A few months ago, I heard Husband laughing heartily in his office, followed by a yell of “Hun, you HAVE to come and see this”, so I went in and watched what can only be described as the video for one of the most sublime pop songs I’d ever heard. It had a catchy tune, a killer beat, (and this was the clincher for me) a dance that I could do to accompany it. Could I sing along to it? No, not without a few thousand hours of Korean lessons, but it didn’t matter. Over the next few weeks, we listened to Gangnam Style at least once a day, usually while Husband was trying to work and Sausage and I were horsing around his office, but it made us all laugh.
Then, Husband mentioned that he had Psy’s (the singer of Gangnam Style) album, which I started listening to while I was jogging. It’s a mixture of classic pop and funky R&B sounding tunes and it’s obvious that Psy has real talent. Of course he does, the bloke has released 7 albums and 18 singles. People have obviously responded, it’s become an enormous phenomenon all over the world, reaching Number One in the singles charts in approx. 23 countries and charting highly in dozens of others. It’s had almost half a billion views on YouTube, and that’s just the official version. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time a Korean-language song has even charted in a country outside of Korea, so the achievement is incredible.
The reason that I think this is so significant is that it seems to have opened the whole world up to something a bit new. Aside from the fact that we’re having fun and taking the mickey out of ourselves, just a little bit, we’re listening to music IN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE. It sounds ridiculous, but this is a huge deal. England in particular seems to be full of people who don’t want to experience things outside of their scope of comprehension. If I had a pound for every time I’d heard someone say “Nah, I haven’t seen Amelie, it’s got subtitles, innit?” I’d have…well, a fair few quid. I want to scream and shout and strangle people because they, through wilful ignorance, don’t even know what they’re missing out on. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Because English is so widely spoken in the world, we seem to have this sense of linguistic entitlement and feel that people or other things are worthless if they don’t communicate in our language. I know someone who lives in a foreign country and has done for many years and when I asked if he was fluent in their native tongue he said “Well no, we only really talk to English people out there…” which really shocked me.
We’ve encouraged Sausage to be as broad minded as possible and I genuinely hope that something a simple as a slightly spoofy K-Pop song has got the ball rolling in opening more people up to other cultures and made some much needed reparations to peoples opinions of multiculturalism.
And to Psy – we thank you, for so many things. But most of all, for the dancing.
I’d love to know what you think of all of this. And more importantly….can you do that dance?!