because everyone seems to be jumping on the "Hate on Psy" bandwagon doesn't mean he's talent-less  Did anyone watch his concert last night? I thought it was well done, and portrayed the variety of music he is capable of singing very well. Personally I was able to appreciate his music without understanding a word he was saying and a lot of the songs were very faint back music and just him singing. So to each their own in music tastes, but to outright bash someone in this manner is a little over the top.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13 like.author.displayName 1 Like

First, thank you for your reply.  Just a couple of observations:

1) I will concede that Psy has been a chart-topper in the Asian markets since year 2012.  However, that popularity has been fuelled by the fact that he's a hip-thrusting oddball in the mix of other millenial-driven oddballs (i.e. Lady Gaga).  Yet, unlike Lady Gaga, he possesses no unique talent (i.e. vocals, dancing, etc.).  In America, all he's known for is his exaggerated form of dancing.  Once he loses that, he's toast.

2) "Personally I was able to appreciate his music without understanding a word he was saying..."

I find that comment to be amusing on several levels.  For one thing, a song without enunciated lyrics is nothing more than tribal noise (i.e. just a lot of sounds put together that may or may not sound like actual speech).  Second, how can you award him any critical recognition when you can't even understand what he's saying?  Third, how can making tribal noises be in any way indicative of real talent? 

3) I agree with your, "to each he own" sentiment, regarding musical preferences.

4) Even though I agree, that does not mean that I'm not at liberty to critique other artists.  Psy earned every part of my critique - he is a talentless hip-thruster, who's fame will be short-lived.  You're more than free to disagree.

randomboss
randomboss

@mrbomb13 yeah..i get your point..but what annoys me is your lack of knowledge..he's been around longer than what you think..he was famous in asia before because he's a really good singer and composer..gangnam was his comeback..and talking about talent..you have no idea what kind of test and training korean artist undergo thru to get in the business..almost all of them understand music way better than most singers that you know..they study them and conduct every possible training they could do just to debut so please if your gonna bash someone, at least do it properly

elotrolado8
elotrolado8 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@mrbomb13 You've never appreciated music without words?  You've never appreciated music with words you couldn't understand?   And, you don't like "tribal noises", whatever that means.  I laughed and enjoyed the silly fun of the song.  Perhaps that's what many of us enjoy about it.

rfdgskj
rfdgskj like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mrbomb13 t

Music is not always for 'critical recognition' sometimes it's fun and silly and random. It is entertainment and Psy is a fantastic entertainer.

 Personally I can't understand Italian but that doesn't lesson my enjoyment of an Italian opera, even if it is nothing more then 'tribal noises'. Music Snobbery Rebuttal! 

boots
boots like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mrbomb13 

1. Psy has been around and reasonably popular in asia for much longer than 2012, he simply become suddenly global last year. He's been around since before lady gaga.

2. Racist much? Just because you don't understand his native tongue does not make it "tribal noise". His lyrics are perfectly fine for Korean speakers.

BeverlyA.Ballitoc
BeverlyA.Ballitoc like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

What a big disappointment -- sort of promoting nasty childish antics and vulgar eroticism to the viewers of this video. Basing from what I know about mainstream Korean culture, I think this latest music video of Psy does NOT befit his title as South Korea's unofficial ambassador to the world.

lavoie.desiree
lavoie.desiree like.author.displayName 1 Like

@BeverlyA.Ballitoc And yet if you look up the translation... the song has nothing at all to do with any of that. Like many many Asian MV's, it makes no sense when related to the video but it is what they find interesting.

isthelimit
isthelimit like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

It's lame. Just too unsophisticated. At least the other one was fun to watch. This one is just trying to be something it's not. Just classless using subjects related to feces smell and urge to take a dump. Just stupid. 

clamp2001
clamp2001 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

You may be stupid as i see. I am sure at least Psy is much smarter than you.

What makes you so rancid that you cant understand satire the gentleman is meaning?? Wet psy and west side.. Catch this if you can

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Would you be so kind as to please point out the satire in Psy's music video?

gentleman
gentleman like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mrbomb13@mrbomb13 I say "blunted" with a purpose. Based on your other comments, you seem to engage in great analytical skills about how bad Psy is according to one song, a skill which could be used in talking about people's musical taste in general and current mainstream music (American). But he's just following the criteria and formula that American pop culture has set out for him. 

As talentless as he may seem, he was chosen by a strict Korean music company that has an eye out for great talent. The korean music industry emphasize relentlessly, beauty, vocal  and dancing skills. Psy is an exception. What he has are other sets of skills, and he's really not able to express it with just his two major world hits. He engages in both mainstream music, but also his other tracks try to make use of his other sets of skills in humor, songwriting, rapping, and etc. And he's actually a sufficient dancer.

(There can be no justin bieber in Korea. A version of justin bieber would  have to maintain incredible talent in dancing and singing. Or they would be forced into that perfection. Talent level is forced to be high, and sometimes inhumanely so, based on how some of these music companies treat their singers.)

Psy is an exception, and we Koreans appreciate that. We find his worldwide recognition through humor, without looks, and by following formulaic beats a kind of breakthrough. But he is still talented regardless.

 The worldwide success because he followed a mainstream formula is not exclusive to him; nonetheless, his unique talent in humor, songwriting, dancing, and entertaining is--all together he is one of a kind, at least, to us Koreans.

gentleman
gentleman like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mrbomb13


As for your study and website, I appreciate your concern. 

Now let's look at the cultural context.

Korea has a major emphasis on education, business, and the economy. It's education probably doesn't include much of a humanities learning (social, racial, gender equality, and etc). This needs to change. But this education system, rigorous as it is, and economy-based, has to do with the process of rebuilding themselves. Half a century ago they were the subject of ruin and atrocities and poverty due to the Korean war. This education system and these business endeavors have worked for the them, especially, considering the fact that Korea has become major global player economically

So obviously Korean women didn't have circumstances as did American women and English women to form groups and expound and/or uphold feminist ideals in the past.  However, though there may be such disadvantages in economy and education for women, I don't find women to be socially disadvantaged. That is, you wouldn't find Korean women tolerating this form of exaggerated mistreatment or another in a relationship. Nor  would they actually fall in love with such a man. This is an exaggeration done for satiric humor. 

Korean pop culture isn't something I appreciate due to its perceived beauty standards (small face, whiteness of skin, and etc.) Their standards and the rigorous education and their focus not really on much else except economically advantageous endeavors might also contribute to a high suicide rate.

However as for this video.

You're misunderstanding exaggeration and satire. The music video is about  man claiming to be a gentleman, but who actually isn't. He's mistreating children, men, and women. The fact that he's mistreating women more might have something to do with Psy's commentary about these so called gentlemanlike men who claim they are just that. Perhaps Psy sees these sort of men mistreating mostly women, and this video satirically captures that. Psy could be engaging in a social commentary through this form of exaggerated humor.


Due to your blunted analytical skills and your lack of understanding for cultural context, I find you vulgar. 






mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Thanks for describing the satire in the music video.  I did not know that (South) Korean women were so assertive and headstrong ('dominant' is too strong of an adjective).  Just a couple of observations though:

1) In the video, while the woman starts out as determined, the implication is that she ends up 'hanging out' with Psy for the rest of the night.  Classic 'girl falls for guy' scenario that could be labeled as sexist.

2) How many more hip-thrusts and grinding sequences did you need to see before the video appeared 'vulgar' to you?

3) Are the Korean men in the video meant to represent the average Korean male (especially regarding beauty standards)?

evanmilner
evanmilner like.author.displayName 1 Like

So why is South Korea consistently ranked the lowest scoring nation in the developed world for gender equality?

gentleman
gentleman like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mrbomb13 In contemporary Korean culture, women are a lot more dominant than people would assume. If the cultural context of this korean video involved women as being more dominated by patriarchy, this video would come off as a lot more vulgar and sexist. But women are not. Look at the beauty standards for men in Korea, just by looking at some of the korean music videos. Feminine beauty, or feminine qualities, even of sexual nature  are usually perceived as more admired, powerful, and dangerous than as mere useless, weak objects.