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Never Enough 'Gangnam': K-Pop Video Is YouTube's Most-Viewed

Korean rapper PSY is responsible for the song <em>Gangam Style</em>, whose flashy and humorous video has brought K-pop to new ears.
Courtesy of the artist
Korean rapper PSY is responsible for the song Gangam Style, whose flashy and humorous video has brought K-pop to new ears.

South Korean pop star PSY has galloped his way to the top of the YouTube charts with his music video, Gangnam Style. As of Saturday afternoon, YouTube says, it is the most-viewed video of all time on the site. It now has more than 810 million views.

"The velocity of popularity for PSY's outlandish video is unprecedented," YouTube says in its Trends blog.

Gangnam Style dethroned Justin Bieber's music video, Baby, which took the most-viewed title in July 2010. Other top videos include On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez and LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem.

In an interview with NPR, PSY (whose real name is Park Jae-Sang), explained what "Gangnam Style" is:

"Gangnam is a territory in Seoul, Korea. I describe it as noble at the daytime and going crazy at the night time. I compare ladies to the territory. So — noble at the daytime, going crazy at the night time — and the lyric says I am the right guy for the lady who is like that."

Psy's dance includes a signature move that represents trotting on a horse, holding the reins. In the goofy and colorful video, Psy moves between solo dances through city streets to group dances in a horse stable, and from sun bathing bright pink shorts to relaxing in a spa.

As the video was picked up around the world, it inspired a number of spinoffs, featuring everyone from world leaders to students. Chinese dissident and activist Ai Weiwei gave his spoof a political twist, and it was quickly banned in China.

Gangnam Style also won the Best Video Award at the 2012 MTV European Music Awards earlier this month.

NPR's Zoe Chace reported in October that the pop video "is not some viral fluke." She says it's the product of a build-up of the country's distinct music industry that has been in the works for two decades.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.
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