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Hit video's subversive message

MATT BUCHANAN AND SCOTT ELLIS
Last updated 10:16 28/08/2012

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Depending on your point of view, it's either a hilariously weird little song with an even more ridiculous dance move or a cutting social satire dissecting the extravagances of a society drowning in debt ... but either way Korean singer Psy's song Gangnam Style is a bone fide internet hit with millions of fans around the world.

Psy, aka 34-year-old rapper Jae-Sang Park, released the tune on July 15, posting it to YouTube.

It's a catchy enough song but it's the film clip that got attention.

This is an almost Dada-esque series of vignettes that make no sense at all to most Western eyes.

Psy spits in the air while a child breakdances, sings to horses, strolls through a hurricane that shoots whipped cream in his face, there's explosions, a disco bus, he rides a merry-go-round, dances on boats, beaches, in car parks and in elevators and generally makes you wonder if you have accidentally taken someone else's medication.

In just over a month, it's pulled nearly 62 million views on YouTube, has Justin Bieber's manager interested and made rapper T-Pain say: ''Words cannot even describe how amazing this video is.''

And they are all missing the point, analysts say. ''Gangnam'' is a particularly affluent South Korean neighbourhood where debt-ridden neo-yuppies spend way more than they should.

What Psy is doing, they say, is showing them just how ridiculous they are.

''The video is rich with subtle references that, along with the song itself, suggest a subtext with a surprisingly subversive message about class and wealth in contemporary South Korean society,'' The Atlantic wrote this week.

Possibly, but it's got some great dance moves too and the Christmas party season is approaching.

-Sydney Morning Herald

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