Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Korean Fact of the Day: PSY is No. 2

PSY's newest single, Gentleman, shattered the record by surpassing 100 million Youtube views in just four days. But in Korea, PSY is already old and busted. The new hotness? The legendary Jo Yong-pil [조용필]. Jo's Bounce, the title song from his newest album Hello, just took the number 1 spot on one of the Korean music charts (Bugs Real Time Chart) away from Gentleman.

By the way, Jo Yong-pil is 63 years old, and Hello is his 19th regular album. His musical achievements are enough to easily place him within top five of the most influential K-pop artists of all time. (And no, that should not be a spoiler.) There is a reason why Koreans refer to Jo as the "King of Singers" [가왕].

If you are curious, have a listen at Bounce.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.


  1. 조용필 is still the man. It's good to see him getting his due. Now I've got to find a way to get this album in the U.S.

    If the album title is Hello, though, can "Bounce" be called the "title song?"

  2. PSY's new video, Gentleman, SUCKS BIG TIME. Here are some of the reasons why:

    1. The music is not as catchy. Nobody says that his Gangnam style was Beethoven's 5th Symphony, but it was tolerable and catchy. Gentleman is not as catchy. It is not bad, but it lacks originality.

    2. Now for his video. In Gangnam style everything is "light and fluffy" - PSY makes fun of HIMSELF. Let me reiterate: HIMSELF. Other comedians are making fun of themselves as well. For example, the elevator guy and the comedian dude in a yellow suit who is challenging him to a dance off were having a ball making fun of themselves.
    In Gentleman PSY is making fun of others. Yeah, I understand - he is getting his payback in the end, but the whole video looks very ugly. It gives viewers perception that Korean people (PSY and others represent Korea in this video) are like ultimate bullies who pull chairs out from underneath others, make girls smell their farts and do other things for fame / money or both.

    Plus all those Korean girls dancing in swimming suits? I mean, if you take any famous Korean girl group, they are dressed stylishly, not slutty.

    The reason why Korean drama is so appealing is because all Korean guys are portrayed as ideal men - protective, respectful, sweet, sensitive, manly with excellent manners. If any male character would pull a chair out from under a girl, that would be the end of Kdrama (and the beginning of Jdrama).

    I mean I understand that PSY is trying to be a clown but com'on. Some things are sacred - like the image of a perfect Korean guy. One more video like that and there will be no more letters with "How do you make yourself attractive to Korean men?"

    To me, PSY is worse than Justin Bieber now. You are probably wondering how can anyone be worse than Justin Bieber - it seems impossible. Well, PSY has proven otherwise. In Gangnam style he was relaxed, funny and original. In Gentleman he is redundant, gross and NOT funny. Thanks so much for projecting this new image of Korean guys!

    3. Instead of using new innovative tricks to make the audience laugh like the elevator guy or a dance off, the video repeats the same jokes. Now it is two guys dancing with PSY laying underneath, a guy in a yellow suit stuck in the elevator, etc. Many scenes were just copied off the original Gangnam style.

    The reason why his new video got 100 million views in such a short period of time is because everybody wants a new hit from PSY. PSY will probably go down in history as a one-hit wonder, no surprises there. Too bad. He has a great potential, all he needs to do is to take some time off and to completely distance himself from his previous experience.

    One of my favorite videos is "Airplane" by "Turtles". The guy is no longer with us and "Turtles" are no longer a group, but it was a sweet and cute pop song. Too bad Justin Bieber's producer haven't seen that one. They could have been famous.

    1. "Some things are sacred - like the image of a perfect Korean guy."

      When did PSY ever ascribe to the image of a perfect Korean guy? As far as I can tell, he is not a boyband member and he is not a K-Drama star. I didn't care for Gangnam Style and like Gentleman even less, but this cult of the Korean Man has confounded me since I had first heard of its existence only a few years ago.

    2. Unfortunately, now all Korean men will be measured up to this image, whether they want it or not. Actually, it is not a bad thing.

    3. As someone who has been "measured up" to many stereotypical images of Asian men, I cannot muster up the energy to get up in arms about this. I have pretty much spent up all my anger at the "Gangnam Style" phenomenon and this is no different. Not at all. There is already a stereotype of Asian men being silly and mysoginistic. Just because there is a separate category for Korean men, that does not mean that they were immune from it before this video.

      I am not even Korean, not in nationality or ethnicity, but I got associated with Gangnam Style a lot during the last several months. Did I want it? Did I ask for it? No. You know what I never got associated with? The sacred image of the Korean Man. Well, I don't give a fuck about this sacred image of the Korean Man. It is FAKE. Just like all of those other lies and stereotypes about Asians. It is fake. And Psy can ignore it or shit on it all he wants.

    4. VB, I mean this in the kindest possible way:

      Do you have any idea how creepy and objectifying your comments on this blog come across? Not only on this post, even; a few other Korean pop culture/hallyu related entries I've noticed it as well. It's one thing to be into Korean culture or to have a preference for Korean men (there are certainly some catchy K-pop tunes and handsome Korean men out there), but the kind of language that keeps popping up in your comments (ie "sacred") definitely goes beyond that. Such language and idealization makes me uncomfortable, and I'm not even Korean.

      Springboarding from that, I hope this cult of "the perfect Korean guy" isn't as widespread as posts like this make it out to be. I also hope you realize that people are hardly ever like they are on the TV, including K-dramas. And as for the "ideal man"? For the record, I find the popular guys in K-dramas to be the opposite of ideal: emotional constipation and the inability to communicate feelings openly aren't really things I'm into, thanks.

      Tangentially, there is a lot of slut shaming going on in your posts, too. You don't win any points for shitting on other women because they don't adhere to whatever standards of modesty you hold for yourself.

      I don't comment all that much (though I read often—kudos to you, TK, for the immense amount of effort you put into this blog and keeping it going all these years), and I'm not going to bother checking for replies to this once I post it because I have better shit to do with my life than argue on the Internet. Rather, this is something I've noticed in a few of your posts and since no one else has brought it up, I thought I might as well be That Guy. I'm not coming from a place of malice, though. I'm not trying to cut you down, VB, or to be a troll. Just a suggestion that you might want to mind how you come off and be wary of reducing any Korean to simply their Korean-ness.

    5. Katherine - I had no idea people take my posts seriously because I write them for fun. Actually, try to re-read my post thinking it is 99% sarcasm. For example, when I write things about Lee Min Ho - it is just for laughs, really.

      As for being slutty - I liked that aura of innocence from some Korean videos/dramas. I am tired of all those images created by Anglo pop-culture and Kpop/Kdrama provides a great relief.

      I really do not care what my posts look like (aside from many mistakes because I cannot go back and edit them out) because that's my sense of humor. And it is impossible to argue whether something is funny or not, because everybody has a different sense of humor. If they make you angry or upset - it is not worth it being upset over what another person wrote on the Internet. It is like me being upset over what Rush Limbaugh say. Who cares? If this upsets you that much, I promise to use my sense of humor elsewhere. I just need to find a funny/sarcastic blog about Korean wave which examines it from a biological point of view.

    6. I couldn't see the video yet, even though I live in Korea, and surprisingly I couldn't find it on YouTube either - I found reactions and articles about it, but not the actual video.

      However, I've seen parts of it a lot on the news and I'd have to agree with you (VB) almost only on the repetitive and unoriginal part. The song itself sounds too similar to Gangnam Style, which was cheap fun, but every artist should move on with their work, right? Psy seemed to me as he wanted to keep safe and keep making money as he has been doing lately, but whether he is really having a good strategy, that's very very questionable.

      To me, what I saw from the video, it seems as not funny, because I find it quite sexist, wheres Gangnam Style was pretty innocent humor. I'm noticing on the internet various machoist gag videos and photos giving women are hard time and that is supposed to be funny. I connect the video to this wave of jokes where humilliating a woman is funny. I'm not saying women are sacred, don't misunderstand me, we're all equal human beings, in fact, sometimes these kind of jokes are funny to me too. What I don't like is the WAVE of such jokes, that is what it makes it a problem. If you know what I mean.

      However, don't worry about "the new rude image od Korean men", because PSY is a minority and he's not even the rappresentative of Korea or Korean men and neither handsome. And the minority in Korea is not really that effective. Gangnam Style was just lucky.

    7. @ Dac X Lee

      Actually, I liked a number of things about PSY's new video:

      1. Even though it is not as catchy as the previous one, it is not bad. I listened to it a couple of times and I admit I kind of like it now. It has a certain charm about it.

      2. I liked how he was eating toppoki dough. It was funny (and original).

      3. I liked him making a copy of his face on a xerox copier with the poster coming out.

      4. His new dance move is really neat. The whole video is extremely well choreographed. Especially the one in the big hall.

      5. I liked him rubbing off the traffic cone. Okay, it is humor below the belt but... it is still funny.

      6. PSY is actually handsome up close. He enjoyed the process of making that video - you could see it.

      7. His clothes are extremely stylish. He is probably the best dressed guy out there at the moment.

      8. You should admire the fact that he is still singing in Korean. He could have used English but he remained true to himself.

      There were many moments I did not like though. Thanks for not liking the sexist jokes, I find them appalling. Especially coming from a Korean singer. Maybe if he was not Korean, I would not notice them, but since he is, I guess I am using double standards now. I did not like him playing with kids, shopping with ajussis, changing the settings on the treadmill, and many other moments. They were just not funny. But PSY is very talented, I am sure he will come up with something even funnier after a while. I just hope he is going back to his innocent fun days.

  3. So . . . swimsuit = slutty? I suppose if they were wearing t-back bikinis or there were shots from the rear showing them bending over or it showed them jumping around with their boobs bouncing to and fro - I might be inclined to see your argument. But they were just brief shots of girls in standard bikinis.

  4. That songs sounds like it could play all throughout a K-Drama, or a 90s teen show if it were in English and made in the 90s. Not bad, but nothing special as far as I can hear.

  5. I was pretty sure Mr. Cho would be TK's top 5. I'm digging the new track, but frightened by the man's seemingly endless musical output. I know a few of his big songs here and there, but if I were to start with an album (or a compilation), what would you all recommend?

    1. There are probably numerous compilations you could choose from. I have four of his albums, and my favorite among them is his 7th album. Take that for what it's worth, considering the small sample size.

    2. It's a place to start. Thanks, Ian.

  6. I kind of agree with unknown about the song.. Sounds like something that would be a massive hit for One Direction (those five dwarf lads), which I don't mean as a good thing. The musicianship is pretty good though and there's at least one tasty guitar bit in there that transcends the middle-of-the-roadness of the song.
    (Truth in Advertising? This kind of mid-tempo pop is never going to work for me, so I may be a bit judgemental^^)

  7. PSY is already old and busted in my mind. I wish he'd get old and busted in the US so I didn't have to hear his songs anymore.

  8. @VB Just to let you know I've always found your comments to be funny and cute...and I'm Korean. I don't really understand why the other commenter was so highly upset, but I guess everyone has a different sense and understanding of humor. I can tell a lot of your posts are completely playful and meant to be humorous so I hope that doesn't stop you from commenting and expressing your views~

    As for Jo Yong Pil's new song..I am just amazed at how his voice has not aged a bit. My mother is/was an avid fan in her younger years and she too was surprised at how his voice has remained so youthful over the years~!! :0)

  9. @S - Thank you! I usually write something after I watch Stephen Colbert and sometimes it comes out... not as funny as on Colbert's show.

    One thing that I never make fun about is my love for Korean culture and my deep respect for everything that comes out of Korea. Although my love for Korean culture is really skewed - I love Kdrama more than anything else.

    Unfortunately, I will never be able to get my questions answered - they are too difficult. For example, I want to know - are Koreans genetically related to Mongolians or not? It is not clear from the Wikipedia article. It is such a homogeneous nation, I think it should be very easy to determine. I know that Japanese are related to Koreans genetically (not all Japanese though). This is what I actually want to know, without any sarcastic remarks.

    I am especially interested in Lee Min Ho's genetic makeup (sarcasm). Can we clone him? I want one.

  10. @VB LOL! (regarding your LMH comment~)

    I'm not entirely certain how Koreans are directly related to Mongolians, but Koreans are originally nomads from the greater Siberia area, so I think it may be a possibility.
    There's a saying that only Korean, Mongolian, people of Manchurian descent, and Japanese have a certain type of line/dimple that shows on their arms..I know every Korean I know has one...so I can attest to that..but I wonder if that saying exists also because we have a genetic connection. In Korean it's called a 거지 깡통줄...I don't really know how to translate it into English without it sounding really odd, but it's a really interesting trait that we all share.

  11. @ S OMG, I just looked it up and... I have one too! I am not even Asian!!! Maybe not only Koreans, Mongolians and Japanese have this line? It is two inches below your elbow on the inside, right?

    Actually, I would love to know if Koreans and Mongolians came from the same ancestors and developed distinct cultures later OR ancestors of Koreans branched out later from Mongolian tribes (i.e. settled down and became farmers while Mongolians were still living as nomads).

    Not sure how to explain that. For example, some peasants from Korean peninsula (during Jomon period) moved to Japanese islands and so many ten thousands years later with some admixture through evolution they became Japanese people. Or were they Yayoi people? Did the same happen to Koreans or did they evolve separately from Mongolians from a common ancestor (tribe)? From all the studies I have gathered, Koreans originated from the Central Asian Mongolians.

    Why did Koreans become farmers when Mongolians were still nomads? Is Korean soil more fertile than Mongolian steppe? Could it be that all the Koreans originated from one particular area and thus became endemic from one tribe? Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  12. I'm with Guitard on the swimsuits, not even close to slutty. Sexy, yes.

    It's a funny video, but the dance moves are more of the same. However, I did like it as it does seem like Psy is having fun making the video and doesn't take himself too seriously.

    Note: only in Korea would one ever think this is how all Korean men act.

  13. Well I downloaded this video a few days and yesterday I went on youtube to try and view it but it had been deleted. Well I am so lucky cause I love this song!

  14. I uploaded to http://youtu.be/MkDDHMZE-hc if you wanna watch the vid AAK is talking about.


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