From the moment Psy appears in his new video (unexplainably kicking over a traffic cone in the first five seconds), you know “Gentleman,” the follow-up to the juggernaut that was “Gangnam Style,” is going to be every bit as strange as its predecessor.
After the Korean rapper’s new single leaked last Thursday (April 11), one day earlier than originally expected, Psy revealed the “Gentleman” video Saturday (April 13) to a sea of… well, reaction. The video proceeded to break YouTube’s single-day views record, racking up 22.5 million hits in its first 24 hours and over 60 million views by Monday morning. Watch below.
As the introduction to Psy for many non-Koreans, the success of “Gangnam Style” was spurred on by its addictive music video, which created some interesting new dance moves on its way to becoming the most-viewed YouTube video in the site’s history. But the “Gangnam” video wasn’t exactly the “these people are craaaazy” mentality many westerners copped upon first views; rather, Psy’s outlandish antics, including mock-riding a horse and rapping while sitting on the toilet, were overall parodies and satire on people seeking to live the lifestyle of those in Gangnam, the supposed place-to-be district in Seoul, South Korea.
While “Gentleman” may not be a biting commentary on South Korean life like its predecessor, it does continue to lampoon the lavish lifestyle of the rich and noteworthy in South Korea — even if Psy is now technically a part of that group. He’s every bit the laughing buffoon he portrayed in the “Gangnam Style” video, seeming as though he’s taking nothing seriously and retaining his tongue-in-cheek disposition.
But “Gentleman” also has quite the other side: that in the video, Psy is, in fact, no gentleman.
From the first out-of-nowhere kick of the traffic cone, Psy proceeds to be that guy. He messes with a woman’s treadmill settings, causing her to fall. He climbs into an elevator with someone who apparently really needs to use the restroom, and then pushes all of the elevator’s buttons and dances mockingly as the passenger writhes in agony. He invades a youth soccer game, punts away their ball and laughs maniacally as the kids cry. He even stink palms an unsuspecting girl in the library.
Psy eventually meets his match in the form of a girl who either shares his penchant for playing practical jokes or simply wants to give the guy a taste of his own medicine.
K-pop fans may not only recognize the main lady in the video, but the dance moves of “Gentleman” as well — after all, she was part of first bringing them to fame. Ga-In, of girl group Brown Eyed Girls, appears as Psy’s eventual main squeeze, and Brown Eyed Girls’ 2009 single “Abracadabra” featured the main dance move featured in “Gentleman,” in which the dancers wrap their arms around their hips and sway slightly. Oh, and the other major dance move is basically just Psy doing a variant on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Mostly, “Gentleman” attempts to be ridiculous in every respect — and succeeds. Psy seems to have gotten sillier with fame, that or he’s attempting to maintain said fame internationally by creating another video that ends up being both puzzling and addictive. There aren’t the broad statements about South Korean life here in the vein of “Gangnam Style,” but there’s still plenty of GIF-worthy moments for you to reblog on Tumblr for the next few days.
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com