In the 80s, America was obsessed with Australia and its quirky Down Under stylings. Men at Work, Vegemite, Yahoo Serious, Crocodile Dundee and comically big cans of Fosters Beer were the result. In the 90s, it was all about Mexico and the “Latin craze.” In the 2000s, we were all about New Zealand and everything it had to offer. None of these crazes last, and as a result the “fad” country is left to wonder what it did wrong in the relationship. As far as the ‘10’s go, all indicators are pointing towards South Korea and its K-pop explosion as the next country to suffer America’s cold shoulder.
Hyuna, the anime-cute pixie from the ‘Gangnam Style’ video has just dropped her latest video, and if it’s any indication of the U.S.-South Korea love affair, the cracks are already beginning to show. Certainly I’m going to be labelled a “hater” after this, and the K-pop “true believers” are going to be miffed that their “moment” is over so soon, but frankly, K-pop has no sustainable merits. The video for “Ice Cream” invokes that bizarrely K-pop tradition of sprinkling their language with American pseudo-colloquialisms that fall well short of pop culture cool. In this case, it is the Anglo-saxon phrase “ice cream” stuffed in amongst the otherwise-fluid Korean language, just hanging out all awkwardly like my neighbor’s gut. Further, there is no good hook, and the video is so colorful and sweet it would give Katy Perry diabetes.
The purists will point out that like “Gangnam Style,” the “Ice Cream” vid is already ratcheting up the views (roughly 1,000,000 views so far in 24 hours) but as sure as “Seo Taiji and Boys” were guilty of sticking backwards Satanic messages into their songs, stick a fork in this one because it is done. A couple weeks ago, I correctly wrote the obituary on PSY; let this serve as the warning toll on K-pop fanaticism in America. Anyways, I hear these days it’s North Korea that has the ointment for our pop culture itch.