Psy Finds Inspiration for New Dance in Korean Tradition

Psy will follow up “Gangnam Style” with a new single accompanied by a dance move inspired by traditional Korean culture, he hinted on Korean TV Monday evening.

The Korean rapper revealed that the new song will be released on April 12 in Korea instead of the 13th as announced in late February.

“The new song is extremely fun. What I can tell you is the song title is ‘Gentleman’”, he said.

The title also applies to the album containing the new single.

“There is still more than a week left before the concert so we can’t say [the song title] will be unchanged,” cautioned Psy’s manager Hwang Kyu-wan.

“I can’t tell you about the dance but all Koreans know this dance — but other countries haven’t seen it,” Psy added.

If in fact the dance draws on a traditional or Korean cultural theme, the song’s Korean title may be “Yangban” (the traditional Korean term for “nobleman”), or “Shinsa” (literally “New Man”, suggesting someone who dresses like a sophisticated westerner). Or it could simply be a phonetic transliteration of the English word “Gentleman”.

Psy still plans to debut the song and dance during a public concert at a major Seoul sports stadium on the 13th.

Another hint that the dance draws on traditional Korean culture is Psy’s advice to fans to show up at the concert wearing white. Traditional Korean attire, especially for men, is all white, prompting foreigners in times past to call Koreans “the white-dressed people”. To illustrate the effect he was after, Psy posed in a spacesuit, a bridal gown and other white outfits.

Psy, 35, has apparently been struggling to follow up the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon with a worthy successor. The release date for the new single had originally been set for early 2013, then pushed back to February before finally being set for April 13 as he reportedly made over 30 changes to the new single.

To suggest the strain he has been under, in late March Psy tweeted a photo of himself covering his face in apparent despair at a recording studio. It was captioned “pain of creation”.

Within two months of posting the “Gangnam Style” video on YouTube last July 15, Psy has gone from a second-tier Kpop performer trying to end a two-year hiatus to an international celebrity with the most popular YouTube music video of all time. So far it has garnered about 1.5 billion views.