How Gangnam Style Ruined My Summer

In the past, I have often tried to force a “summer song” upon myself. Be it a well-timed release date or a subliminal-yet-conscious (wait, what?) effort to listen to the same song on repeat while day-drinking in the sun, my summer song (or more generally speaking, my summer record) is of great importance.

Every time I hear Shake the Streets by Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Cheap Girl’s Find Me a Drink Home, or even anything by The Descendents, I am immediately brought back to a certain summer, a certain somewhere. A time when I couldn’t stop listening to that song, that record, that band.

My calendar has recently reminded me that Autumnal Equinox (which may be the most ridiculously romantic sounding season of them all) begins in a few short days. But because Korea seems to lack any sort of relationship to climate changes, summer could very well go on strong into November. Regardless, my summer in Korea sucked.

And I blame it all on PSY.

Yeah, that guy.

When it came to choosing a summer song or record, it’s like I didn’t even have a fighting chance this time around.

I tried to play Help by Thee Oh Sees at every available gathering. I opted to spend bike rides listening solely to the Japandroids’ newest release. I even tried to get back into The Promise Ring (I know, I know).  But these failed attempts were only mocked further by a man, sporting sunglasses indoors, and transporting himself through the streets of Seoul by means of uh, galloping.

When I didn’t have white headphones plugged into my ears, this song was everywhere. In my newsfeed, in my bakery, even in my favourite kindergarten class.

I mean, come on. Do you know how hard it is to teach ESL kiddies about equal halves and symmetry when they are all repeating “Oppan Gangnam seutail” to themselves?

Well, do you?

What began as a joke in the lunchroom among fellow teachers has morphed into a total game changer for the last four months here in Korea.

As a song, “Gangnam Style” lacks direction.

Consequently, so does my summer.

There’s really no need to get into specifics. No one wants to read about my summer of close calls (and some even bigger falls). (This is a probably an absolute lie. I can think of, like three people, who would totally feel positively affirmed after reading about a struggling Sarah.) But even if I was honest about my aimless summer, you and I both would never be able to discern if I was speaking figuratively or in relatives.

Or maybe that’s a total cop-out. And instead, I just can’t seem to concentrate on completing sentences when a song about a guy taking his coffee in one shot is making it onto CNN.

“Gangnam Style” is an image-heavy, completely unchallenging, disconnected look into one of Seoul’s wealthier districts with the exact same descriptors.

I hate that people appreciate this song.

And I hate that it, by no choice of my own, became the song of this summer.

It’s an uninspiring song which leaves no motivation to trace the rings of condensation on sun-bleached picnic tables. It’s an intolerable tune which I can’t listen to as I ride passenger to the farthest camping spot, the nearest ice cream shop, or the somewhere in-between cottage owned by your friend’s significant other’s dad’s business partner.

Both “Gangnam Style,” and the fact that parodies continue to pop up under the Recommended Videos tab on YouTube, has ruined my summer.

But as I mentioned before, Fall Autumnal Equinox is coming up.

And every season has a record.

And, appropriately so, I’ve recently rediscovered Jay Reatard’s Watch Me Fall.

It’s good.

Jaisalmer Starship- We Built this City/ We Built this City on Dirt and Sand

There’s been much debate geographically about the city referenced in Jefferson Starship’s so-bad-it’s-good-then-bad-again 1986 hit song, “We Built this City (on Rock n’ Roll).”

Doing some preliminary research (does Google count as “research,” yet?) on the song, references to San Francisco, New York City, and even Cleveland have been made. But we’re talking about building a city. On the merit of rock n’ roll and rock n’ roll alone. Other than housing the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and being the birthplace of Chrissie Hynde, the leading lady of The Pretenders, I just can’t picture Cleveland being the referenced city in a song talking about the pending ban of music.

Same goes with New York City. And San Francisco too, for that matter.

However, after reading the lyrics to the song, I don’t really have any other viable options for an appropriate city whose urban blueprint doubles as it’s record’s liner notes.

Instead, I think the song probably has very little to do with rock n’ roll.

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More than Abbey Road: Beatlemania in India

If you’re anything like me (and in terms of self-validation, I kind of hope you are), Googling specific search terms prior to a trip becomes a pretty crucial step in the planning stage of travel.

Maybe you want to know about minor things like safety concerns in a new country. Or perhaps you’re silly with curiosity about things like exchange rates, or even more outrageous, the weather. Or maybe you’re just wondering about the feasibility of extravagant things like Goa Holidays in the upcoming months.

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What Wes Anderson Forgot to Mention about Train Travel in India

Life inspires movies. (Case in point: Benjamin Button could totally probably happen in real life. Well, probably…maybe.)

Movies inspire life. (Case in point: Who else out watched Paranormal Activity and then promptly convinced themselves that their apartment was almost definitely haunted by an angry, door-moving, pot-smashing poltergeist?)

To those without a real firm grip on reality (but in my defence, the door seriously did close…ALL BY ITSELF), it can be really difficult to decide if events which happen in movies could also you know, happen in real life.

Unless of course, you’re a senior citizen newborn growing younger every year.

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Starting from the End

Okay, I’m just going to say it.

Those Von Trapp kiddies had it alllll wrong when they sang about the start being “a very good place to start.” And for the sake of staying focused, I’m not even going to talk about how they think “fa” is a long long way to run (for the record, 25 kilometres is long long way to run you silly Austrian army brats).

In fact, I think the start is an AWFUL place to start. It makes no sense, really.

Instead, I propose that the end is actually the perfect place to start. Just start from the end. Quit making shit so hard for yourself.

In the most idealistic way, the end should be the new starting line. You can work your way backwards, you can jump to middle, you can even change the start (more on that some other time) but for the love of Charlie Sheen, just please don’t start at the start.

Sound reasoning, right?      Word.




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