No fan of the Gangnam

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"Do you know 'Gangnam Style?'" my 17-year-old niece asked.

I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about, and initially thought it was something completely different and even more disturbing than it was.

Then she logged onto YouTube and showed me the video for a South Korean pop song.

It did what most of today's music does for me - absolutely nothing.

I mean, here's a sampling of the lyrics ... "Oppan Gangnam Style, Gangnam Style, Op op op op, Oppan Gangnam Style, Gangnam Style."

Hardly the stuff of Lennon and McCartney.

And then there's that beat - that same annoying, pulsating throb you hear coming from oversized speakers in a souped-up, 10-year-old Honda Civic at 3:34 in the morning.

"Thump. ThumP. ThuMP. ThUMP. THUMP..."

Surely you've been torn from a deep sleep by that noise approaching from miles away, and then thought about hiding under the bed because it seemed a horseman of the apocalypse was soon trotting by.

I know what you're thinking - "Steve's an old fart, a stick in the mud."

That might be true when it comes to some things, like clothes and hairstyles, but not music.

I'm particularly partial to Neil Young, old Van Halen, AC/DC, Guess Who, Rush, early Metallica, the Beatles, Ron Hynes and Blue Rodeo.

However, I appreciate good music of all types - speed metal, classic rock, folk, pop from the '60s and '70s, Canadian, grunge, classical and a lot of Irish/Newfoundland stuff.

But I just can't do this dance crap. It really does all sound the same and it's more irritating than those stunned swarms of wasps buzzing around these days.

"Gangnam Style" - with its 262 million YouTube views - might have that driving (and redundant) dance beat, but that pales in comparison to the opening of a song like Van Halen's "Unchained," which continues to rock 31 years after its release and is so brilliant that writing the opening riff phonetically would do it an injustice.

And the pop music flavour of the day might have such powerful lyrics as "Eh, Sexy Lady, Op op op op, Oppan Gangnam Style," but that's a joke compared to "Well, I dreamed I saw the knights in armour coming saying something about a queen. There were peasants singing and drummers drumming, and the archer split the tree."

C'mon, young people. There is so much better music out there. Do me a favour and discover some of it. Here's a start: borrow your dad's copy of Van Halen "1984" and listen to "Panama." It will move you in ways better and different than you've ever experienced with your current tuneage.

And if you won't take my advice and search for superior sounds, at least do me the favour of not sharing your music with my kids.

Steve Bartlett sadly now finds himself humming "Oppan Gangnam Style. Op op op op." Reach him by email at or follow him on Twitter: @SteveBartlett_

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Recent comments

  • J
    September 28, 2012 - 10:52

    Watch out, Steve! You've angered the hipsters!!! Over at Remix86 they're quoting the "wise words" of (yet another) 18-year-old Internet music producer wannabe.

    • Manuel
      September 28, 2012 - 14:26

      I guess being a bit more educated about something and trying to explain it makes you a hipster?

    • Adam Harding
      September 28, 2012 - 14:41

      Nice to know you're using your real name when you troll. Electronic music is still composed the same way as anything else, just because it's mapped out on a laptop (which isn't always the case) doesn't make it any less musical than the songs of our forefathers that you're probably still stuck on. I don't even know what to say to people like you, I just find it hilarious. It's definitely your own opinion, but it's a very stupid, ignorant opinion. Cheers.

  • Daniel
    September 27, 2012 - 23:26

    I also find it a little saddening that the author's idea of 'good' music that we should all be listening to, seems to be pulled directly from K-Rock's daily rotation...

  • Daniel
    September 27, 2012 - 23:15

    And perhaps before basing the lyrical merit on the only English-sounding words you can pick out, check this article out:

  • Jack P
    September 27, 2012 - 18:06

    Dinosaurs should be seen and not heard, or read in this case.

  • Elling
    September 27, 2012 - 15:15

    Wait now... Dance music? There's quite a lot of traditional Newfoundland music that could be called dance music.

  • Zach Goudie
    September 26, 2012 - 07:53

    Sorry Steve, but it sounds to me like you've got a serious onion tied to your belt. Gangnam Style isn't representative of all dance music any more than Cindrella or Simple Plan are representative of all rock and roll. For a more informed rebuttal, check out what the good folks at Remix86 are saying:

  • correction
    September 25, 2012 - 20:32

    It's "oppa" Gangnam style...oppa, meaning older brother, how a female refers to an older male friend or brother in Korean.

  • Adam Harding
    September 25, 2012 - 19:05

    Well written, I guess, but you're set in your ways, evidently. It's not that I enjoy that Gangnam Style song, but you're pretty misinformed about dance music overall. You've garnered a response from a local dance music blog, cheers!

  • Anne Robinson, music enthusiast
    September 25, 2012 - 18:43

    While I agree that this song is somewhat bubble gum music at best, the artist is actually an accomplished musician with degrees from Boston University and Berklee College of Music. He has written songs for other artists that have also been successful in their own way. While perhaps not as poetic as some songsters, I would certainly choose to listen to "Gangnam Style" over the harsher and often violent lyrics of many rappers. In a world of inflated egos and emaciated artists, it's refreshing to see a pop star not taking himself too seriously and enjoying the experience. Isn't this what music is all about? I wish Psy good luck with his new found fame, and hope to hear more as he continues his journey on the global stage

  • Lindsey T
    September 25, 2012 - 14:55

    A good response to this article here from a local dj/blogger!