Psy, or Park Jae Sang, is someone that even people who aren’t familiar with Kpop know, thanks to his incredibly viral hit from 2012, “Gangnam Style”. Most people haven’t looked into his other songs, even those of us who are familiar with Kpop, as most write his work off as a “one-hit wonder”. In fact, Psy has been active in the industry since 2000, and has released fantastic songs, worthy of standing amongst the best the industry has to offer. I don’t think he will ever emulate the international success that “Gangnam Style” had, but it has solidified him as one of Kpop’s iconic stars. He has recently released two singles, “I Luv It” and “New Face”.
I Luv It
From the very beginning, this song has all the hallmarks of a “Psy” song. It is very tongue in cheek, and it’s obvious from the start that Psy is continuing in the upbeat pop direction that his music took after “Gangnam Style”. Prior to that, his music had a more melancholy edge to it, and he wasn’t afraid to experiment in terms of genre and lyrics. His earlier songs sound very different to everything after 2012, when everything took on a pop veneer that I’m not sure even he is 100% comfortable with. All of his releases post 2012 have a number of similar characteristics. They all have an incessant upbeat tempo, and the lyrics are little suggestive (nothing too racy, but enough to earn bans from the Korean Broadcasting System). He hasn’t deviated at all from this tried and true formula and I’m a little disappointed because of it. I feel that he or his company has become comfortable in the success he has, and not willing to try anything new.
The lyrics of this song are positive. They hold a simple but powerful message, stating baldly “You do you, and I’ll do me”, meaning that you should do what makes you happy and not let anyone else influence your decisions. Psy will also continue to do what he does, and he is quite happy to let you know that he isn’t bothered by what you have to say about him. Psy is championing this individual freedom by listing things that you can do, and him telling you that he loves it. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you want to do it.
There are repetitive elements to the song, again another Psy hallmark, and sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. I don’t believe that it works as well in this song as “New Face”. He is attempting to gain the “catchy” hook, but I found this chorus to be grating to listen to for a period of time. It’s not a good ear worm, and definitely a missed opportunity to change things up, even slightly.
Because of all the familiar Psy trademarks in this song, it feels like it has always been a part of his catalogue. Sometimes this can be a good thing, but I feel in this case, that it is just another addition that will most likely be forgotten as the year moves on.
All Psy videos (post 2012) have a similar pattern wherein Psy meets a person, usually a girl, usually a celebrity, and they play around. This is very swiftly followed by a dance break, followed by another dance break with the celebrity, usually with some sort of humorous scene thrown in for good measure. It’s all become very formulaic for him. I was hoping that this comeback things would be a little different, but I was disappointed.
The two celebrities featured in this video are actor Lee Byung-hun (from such awesome movies as “I Saw The Devil” and “Inside Man”) and Pikotaro (also known as the PPAP guy). Lee Byung-hun has a little more of an impact than Pikotaro, appearing in a dance section with Psy. There are a lot of dance sections in this video. It’s primarily a choreography video, wherein we see Psy dancing with backup dancers in a number of different scenarios. The song and the music video are not linked in any way.
Overall, the video is pretty standard, with not much to offer. I’ve seen better videos from Psy, and whilst this isn’t a bad video, I’m disappointed in it. I definitely won’t remember anything about it in six months.
A pretty standard effort from Psy. Not bad, not good. It takes its place amongst his other releases, and I will most likely forget about it’s existence sooner rather than later.
If you want to hear some Psy that isn’t “Gangnam Style”, I would recommend “Champion”, “Entertainer” and “Right Now”.