Psy's 'Assarabia' Controversy Raises Issues About His Next Single: Can K-Pop's Biggest Star Duplicate His 'Gangnam Style' Success?
By Jesse Lent | March 28, 2013 12:48 PM EDT
Psy ran head first into the dangers of international fame last week, when his song "Assarabia," a potential follow-up to the K-pop star's smash hit "Gangnam Style" was forced to be censored in order to avoid what could be potentially taken as a slur against Arabian people or even Arabs everywhere.
"Not sure how this will go over in the Middle East," Steve Herman, chief of Voice of America's Northeast Asia bureau tweeted on March 17, following an announcement by Psy that people were having difficulty pronouncing his new single "Assarabia," according to NBC News.
Later that Herman wrote on Twitter that Psy had direct messaged him about the "Assarabia" controversy.
"It's Korean slang &should be spelled assaraVia & that's not gonna be a single anyway, so u don't have to worry...THX for ya regard :)" Psy wrote, according to Herman.
Since the letter 'v' doesn't have an equivalent in the Korean alphabet the now apparently shelved single could have led to pronunciation confusion or worse.
The following day Psy announced he was changing both the name and the title of "Assaravia," a word that indicates excitement in Korean.
He didn't say why, but a spokesman for his record label YG Entertainment told the Wall Street Journal it was because the possible "Gangnam Style" follow-up was difficult to pronounce.
Time Magazine reported on March 8 that Psy's next single is due out on April 13, the same day as the star's "Happening" at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, raising questions about exactly what that single will be.
Back in October, Psy spoke to the BBC about the difficulty of duplicating the success "Gangnam Style" had.
"The second single is going to be in English and the thing is, it's too much pressure to overcome 'Gangnam Style.' It's really hard," said the 34-year-old superstar. "The problem is, my music video is more popular than I am,"
Earlier this month Psy became the first Asian artist to have a million-selling single in the UK, according to Official Charts.
"This is an amazing achievement by Psy," said Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company. "It is further confirmation of 'Gangnam Style' as a true phenomenon. It is the first UK million-seller by an Asian music star, and a sign that K-Pop has truly arrived in the UK!"
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