Brace yourself for Psy's second act - but will it live up to Gangnam Style?
It was impossible to escape his first single – but can the Korean rapper strike it big a second time?
Adam Sherwin is Media Correspondent at The Independent and an award-winning writer who specialises in covering the entertainment, broadcasting, music and popular culture industries. Previously Media writer and diarist at The Times, he was a co-founder of the Beehive City media and entertainment website. As regular contributor to BBC London 94.9 Radio station, he was named Music Business writer of the year at the awards of influential music industry site Record of the Day in 2006.
Thursday 11 April 2013
It has taken nine months of studio angst from a novelty pop perfectionist. But the world finally got to hear the hotly anticipated follow-up to “Gangnam Style”, the global sensation created by South Korean rapper Psy.
The pressure of surpassing the “lassoing horse” dance, which has been viewed more than 1.5 billion times on YouTube, has weighed heavily on the portly performer.
Initially, Psy, 35, broke cover to announce that his next single would be called “Assarabia” – slang for “Oh Yeah!” in Korean. But this was abandoned amid fears that the title might offend Arab listeners.
Last month Psy appeared close to meltdown when he tweeted a photo of himself in a recording studio, face buried in his hands, captioned: “pain of creation”. His manager, Hwang Kyu-hwan, admitted that Psy was “under pressure” to produce a song, which would once again capture the world’s imagination while delivering a new, easy-to-imitate dance move.
Now the wraps are finally off the new song, called “Gentleman”. “I’ve been working and reworking on it continuously and I think the latest version will be the final one,” the singer said hours before its first airing. Psy worked two days without sleep to get the video finished in time.
“Gentleman”, it turns out, is no radical departure. Described as “rousing” by his management company YG Entertainment, it employs “a fast tempo with the same kind of beat as ‘Gangnam Style’.”
A trailer posted on Psy’s Twitter links to a thudding beat with a repeated lyric of “I’m a mother, father, gentleman”. Or “mother f***er” depending on the interpretation of Psy’s accent.
“All Koreans know this dance but [those in] other countries haven’t seen it,” said Psy ahead of the midnight South Korean-time YouTube premiere of the video. A clip suggested a rump-shaking manoeuvre is crucial to the performance.
Despite his clownish persona, Psy, who has earned £10m from “Gangnam Style”, intended that song as a satire on the ostentatiously wealthy young Koreans who live in the Gangnam neighbourhood.
The star will demonstrate the new dance moves when he performs for 50,000 people at Seoul’s Sangam stadium in a concert on Saturday, streamed live over the internet.
The build-up to “Gentleman” has distracted Koreans from the sabre-rattling by Kim Jong-un across the border. Now a nation’s pride depends upon its musical figurehead persuading the world that “Gentleman” isn’t a novelty single too far.
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Refugee crisis: Sweden the only European country with a majority favourable towards non-EU immigration
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Malnourished two-year-old found being breastfed by dog in Chile
- 4 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 5 YouTube video shows woman verbally abusing takeaway staff 'because they used green peppers'
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Spanish town saved by botched restoration of century-old Christian 'Ecce Homo' fresco of Jesus
'Beasts of No Nation': Netflix releases trailer of first feature film, starring Idris Elba
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees