Oppa Gangnam Style – The Meaning Of It All
I’m sure that, by now, you have heard the popular Kpop (Korean Pop) song, Gangnam Style. Hopefully you haven’t been one of those to misunderstand the lyrics as “Condom Star”. If you did, I can forgive you just this once.
The lyric, and name of the song, is “Gangnam Style”. If you hear the song, it sounds upbeat, catchy, and happy. If you watch the video, it is hilarious. But what are they saying?
The English translation of Gangnam Style’s lyrics go a bit deeper than the video. By watching the video (and knowing nothing of Korean) you think the song is humorous and crazy. In the lyrics, he seems to be talking about wanting a girl. That is an oversimplification, but it still doesn’t even do the song justice.
I don’t speak Korean, but I had to know what this was about. Apparently “oppa” translates literally to “older brother” – but is generally used as an informal title in Korean language.
Gangnam literally means “south of the river. That doesn’t mean much in itself, but it is a wealthy area of “new money” that apparently acts like it (extravagant and wasteful, in other words).
Many points in the video speak to this, that we Americans who don’t know the language (or the area) would just view as silly or crazy. They fly over our heads but actually have a deeper meaning.
According to this article, PSY comes from near Gangnam but isn’t like the others from there and is, in summation, parodying the area and even himself.
I have only heard a scant handful of K-pop songs (but all are thanks to a friend who has a girl-boner for Korean guys). A few have off the wall but many are actually beautiful. Gangnam Style has a shrewd video with lyrics that provide a sneaky social statement.
I think I am developing an interest in this K-pop stuff too. Certainly beats a lot of American crap music.
Know any songs you would recommend?