Ok, so a lot of flames are stirring already around this song and it has been less than a full day since its release. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the comment section on YouTube.
People are up in arms, thinking that this is encouraging drinking. On the contrary, I believe the message is far from encouragement. Firstly, Psy is known for his outrageous persona in his music. This doesn’t however mean that his videos should be blown off or disregarded, but rather that his messages are far from straight forwards and are often portrayed with his trademark satirical twist. Need proof? Take a closer look at his two more recent hits “Gangnam Style” and “Gentlemen” both of which make fun of what is in their titles.
Gangnam District in Seoul is known for it’s elevated (and expensive) style trends which he pokes fun at with his outrageous videos and lyrics. Gentleman also does the same, making fun of the gentleman ideal which is far from what most people follow. (Take a look at lyrics and translations for Gangnam Style and Gentleman).
South Korea has a huge drinking culture. There are a lot of codes around proper drinking and it often happens on formal occasions as well as with close friends. For some of the basics, take a look at EatYourKimchi’s seven steps to drinking properly here. Seoulistic also points out that South Korean drinking etiquette often leads to over-consumption.
Combine Psy’s satirical style and information on the drinking culture, it is a lot easier to flip the coin to see that he is not encouraging over-consumption and lack of self-controlled drinking. Rather, it is a comment on what it leads to. Getting wasted and mass public misbehavior from over-drinking is not desirable. The whole video displays the absurdity that can happen afterwards from it. How is that encouragement to drink?What do you think?
The best part about art is that it can be interpreted in many ways. So please, before making a judgement on artistic works that have underlying symbolism, do a little research rather than going to arms and condemning it.