Let's call it a syndrome. With his new song "Gangnam Style," South Korean rapper Psy has been gaining attention all over the Internet.
The Psy syndrome, which began at home, is spreading quickly, intoxicating music fans around the world with the song's funky beat and comical dance moves.
"Gangnam Style" is the latest single by the eccentric singer-rapper whose real name is Park Jae-sang. The new song has sat at the No. 1 spot on various online music charts at home since it was released to the local market on July 15.
But the song's popularity was only domestic until the free music video for the song, in which the 35-year-old rapper performs a comical horse-riding dance, became a viral hit on YouTube.
Interest in the singer has doubled since the video attracted coverage from major U.S. news media, such as CNN, the Los Angeles Times and the weekly news magazine Time, along with tweeted praises from American artists Josh Groban and T-Pain this month.
Last week, Grammy winner Nelly Furtado surprised the audience at her Manila concert by performing "Gangnam Style."
The video of Furtado singing "Gangnam Style" in her own English version and performing the horse-riding dance was posted on the singer's official website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Psy's music video has already racked up almost 50 million YouTube views. On Tuesday, Psy topped the U.S. iTunes music video chart, beating out Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. It marked the first time a South Korean singer has earned the top spot on the chart.
The video has even spawned a spate of parodies like "Hongdae Style" and "Daegu Style" and they also received hot responses on the Internet.
Psy met with Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, during a recent trip to the U.S. Details of the meeting were not known. According to a source in the local music industry, however, Psy was offered a chance to release "Gangnam Style" in the U.S.
The video features the maverick singer-songwriter's unusual style that amuses Koreans of all ages: his trademark comic antics as a B-list singer with which many people can sympathize and experience catharsis. The new song was also composed and written by the singer.
"My motto is 'be funny but not stupid,'" Psy said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency early this month.
"I think the humor targeted for social outsiders reflected throughout the song, dance and music video really hit the bull's eye," he said.
The choice of Gangnam also drew interest, as the affluent neighborhood in southern Seoul alludes to ongoing social issues in Korea including disparity between the rich and the poor.
The song's lyrics about a bumpkin trying to woo a sexy woman by pretending to be a hot and sophisticated uptown boy are bold and direct. They read: "A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays... A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all... I'm a guy A guy who seems calm but plays when he plays A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes." (Yonhap)