Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Psy–“Korea”

Psy gets patriotic for the Olympics.

Did you like the song?
Bwahahaha, the Olympics are almost over; therefore, time for an Olympics post! Go me! \o/

Psy really is on a roll: a year ago there was the cracktastic and catchy “Right Now,” which is still in my head, then there was the cracktastic and catchy “Gangnam Style” (don’t even lie, you can’t get it out of your head either), and now we have a badass (and catchy) patriotic cheer song for South Korea in the 2012 London Olympics that still retains Psy’s trademark humor.

Psy Korea review with animated self

Psy with his cartoon self.

I loved the song. I can’t remember ever enjoying a cheer song as much since Super Junior’s fantastic “Victory Korea,” but even then I prefer Psy’s cheer song. (If you need more idols in your cheer songs, you could, of course, watch “Win the Day,” a corporate song by Samsung with a ton of idols in it, but that’s only recommended if you can take the rather extreme emphasis on the sponsor’s logo.)

But this song is so full of rock and exuberance that you really can’t help but get carried away: it leaves you kind of breathless and feeling pumped up.

Psy Korea arms spread

Yup, just like this.

What was your favorite part of the song?
Literally every time I heard the “Korea” part.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
How can I possibly nit-pick about grammatical details when the video makers have gone through all the trouble of hard-subbing an English translation of the lyrics into the video? I absolutely cannot complain at all; it would be wildly ungrateful. Thank you, editors. (I guess I can whine that they clutter up my screencaps, though! Oh well.)

Did you like the video?
I have a particular fondness for elaborate productions done in just a few shots. The work that must have gone into choreographing these…wow. At this point it just really needs to be said: Psy knows how to work a huge crowd for his music videos, man. It seems like all of them are big group efforts where everybody is having fun and respects the mood of the piece, whether it’s just gently humorous or humor with an edge or humorous while also being patriotic, as “Korea” is.

Psy Korea smiling crowd

Look at this crowd!

I don’t know a ton about South Korean history, just things I’ve seen in Sungkyunkwan Scandal dramas, so I can’t comment too much on the content, but the temple (that is where they are, right?) is lovely, the performers look like they’re having fun, and you really get an idea of the grand scale of history mixing with modernity and how everyone is coming together to support their athletes. This kind of thing is what makes me love Korean culture and Kpop.

The only thing that bothered me a little was that the different groups seemed very gendered: females here, males here, and rarely shall the two groups overlap. I understand it’s historical and even the Olympic events separate men and women (except for in equestrian), but whenever I notice this stuff it tends to irk me.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Carrying an Olympic torch and wearing traditional dress, Psy travels through a journey of South Korea’s history and people representing Olympics hopefuls. We have jogging, boxing, fencing, taekwondo, badminton, gymnasts, and then it all gets rather confused with the people in hanbok and traditional dress. Then Psy does a sprint...

Psy Korea sprint runners

...kind of...

...and beats a drum to call everyone to the center to assemble into the Korean flag.

Psy Korea drum

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
Spastic Psy flailing around! I think the camerawork is a dance unto itself, really, starting outside and moving forward in just a handful of long shots. Impressive.

Psy Korea crowd hanbok

Do the members look good?
Look at these lovely ladies in hanbok with their fans on the lefthand side of the screen here:

Psy Korea women hanbok fans

So pretty!

And dude—they all assemble into a freakin’ South Korean flag at the end. I was on the verge of tearing up.

Psy Korea South Korean flag

South Korean flag Taegukgi

The South Korean flag, or Taegukgi (like the movie!).

Which member stood out the most?
Psy himself! The sprinters! The little dancing kids! The ladies in hanbok! The, er, Domo-kun? brown dragon things!

Psy brown dragons Domo-kun Japan

These dudes are awesome.

Or—no, sorry, Psy: we’re going to have to give this to North Korea’s newly wed ruler, Kim Jong-Un. My boyfriend pointed out how much Psy’s cartoon logo looked like him, and since then I cannot unsee it.

Kim Jong-Un joke Psy

My photoshopping skills are clearly beyond compare.

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Yes, I would love to! I don’t see it on iTunes yet, though. “Gangnam Style” is there, however.

Psy Korea archway

Any ending thoughts?
I love the Olympics, so I wanted to mention them in some way on this blog. I’m an American, but in addition to Team USA, I like rooting for Canada (for the boyfriend), Great Britain (for my dad), and (of course) South Korea in the Olympics. When they’re in competition against one another, I cheer for the country with the least amount of medals. Also: men’s gymnastics is awesome. *salivates* Go, teams!

Yang Hak-seon South Korean men’s gymnast Olympics 2012 gold medal

Here is Yang Hak-seon, South Korea’s first gymnast to win an Olympic gold (which he earned on two lovely vaults).

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Canada tried to do a video like this once. It sucked. But when Koreans try it, it’s awesome!”

Psy Korea fighting

Know of any other cool Kpop Olympic cheer songs? Please let me know in the comments. :)


  1. Was this video shot at Gyeongbok Palace?

  2. Yes, it does look like it was filmed in Gyeongbok Palace, so good catch! I would love to visit there. :)