South Korean pop star Psy unveiled Saturday the hip-swinging dance and music video for his new song Gentleman , aimed at replicating the global success of Gangnam Style and its famed horse-riding dance.
The video, released a day after the song hit online stores worldwide, registered 10.7 million hits on YouTube in the 15 hours after its debut at a packed concert in the South Korean capital.
The singer showed off the much-anticipated dance moves – a simple swaying, grinding hip movement – held at a time of heightened military tensions with North Korea.
At a press conference before the show, the 35-year-old singer described the division of the Korean peninsula as a “tragedy” and said he wanted North Korean people to share in the “fun and happiness” of his music.
“Tonight me and 50,000 Korean people... we are going to sing out loud. We are going to shout out loud and we are really close to them, so they can hear,” he said.
“Hopefully with my Gangnam Style, Gentleman, and my music video, choreography ... hopefully they might enjoy it too,” he added.
The video showed Psy, wearing his signature sunglasses, dancing at various locations in and around the capital Seoul including a high-end clothing store, restaurant and swimming pool.
The story line featured the obnoxious Gentleman singer teasing and playing practical jokes on women, such as pulling their chairs away as they were about to sit, before meeting his match.
The song contains more English lyrics than Gangnam Style in a clear nod to the singer’s newfound global audience.
“Let me tell you about myself. I’m such a charmer with guts, vigour and humour,” Psy sings in Korean before launching into the song’s English catch-line: “I’m a mother-father gentleman.”
“Gonna make you sweat. Gonna make you wet. You know who I am? Wet Psy!” he sings in English, calling himself a “party mafia.”
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 quirky singer/rapper belted out some 20 hits of his own and other artists at the packed concert that featured guest performances by other popular K-pop acts such as 2Ne1 and G-Dragon.
Long known at home for his flamboyant, wacky stage persona, he even delivered a dance performance of Beyonce’s Single Ladies - clad in a skin-tight, red-coloured jumpsuit and matching knee-length socks.
At the press conference, Psy acknowledged the “enormous pressure” of following a global phenomenon like Gangnam Style, but argued he had been singing too long to be called a one-hit wonder.
Gangnam Style was always going to be a hard act to follow, and Gentleman has had a mixed reception as Psy acknowledged, although he was happy with its initial chart showing.
“Many expressed disappointment, saying I made too many calculations and I should have remade some of the songs I did in the past. But this is the best song, best work and the best choice I could possibly do,” he said.
“I made the song feeling enormous pressure,” he added.
Gentleman went straight into the top five of the iTunes charts in South Korea and other Asian markets like Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, but could only manage 90th spot in the crucial US equivalent.
In Britain, it rose quickly to number 25, but elements of the British music press were scathing in their assessment.
“Like a seven-year-old on a Casio,” was the judgment of the Times newspaper, while the underwhelmed Guardian critic called it “a fairly standard issue, pop-dance single”.
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 his flamboyant stage persona since his debut in 2001.
“I’ve been doing this for 12 years. Would it be fair to call me a one-hit wonder just because my next song falls flat?” Psy said Saturday.
“I gained international fame almost by accident but that does not mean that I will make desperate efforts to maintain that global popularity.
“I will just continue to do what I have been doing for all these years. If it satisfies people’s appetite it will. If not, it won’t.”