This past Saturday during an afternoon lounging in Hodges Library, I was given a link to the music video for Psy's new K-pop single, "Gentleman." I had known that Psy was making another song, but I didn't know it had already been released earlier in the day. Nevertheless, I clicked on the link, and began watching it. When I had first visited the page, the view count was frozen at 301 – now, the view count has soared to over 70 million views. On the day that Psy released the music video for "Gentleman," it achieved almost 11 million views, trumping Justin Bieber's video for "Boyfriend" for the title of the fastest amount of views gained in 24 hours. Comparing how quickly "Gangnam Style" gained views to "Gentleman," it seems that the latter is garnering views at a higher rate. However, if Psy is to achieve success with "Gentleman," he must take into account several factors that were present in "Gangnam Style," including what he is trying to convey through the video and the methods in doing so.
For those who don't know what the main plot of "Gentleman" is, the music video provides an entertaining illustration. Following from the style of "Gangnam Style," Psy continues the parody and satire of the lifestyle and attitude of the rich. Psy, representing a stereotypical rich and arrogant man, walks and acts as if life revolves around him. With his vast reserves of money, he thinks that he can buy anything and everything that he desires. As an extension of this, he also thinks he has free reign in treating people abusively, shown through his annoying, childish pranks of pulling out chairs from under people, increasing treadmill speeds to make people fall off, and even forcing a person to get a whiff of his rear. The yellow-suited man from "Gangnam Style," Yu Jae-suk, returns in this video, serving as another one of the victims of Psy's pranks – he pushes all the floors in an elevator, making life infinitely difficult for Jae-suk as he humorously struggles in attempting to hold a loose bowel.
The pranked people, although angered by Psy's actions, do nothing to reprimand him for what he does. Possibly due to Psy's money and affluence, they are forced to endure his scornful attitude and his irritating antics. However, one person breaks the mold and gives Psy a taste of his own medicine. Son Ga-In, a member of Brown Eyed Girls, a well-known K-pop girl group, doesn't let Psy get the last laugh, and she pulls pranks on him in retaliation. This in turn arouses Psy's attention, and he pursues her relentlessly.
The music video shows how deceiving and fake the rich are – what they say contradicts what they do. Instead of acting as proper and respectful individuals, they act evilly and selfishly.
The satirical take on rich people is also exemplified through a characteristic dance. Just like the horse dance in "Gangnam Style," "Gentleman" sports its own dance through a hip-swaying movement, described by Psy as the "arrogant dance." Interestingly enough, this dance was derived from one of the songs of the Brown Eyed Girls called "Abracadabra." One could make the connection that this copying of the group's original dance technique provides testament to how the rich may act. It serves as a literal example of how the rich and spoiled can and do piggyback and steal the work of others instead of creating their own innovative and new ideas.Public reception to "Gentleman" is mixed. Some people hate it while others love it, with the main issue being the very raunchy and crude nature of the video. However, time can only tell if "Gentleman" will become a viral sensation like "Gangnam Style."
If there's anything we can learn from Psy, it's that you don't have to conform to society in order to attain your dreams and happiness.
— Jan Urbano is a junior in biochemistry and molecular biology. He can be reached at email@example.com.