• Psy

Last week, when I kicked off my new weekly column examining the pop charts, I said, “Pop music is a very strange and exciting place to be right now,” and as evidence I offered the Hot 100 presence of “a summer-dominating song based on an obscure 80s dancehall sample, one that combines chillwave-ish synth pop with Auto-Tuned rapping, a Postal Service clone, and Pitchfork darlings who’ve made the jump to the pop world.” Somehow I also forgot to add the Korean-language techno-rap song with a video that’s racked up almost 350 million views on YouTube, inspired a dance craze, and is also, unbeknownst to most non-Koreans, a scathing critique of conspicuous consumption.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is, among other things, the most-liked video on YouTube, the highest-placing Korean-language song in American chart history, one of the few non-English-language songs to ever reach the American top ten, and possibly a harbinger of the K-pop invasion that some critics have been speculating about for years. But what I find most fascinating about it is that it began its life outside Korea as an Internet meme.