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Psy's Gangnam Style YouTube party is just getting started

October 06, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
  • A frame from the video that started it all: Psy's "Gangnam Style."
A frame from the video that started it all: Psy's "Gangnam Style." (YouTube )

South Korean rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style" video continues to be No. 1 on YouTube's music chart and has already spawned a parade of parodies and tribute videos, including the Klingon version, the Oregon Duck version, the Naval Academy version, and the version that got those young lifeguards fired in El Monte. 

Depending on how deep into Gangnam Style tribute territory you have ventured, you may have found the video of the b-boy dancing with his mom in his living room, or watched them re-create the dance later on "Ellen."

And you know things are really heating up when a video featuring 1,000 inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines dancing to the song surfaced on YouTube. (This is the same prison that brought you the "Thriller" dance from 2007). 

But if you think that the "Gangnam Style"-inspired parodies, and dances, and tributes are over, think again. This Gangnam Style party is just getting started.

This week, two of the most shared "Gangnam Style"-inspired videos on YouTube both in the U.S. and in South Korea are covers of the song by American artists.

Unlike previous tributes and parodies, these videos aren't about aping Psy's singature Gangnam Style dance, or mimicking the scenes in the original video, rather they are about reinterpreting the song itself.

The a capella group Pentatonix, who won the third season of "The Sing Off," released a version of the song. They allude to the famous Gangnam Style dance, but dancing is not the focus here. And somehow, that makes it all the more surreal.

And then there is this version, by Ra-On, a Korean rock band from Berekley. They chose to take the song in a more bluesy direction.  

YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca said the two videos together have racked up more than 3 million views.

"The covers, which were produced in the U.S., are quite unique compared to others we've seen," he said. "Not only are they unusual stylistic takes from nontraditional artists, but they can be differentiated from the rest by the fact that they tackle the song in its full Korean-language glory."

And that takes real style.

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