I can’t imagine what it’s like to be PSY. The Horsey Dance man from Seoul apparently became star of the most-viewed online video ever this week, recently met (and danced with) the UN Secretary General and casually shut down part of his hometown as 80,000 South Koreans horsed around in unison, eerily mirroring the militaristic displays of their northern neighbours but with more ridiculous lyrics than the stock-standard ‘praise to Kim Jong-un’. But PSY, with the help of Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, has swept the globe and recalibrated the popular imagination (now programmed in South Korean) with just one song. Appearing at a club in Sydney earlier in the year, punters paid big money to watch him perform his one hit, reportedly missing most of the action in trying to snap the best picture of PSY. It’s always the case at gigs that certain songs are bound to garner more of a reaction than others. Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’, the Chili Peppers’ ‘Under The Bridge’ and The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ are big song examples for big names. But these highs come bolstered by a spectrum of middling alternatives and thus the build-up is never so pronounced as it must be at any PSY show. There is no entree or dessert with PSY, it’s ‘Gangnam Style’ for main and then the party’s over.
Sydney’s DCUP, once a dude who toiled under Ajax’s watchful eye over at Sweat It Out Music, became a PSY-style phenom in 2010 when he teamed up with another local duo, Yolanda Be Cool, to sample an Italian song from the 1950s and turn out ‘‘. While it didn’t have a dance or a ridiculous video to go with it, even almost three years on from its release ‘Americano’ continues to pack any dance floor. So embedded in popular culture has the song become that in an effort to spruik their new album a couple of months ago, the YBC side of things decided to issue a global product recall on ‘‘ claiming ‘the beats are no longer fresh’. That may or may not be the case (I can think of plenty of people who would still lose their ish to this track) but the subtle messaging underlying the faux press conference was not so much ‘please stop listening to that song’ as it was ‘please start listening to our other stuff’. Making something of the rest of your catalogue when you have a world-dominating tune in the ranks is near impossible. The marketing has to do the job of impressing the customer: ‘I know you’re fascinated by that giant, glinting diamond, but check out the polished rocks I have over here…’
While YBC (truth be told, probably the name most readily associated with that song) went down the marketing path (and intelligently, at that), DCUP has taken a more low-key reintroduction to the scene, stepping out of the shadow of the behemoth ‘Americano’ with this bubbly, kid-vocalised ode to being the dodgy half of a relationship. Most obviously, it reminds me of Twinsy’s ‘Water Bombs’, a track that not only shares marimbas and young’uns on vocal duties but was also released on Sweat It Out earlier this year. What the label’s policy on child labour is might be something to look into. In the meantime, DCUP’s ‘‘-themed track will sate my appetite for summery groove, leaving behind some of the darker synth material of Twinsy to really embrace smooth French house vibes that, even more than John Legend’s perfidious crooning, make me want to forgive the corrupt character at the centre of it all. There is no genius to ‘I’m Corrupt’ but it wins for its simplicity, the catchiness of that melody and the funky bass lines giving a nod to DCUP’s roots underneath the whole thing. Clean, carefree fun sees DCUP escape the PSY curse. Ban Ki-moon here we come.
DCUP – I’m Corrupt