Kim Jong-who? Psy to launch new song Gentleman
Even Kim Jong-un’s threats of nuclear war can’t divert world attention from the main event on the Korean peninsula this week – the launch of Psy’s hugely anticipated follow-up to his global hit Gangnam Style.
The new single Gentleman will hit online music stores worldwide on Friday and finally answer the question of whether Gangnam Style and its horse-riding dance was more than just a one-hit wonder.
The 35-year-old rapper will follow up the release with a promotional concert in Seoul for 50,000 fans.
Little is known about the new single, which will be released in 119 nations, or the crucial music video that will accompany it.
It was the video of Gangnam Style, and in particular Psy’s signature horse-riding dance, that pushed him to global stardom last year after it was posted on YouTube and turned into a viral sensation.
A satire on the luxury lifestyle of Seoul’s upscale Gangnam district, it has become the most-watched YouTube video of all time, registering more than 1.5 billion views since it debuted last July.
The song topped charts around the world, and inspired a horde of online tributes and parodies, as well as flash mobs of thousands of dancing fans in cities like Paris and Milan.
Psy has promised a “Psy style” take on a traditional Korean dance for the new Gentleman video.
“I’ve been working and reworking on it continuously and I think the latest version will be the final one,” Psy told a South Korean TV news programme earlier this month.
“This is another very rousing song... The dance is one known to all Koreans but new to foreigners. This will be presented in Psy style,” he said.
Psy’s agency in South Korea, YG Entertainment, said it was not clear when the video -- featuring several big-name South Korean comedians and another female singer -- will be unveiled.
Shooting only wrapped up on Tuesday, a YG spokeswoman said.
“The pressure is huge... a lot of effort went into this,” she said.
“0nights3dayz of video shooting... still gotta shoot a lot more & it’s 5am now...but happy and fun!!!” Psy told his nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers on Monday.
The big release comes at a delicate time, with military tensions soaring on the Korean peninsula, and North Korea expected to carry out a provocative missile launch at any moment.
The North has even advised foreigners living in South Korea to consider leaving the country, to avoid being caught in a “thermo-nuclear war”.
South Koreans who have lived with the North’s hostile rhetoric for decades have remained largely unfazed by the crisis, and discussion of Psy’s new single completely overshadowed Pyongyang’s threats on news portals and chat rooms.
“What a crazy guy [Kim Jong-un] is... you should shake the world in a good way like Psy did, instead of shaking the world with threats of a nuclear war,” tweeted one fan, saenuli.
Some referenced a growing volume of remarks on Psy’s passing resemblance to the young, chubby-faced leader of North Korea.
“Is South Korea remaining calm as usual? All my foreign friends say the North Korean President who looks like Psy is crazy,” tweeted one British fan.
Gangnam Style was always going to be a hard act to follow, and many have forecast that the new single will inevitably fall flat.
But Psy is no novice, and Gu Ja-hyoung, a Seoul music critic, said the singer was capable of sustaining his global appeal.
Already an established artist in South Korea with six albums under his belt, Psy has been building and polishing his own style of quirky, explosive music and flamboyant stage persona since his debut in 2001.
“He wasn’t just some lucky guy who happened to win accidental stardom. It’s just that the world belatedly got to know about him thanks to YouTube,” Gu said.
“It will be hard to match the kind of success achieved by Gangnam Style but the new song will let the world know again that he remains the brilliant showman he always was and always will be,” he added.