"Uncool" Korean star goes viral with rapping dance

Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:43am EDT
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By Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters) - A chubby, rapping singer with slicked-back hair and a tacky suit is the latest musical sensation to burst upon the world from South Korea, via a YouTube music video that has been seen by over 20 million people in under a month.

In a nation famed for the pretty-boy but often bland bands of K-Pop, nobody was more surprised by the success of the video "Gangnam Style" than its creator, Psy, a musician with a decade-long career in his homeland who never thought to break overseas.

"The YouTube video never targeted foreign countries. It was for local fans," Psy told Reuters on the sidelines of a concert at the weekend.

"My goal in this music video was to look uncool until the end. I achieved it."

Decked out in a bow tie and suit jackets varying from pink to baby blue, as well as a towel for one sequence set in a sauna, the 34-year-old Psy busts funky moves based on horse-riding in venues ranging from playgrounds to subways.

The video has been viewed by more than 26 million since mid-July, eclipsing the total for pop star Justin Bieber's most recent effort, according to YouTube. Parodies have popped up in South Korea and the United States, and the tune was used as part of Stockholm's Pride Parade earlier this month.

Even a few of South Korea's normally staid presidential candidates are imitating Psy's moves in an appeal to voters.

The song, released in mid-July, was meant as a commentary on the rampant materialism and emphasis on appearance of today's South Korea - particularly in relation to Gangnam, which Psy terms Seoul's Beverly Hills.   Continued...