Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2012 in Review (Part 2): Song of the Year? Oppa Gangnam Style!

This January, for my traditional reviewing of the previous year, I will be writing a series of articles that would recap or evaluate some (if I have the time, then all) of the highlights of 2012 that involved, concerned, compelled, and/or fascinated me… this is the second part…

I feel that the music and songs of today are very inferior to the music and songs of the past.  It’s very seldom for me to find a favorite among the songs made nowadays.  I find the mainstream, synthesized music occasionally catchy but bland, artificial, and soulless; and the lyrics too shallow or unoriginal.  Either it’s just my biased preference per my age or I’m objectively correct in my observation that the songs of today lack the quality of the songs of the past.  I don’t know.    Either way, I’ve never been a big fan of the 21st century music scene.     

This year, my sister got crazy with this boy band One Direction.  Now, I’ve never been a big fan of boy band pop music (with the exception of my fondness for Michael Learns to Rock [if the band is considered as such], Backstreet Boys, and a bit of Blue… and maybe a song or two from other boy bands), and I know that boy band music is about 60% good looks and just 40% talent.  I’m not saying boy bands can’t sing – most of them can – but good singing is secondary to “being a cute guy that girl fans can crush over.”  But though musical talent is just secondary factor in boy band music, it is my observation that the music of One Direction can’t even hold a candle to those mediocre boy bands that dominated the 90’s.   Moreover, one of their songs goes like this:
Lets go crazy, crazy, crazy till we see the sun.
I know we've only met but let's pretend it's love.
And never, never, never stop for anyone.
Tonight let's get some.
And live while we're young.  
That’s the first time ever in the history of boy band pop music that premarital, casual sex is obviously implied in the lyrics.  That is a bit disturbing considering that I’ve always thought boy band music is supposed to be GP.  That or I haven’t listened to enough boy band music.

But enough with One Direction.  This post is not about them and their music.  This is all about the sensational…
“Oppa Gangnam Style” is the song of the year.  This song’s popularity – considering that it has more of the makings of the “fad” kind of music than having the makings of becoming a classic – may fade in a few years (or even in a few months into 2013), and I doubt Psy will have a bigger hit than “Gangnam Style”, but this song owned 2012.  No song comes close.  Its music video became the first video to get to 1 billion views in Youtube (ergo, it’s the most watched video in Youtube history) – all in mere months of being available in Youtube!  To say that this song’s impact to pop culture has been big is an understatement.

The success of “Gangnam Style” could be attributed to its catchy techno music, ridiculous but enjoyable dance moves, and/or Psy’s massive sex appeal – because there’s swag, and then there’s Psy…
(Moreover, his singing might sound silly, but just hear him talk.  Just search for an interview in the Internet.  He’s fluent in English and his voice is James Bond-like.) 
For me, going viral in the Internet is the most important reason of Gangnam Style’s successful pop culture invasion.  The success of Gangnam Style is another reminder on how powerful the Internet can really be, that it dramatically changed the mechanics of promotion and dissemination of products, propaganda, ideas, information, etc.   
By the way, despite arguing that it’s the song of the year, I’m not implying that “Oppa Gangnam Style” is a piece of musical genius.  It’s cheesy.  But it’s that kind of cheesiness which is “so cheesy that it’s awesome.”  It’s far from becoming one of my most favorite songs, it doesn’t help improve my perception with the quality of 21st century music, and it’s not going to be a permanent occupant of my playlist (though, currently it still is in it)... but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some cheese once in a while. 

Lastly, if you get a badass like Wolverine to dance the Gangnam, that has to count for something…

No comments: