My mustard dreams are there at the end of the tunnel, but no bright endings for me just yet. I'll just keep on chasing my sunshine until then.
So, the song is a comic satire about people who bluff, pretending to be rich and trendy. “Oppan Gangnam style” can literally translate to “I’m a Gangnam style,” in which “oppa” is a Korean referring expression used by females to refer to older males such as older male friends or older brothers. However, the narrator in the song refers to himself in the third person. He keeps saying he lives or loves a Gangnam style life, but in reality, he’s far from it.
One, the music video begins with PSY seemingly sunbathing on sandy beach, being fanned by a hot chick, but it turns out he is surrounded by little kids playing in the playground. Two, there’s PSY walking together with two hot girls just like P. Diddy walking on the red carpet but in fact, he and the girls are in an outdoor parking lot and, instead of confetti, tens and thousands of pieces of trash are thrown at them; then the fake snow keeps flying into their faces to make them look ridiculous.
Three, he’s been all over the place for the luxury lifestyle but ends up (i) in a sauna with mobsters, not with the wealthy, (ii) on an express bus filled with Ajumma tourists who are known for dancing on the running bus, not in one of those Gangnam nightclubs (Ajumma means a married woman especially with children but many times the word is used in a derogatory manner), and (iii) on a merry-go-round ride, not on a real horseback ride, to name a few.
Four, he’s looking for a hot girl who’s gotta be classy and luxurious in irrelevant places such as under the bridges over the Han River or in the Han River Park and eventually finds his ideal woman on the subway and dances with her and others there, not in one of those Gangnam nightclubs. Five, when he emerges from the water, it looks like he’s swimming in the swimming pool at a country club or in the sea but it turns out he’s in fact swimming in the public bathhouse. Six, when he looks like P. Diddy sitting in a luxurious chair, it is actually the toilet he’s sitting on.
In the song, the narrator says he’s looking for a classy lady who can afford a relaxing cup of coffee, and he’s a real man who downs the boiling hot coffee in one go. And I think some of you may be wondering why he’s making such a big deal out of coffee, but it’s not just your ordinary coffee; it’s gotta be a cup of Starbucks coffee, if you will. In Korea, there’s a joke poking fun at women who eat 2,000-won (about $2) ramyeon (Korean style ramen) for lunch and then unstintingly spend over 6,000 won (about $5.30) on Starbucks coffee.
Actually, the word Doenjangnyeo (된장녀, “Soybean paste girl/woman”) or Doenjang girl/woman was created to mock women who spend more than they can afford. Such crazes were believed to be inspired by HBO’s “Sex and the City” in which the designer stuff-obsessed women frequently meet together to talk over brunch or coffee. But clearly, that you can afford a relaxing cup of “Starbucks” coffee doesn’t make you classy. And just think about a guy who downs the boiling hot coffee in one go. Wouldn’t you worry about him? Hot coffee would burn the mouth and throat. Contrary to his boasting, it’s never a manly thing to do.
Just like that, PSY is making fun of people that are so vain and materialistic; but at the same time, he’s making a mockery of where he’s really from, that is, Gangnam. It’s like he’s shouting, “Look at me! I’m a true Gangnamese but don’t I look really tacky and pathetic?” Had he been good-looking, haughty, and snobbish…who knows, the song might have not been well-received.
For most Koreans are fed up with all those “nouveaux riches” in Gangnam who became rich because of their real estate values skyrocketed “overnight.” The haves in Gangnam are so materialistic and philistine that they hardly have a real organic relationship with the world outside Gangnam, let alone a sense of noblesse oblige. Just as much people outside Gangnam admire their wealth, status, and lifestyle, they underestimate and look down on the outsiders. They even gang up on the rest of the world motivated purely by economic self-interest even though it’s contrary to the public interest. That’s how they have become the scorn of the rest of the world.