Psy Changes Song “Assaravia” to Avoid Offending Arabs

Psy won’t be calling his upcoming song “Assaravia” out of concern that it may offend Arabs, according to a Billboard item published Wednesday.

Finally completed earlier this month after dozens of changes, the song was titled after a Korean slang term used to denote intense excitement. However, the usual English romanization of the term would be “Assarabia” though it contains no reference to Arabs, donkeys or body parts.

Psy had apparently sought to avoid linking “ass” and “Arabia” by using the less common romanization “Assaravia”. In fact, there is no “V” sound in Korean. On Monday he announced on social media that he decided not to risk the likelihood that some people might use the more natural romanization, leaving the title open to an interpretation that might be offensive to Arabs. Consequently, he has changed not only the title but some of the lyrics as well.

“It’s Korean slang & spell is #assaraVia & Not gonna be a single anyway…THX for ya regard :),” Psy tweeted Monday.

Psy announced mid-February that his new single — possibly not the song formerly fitled “Assaravia” — will hit YouTube in a live broadcast on April 13 simultaneously with a concert at the 88,600-seat World Cup Stadium in Seoul’s Seongsan-dong district. The stadium’s massive scale reflects its status as the centerpiece of the 2002 World Cup co-hosted by S. Korea and Japan. The concert is being advertised under the title “Happening”.

The official announcement comes after the release of the new half-English, half-Korean single had been postponed several times from an initial release date of January. His Korean producer Yang Hyeon-seouk gave some idea of the agonies that accompanied the birth of the new single when he revealed Sunday that Psy had changed the song 30 times.

“Psy is the most passionate man I know among all the people I know in this world,” Yang told OSEN. “As Psy travels from country to country around the world and during his busy schedule, he would call me almost everyday and gave his suggestions on the next single. Even after he caught a cold due to his busy schedule, I noticed he continued to focus on creating music.

“I think Psy’s passion and persistence made him into the Psy we know today. Psy brought over Yoo Gun hyung who composed ‘Gangnam Style’ with him to the States. He would do concerts and broadcasts in the afternoon and record music at night, and lived that lifestyle pattern for a couple months. It is a song that came to fruit after working really hard under unfavorable conditions, so the feel of the song is good and we anticipate it will bring good results.”

Meanwhile the original “Gangnam Style” YouTube video released on July 15, 2012 has logged 1.44 billion views, nearly twice the number logged by its nearest rivals released much earlier by Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez.

Psy, aka Park Jae-sang, is a 35-year-old rapper who had had limited success in Korea during the first 12 years of his career. He had uploaded the legendary “Gangnam Style” video to end a two-year hiatus from the pop scene.