A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that "Gangnam Style" and its video have gone viral globally. It's South Korean rapper Psy's spoof of the posh lifestyle in the Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul. The video's loaded with quirky, galloping-horse-style dancing, sexy moves, ogling at women's bodies, and social subtext. The song's lyrics are in Korean and are about wanting that perfect girlfriend who knows when to be refined and when to be wild. The synth-pop dance grooves are familiar to Western ears and nightclubs. But while the video's goofy and amusing to those mature enough to understand parody, its sexual images and degrading message are inappropriate for younger kids.
What's the story?
Park Jae-Sang, known by his stage name, \"Psy,\" is a South Korean rapper popular for his parodies, controversial albums, and outrageous costumes. \"GANGNAM STYLE\" has introduced the world to K-pop (Korean pop) and quickly topped Billboard's Social 50 -- the chart showing the most active artists on the world's leading social networking sites. Psy writes his own songs and choreographs his own videos, a rarity among K-pop stars.
Is it any good?
Taken at face value, yes, "Gangnam Style" blatantly objectifies women and is littered with gross self-indulgence. But it's a parody of wealth, class, and values in South Korean society, which, in recent decades, has strived to emulate American culture. So on second glance, we can see familiar images of luxury, conspicuous lifestyles, and self-important attitudes in Psy's video, all punctuated by self-deprecating humor -- what other rapper, after all, would show himself sitting on a public toilet? The video's worth seeing (maybe even a few times), if not to see a caricature of contemporary Asian and American urban lifestyles, then to keep up with what your kids might be watching on a viral level.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what "going viral" means and what it takes to make it happens. Why do you think this video and song have gone viral? Who do you think is watching it, and why?
What do you think Psy is trying to say in his video, and what effect might his message have on societies around the world?
Psy is the first K-Pop star to make it big in America. How do you think being a hit in the United States helps pop stars' careers in their homelands?
For kids who love pop music
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