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YouSpeak: Gangnam Style!

Have you been caught up in the K-pop craze?


With his trademark sunglasses, candy-colored outfits, flamboyant dance moves, and mischievous grin, Korean pop star PSY is suddenly everywhere. In just the past 10 days, he’s popped up on Ellen, the Today Show, and Saturday Night Live. The reason? His new single, “Gangnam Style.” Released in mid-July, it has made the singer-songwriter-rapper an international sensation. The song is now the number-one single on iTunes in the United States (number two in the U.K. and Australia), and the video has become a viral sensation, with 280 million (and climbing) views on YouTube.

And BU can claim him as one of its own. PSY spent a semester here in 1997, when he was known as Park Jae-sang. He later attended Berklee College of Music before returning to South Korea, where he recorded his first album in 2001. “Gangam Style” is from his sixth album, PSY’s Best 6th Part I.

Expect to see more of PSY. It was just announced that he’s signed with Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager.

With PSY fever sweeping the nation, “YouSpeak” asks: what is “gangnam style”?

YouSpeak” typically appears each Monday.

If you have a suggestion for a question we should ask, post it in the comments section below.

Joe Chan

Joe Chan can be reached at joechan@bu.edu.

30 Comments on YouSpeak: Gangnam Style!

  • Shannon on 09.24.2012 at 5:33 am

    This is the best YouSpeak I have ever seen. So funny, job well done!!

  • Nikitasha on 09.24.2012 at 7:19 am

    The meaning of the song is awesome! I don’t know word for word translations, but my friend told me the gist of it. He said the song is mocking the people who live in the town Gangnam, South Korea. Gangnam is where the wealthiest people live in South Korea. I guess the dance moves and the images of the horses, expensive cars, and beach scenes are mocking this affluent way of life. Part 2 of this song has a similar meaning with another unique story!

  • Billy on 09.24.2012 at 8:37 am

    I am thinking *Lipdub 2012.*

    • Nick on 09.24.2012 at 10:46 am

      This actually what I was hoping when I clicked this. Make it happen.

    • Seb on 10.10.2012 at 8:43 pm

      I am thinking *No. No more schlocky lipdubs.*

  • Akanksha on 09.24.2012 at 8:55 am

    Great video!

  • Cathie on 09.24.2012 at 9:00 am

    Now, this is a YouSpeak we can all believe in. No disrespect to the “This Old House” guy, but PSY is our most interesting alum!

  • Kasey on 09.24.2012 at 9:42 am

    Haha! Definitely the best thing I’ve ever seen on BU Today, hilarious.

  • Anonymous on 09.24.2012 at 10:25 am

    Gangnam Style is a statement on the wild and exorbitant lifestyles of people who live in the Gangnam District of Seoul, Korea, which kind of like a Beverly Hills.

  • Paul on 09.24.2012 at 1:14 pm

    Lets make BU Style

  • props on 09.24.2012 at 10:03 pm

    Great editing, sound & video! Best YouSpeak, by far.

  • Nick Barber on 09.25.2012 at 9:57 pm

    Nice work on this video! Really entertaining and it made me laugh!

  • PK on 09.26.2012 at 9:13 am

    More Joe dancing!

  • Anonymous on 10.08.2012 at 10:07 am

    i love the video!

  • George on 10.08.2012 at 5:24 pm

    As a current BU student, I seriously can’t believe that we have this as the homepage for the BU website.
    I am offended. Not only is it silly, but Psy wasn’t at BU for more than a semester.

    Does BU want to gain money so desperately for the 1B challenge?
    Shame on you people.

    George Mangoli

    • Eric on 10.09.2012 at 10:53 am


      Thank you for posting your comment and for letting me know there are students like you.

      I rarely visit the BU homepage, but did so in order to reset my alumni password, after a student emailed me regarding an informational interview today. That student reignited my interest in my Alma-mater.

      To my surprise, the homepage prominently greeted me with a Gangnam Style skit. My instant (negative) reaction is, “what the heck happened to the school?”

      Please change the content on the homepage with something that better represents and celebrates the university’s community.

      BU ’00

      • Chao on 10.09.2012 at 5:14 pm

        By seeing people say this is the best YouSpeak ever and people feeling offended at the same time, I know already this is the most successful homepage — in the sense that it attracts attention regardless of appropriateness — and it is actually the first time I clicked into the homepage. Good to see controversies.

    • AB on 10.13.2012 at 3:19 pm

      I have nothing to do with this school but I accidentally heard from someone else that there was something interesting about “Gangnam Style” on this school’s website. Guess more than a billion people may visit here!

  • MR on 10.09.2012 at 10:29 am

    Gotta go with George on this one… sure, make a funny BU Today video about it, but don’t put it on the front page of the website.

  • Felice on 10.09.2012 at 11:03 pm

    I don’t understand how anyone would be ‘offended’ by Psy on the homepage. It’s fun people and we’ve had enough serious stuff happen on campus lately. No worries, Eric (the alum) we’re still trying to save the world and I promise we all learned something in class today. I’m not sure when you went to BU, but I hope you had some fun and did some silly stuff. What’s the harm in having our homepage reflect our fun side. Look up from your blackbery, sit back and smile!

    • Billy on 10.10.2012 at 6:00 pm


      We’re proud of belonging to a community with a sense of humor, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

      I’m sure the homepage will go back to serious scholarship and research next, so enjoy something now that other universities would be too stuffy to exhibit.

      Peace and laughter.

    • George on 10.11.2012 at 6:31 am

      Don’t confuse humor with shalowness / battiness.

      If a “Gangnam style” education is what BU deems BEST describes its value to incoming freshmen, current students, alumni, and to the rest of the world, then this is trully sad and disheartening. What is more disheartening, however, is people like you, who attempt to excuse this preposterity (which CLEARLY aims to attract money from Psy).

      I am not saying don’t do the video. The video in itself is of course quite funny, I definitely admit to that. But at least have some common descency and refrain from putting it at the MOST important place of your website, the main page.

      George Mangoli

      • Chao on 10.11.2012 at 3:26 pm

        OK, so you think you are deep and whoever think it’s OK to put this video on the homepage is shallow. I get that.

        And who said the homepage of BU can’t be shallow sometimes just to make people laugh? I’ve got enough study/research at school, and I want to be shallow sometimes.

        And finally, who ever said “Gangnam style” educaction BEST describes its value to incoming freshmen, current students, alumni, and to the rest of the world?

  • Susan E Rice on 10.11.2012 at 11:05 am

    this is absolutely the best youSpeak I have ever seen. great design and editing… sound was done well, great timing… all around impressive.

  • BA on 10.11.2012 at 8:18 pm

    On our homepage?! I thought BU was better than this (or so I thought).

  • Thanh on 10.18.2012 at 2:32 pm

    Can we try to bring him to BU for a performance?!

  • Prof.B on 10.18.2012 at 4:28 pm

    I love the song EVEN MORE now that i know what it means n that he went to BU… as if the catchy hook wasn’t enough.

    for an insightful dissection check this out: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/gangnam-style-dissected-the-subversive-message-within-south-koreas-music-video-sensation/261462/

    “…there’s a long history of fools and court jesters as society’s most cutting social critics, and he might be one of them.”

  • Betsy Whitcomb on 11.03.2012 at 8:32 pm

    I graduated from the BUSPH with an MPH in ’86 – way back. Love PSY! Loved/Love BU! BU IS IT !!!!! Bigger picture; enjoy your time at BU and please, do whatever you can to help this world…PSY included

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