Smash hit 'Gangnam Style' turns 10 today "Gangnam Style," the pop song by the South Korean artist known as Psy came out ten years ago, topping charts in over 30 countries.

Smash hit 'Gangnam Style' turns 10 today

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There have been a lot of styles over the years, but for a brief moment in time, one style ruled them all.


PSY: (Singing) Oppa Gangnam style.


That is "Gangnam Style," the pop song by the South Korean artist known as Psy.


PSY: (Singing) Eh, sexy lady.

INSKEEP: The song created a sensation when it came out on this day 10 years ago and eventually topped the charts in more than 30 countries.

MARTIN: The video featured that crazy galloping horse dance and was viewed 1 billion times in its first five months. Everyone was talking about it, like Ellen.


ELLEN DEGENERES: So I danced to this new song that - I don't know if y'all know about this - "Gangnam Style."

INSKEEP: Even Mitt Romney was spotted doing the dance. But NPR Music's Stephen Thompson says this song was more than a novelty.

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: "Gangnam Style" came on as part of this confluence of pop radio and the internet that felt really unusual for its time.

INSKEEP: The song made it normal for viral internet hits to make their way onto the pop charts.

THOMPSON: But it also opened doors for music from all over the world and really represented the way the internet can shrink the world.

MARTIN: Since "Gangnam Style," South Korea has become a pop cultural force here in the U.S. Think about the K-pop group BTS, Netflix's "Squid Game" or the film "Parasite," which became the first non-English language film to win the best picture Oscar.

INSKEEP: Oh, good movie. Michelle Cho studies Korean media at the University of Toronto and finds a connection between "Gangnam Style" and Korean crossover hits that came later.

MICHELLE CHO: I think that it's a thread. Having that recognition, I think, really paved the way for other subsequent works of art and media.

MARTIN: Now, Cho says Western audiences may miss the fact that the "Gangnam Style" video was satirizing a heavily gentrified district in Seoul. But...

CHO: You can enjoy it whether or not you know that 'cause it is an earworm, and it's kind of engineered to be really catchy.

INSKEEP: And you kind of get that they're making fun of something. Stephen Thompson agrees.

THOMPSON: I just listened to it today and bopped around like crazy.

MARTIN: How could you not?


PSY: (Singing) Oppa Gangnam style.

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