Gangnam Style is a hit song from PSY that took the world by storm in 2012. Because of its unique style and the fact that it takes inspiration from various genres, you might have asked yourself if Gangnam style is really K-Pop.
The answer is yes, Gangnam Style is a part of the K-Pop genre. In this article, we'll share what K-pop is, why the song is considered K-pop, and answers to related questions.
Why Is Gangnam Style Considered K-Pop?
Gangnam Style is considered K-Pop because PSY created it in South Korea. Furthermore, he’s South Korean, and the song fits the genre's criteria of incorporating various styles and influences.
PSY is a South Korean artist who, like most other K-Pop artists, took influences from various popular music, including EDM and rap, to create a unique and catchy sound.
The song also has a fun and humorous music video that perfectly captures the essence of K-Pop. This video has amassed incredible global attention, with over 4.7 billion YouTube views and counting.
What Is Gangnam Style About?
The lyrics, which are written mostly in Korean but have some English as well, talk about the lively and affluent Gangnam district.
The Gangnam district is known for luxury homes, celebrities, upscale nightlife, sophisticated fashion, etc., and this song pays tribute to Gangnam's impeccable style and power.
What Is K-Pop?
K-Pop is a term referring to Korean popular music. It is generally made by Korean musicians.
It applies to music produced in South Korea that features traditional Korean music. Moreover, K-Pop also takes inspiration from various other countries and styles, ranging from hip hop and R&B to jazz, gospel, and more.
Interestingly, the term gayo is used to describe popular domestic music in South Korea. However, K-Pop gained popularity in 2000s as a term to describe popular music from South Korea.
The genre has gained worldwide popularity in recent years, with many K-Pop artists becoming household names, such as BTS, Blackpink, and, of course, PSY.
Why Do Some People Not Consider Gangnam Style K-Pop?
Although the working definition of K-Pop is mainstream music from South Korea, some people have more specific, narrow definitions of what they consider K-Pop.
For instance, some people only consider music with a heavy focus on dance and choreography as K-Pop. Since Gangnam Style does not have an intricately choreographed dance routine and only has what some say is one silly dance to go with it, some people don't consider it to be up to K-Pop standards.
Further, many people claim that one must be trained as a K-Pop artist to be able to call themselves one. Since PSY came from a wealthy family and may have been able to pay his way into the music industry, some people don't consider him a “true” K-Pop artist.
Anyone is entitled to their opinion on whether a certain song or artist fits a genre. However, it is clear that Gangnam Style meets the definition of K-Pop and can be considered as such.
Why Is K-Pop So Unique-sounding?
K-Pop offers an eclectic genre of music that has its roots in South Korea, and people tend to like it because it sounds unique and intricate.
However, somewhat ironically, K-Pop takes most of its inspiration from various other popular music genres, including pop, hip-hop, rock, r&b, electronic, and dance – all of which stem from the influence of Black musicians and culture in the U.S.
So in a way, the unique-sounding nature is due to combining other styles of music into one fresh, modern-sounding song that can appeal to many different tastes.
How Did PSY Create a Global Phenomenon With Gangnam Style?
Regardless of whether you consider Gangnam style K-Pop or not, what's undeniably true is that the song has become a cultural phenomenon.
When PSY released the song on July 15th, 2012, it went viral almost instantly, with people worldwide imitating its catchy dance moves and singing its simple chorus.
The song has become so popular that it spawned a whole genre of videos called “Gangnam Style parodies,” with people worldwide creating their own versions of the song and its dance.
Gangnam Style Awards
Gangnam Style wasn't just a cultural phenomenon but also a song well-received by critics.
It won a long list of awards, including the New Media Award at the American Music Awards, Viral Video of the Year at the Capricho Awards, and Song of the Year at the Korean Music Awards.
Other Hit Songs by PSY
Many people think that PSY is a one-hit wonder, but that's far from the case.
He has produced other award-winning hits as well, such as “Gentleman,” “Daddy,” and “I Luv It.”
These songs are listed as K-Pop songs, and he's even collaborated with other K-Pop artists, such as Suga from the K-Pop band BTS.
How To Know If a Song Is a K-Pop Song
If you're reading this article, it might be because you don't quite know what K-Pop is, or you're unsure how to recognize it when you hear it.
Here are a few ways to determine whether a song is a K-Pop song.
Research the Artist
The first and most obvious way to determine if a song is K-Pop is to research the artist.
If the artist is from Korea and the songs they create are mainstream, then they are likely considered K-Pop in the music world.
Listen To the Music
K-Pop songs often have a very distinct sound.
The music is often upbeat and catchy, with the use of synthesizers, auto-tune, and samples.
Additionally, if a song is in Korean and sounds like it's incorporating aspects of various other genres, it's likely a K-Pop song.
Check the Lyrics
Another way to tell if a song is K-Pop is to look at the lyrics.
K-Pop songs usually have lyrics that are relatable and often address topics such as love, the pursuit of happiness, and more.
Additionally, many K-Pop songs have Korean lyrics, either partly or fully.
Is Gangnam Style K-Pop? Final Thoughts
Gangnam Style is indeed considered K-Pop because it meets the criteria for being so. PSY is a South Korean artist who created a pop song in Korea.
In general, the K-Pop genre incorporates an eclectic mix of sounds and styles, with inspiration from other popular music genres.
This is why this genre is so diverse, and the songs are so catchy! They tend to incorporate aspects of other genres that people can't get enough of.