PSY – Gangnam Style Lyrics Translated (and Over-Analyzed)

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on September 18, 2012

in Funny, Songs Overanalyzed

Over the last few weeks, Korean rapper Psy has traversed the U.S.,  making appearances on the Today show, MTV’s VMAs, Ellen (with Britney Spears), Saturday Night Live, and even doing an impromptu dance at his seat at an L.A. Dodgers game (if anyone has audio of Vin Scully’s reaction, please forward to me).

He’s back in Los Angeles today, filming more appearances, as his Gangnam Style video now has over 200 million views on YouTube.

If you haven’t had the pleasure:

Download the MP3 here for .99 from Amazon! 

The first time you watch, the beat and the visuals are your main focus. After view #3 or 4, you start to hear the lyrics. You’re still blissfully amused- you find yourself singing along to the few english spots, and you’re focusing on your rope & lasso dance the rest of the time. By the 6th time you listen it finally hits you.

What in sweet hell is this guy singing about?

Google results for ‘Gangnam Style lyrics translated’ vary, but after scrolling through a few there were enough common translations available to cobble together what I think is an accurate english translation. If this is incorrect, don’t be mad at me- I credit the sources at the end.

Of course, I couldn’t resist a little lyrical analysis as well- since it had been months since the last time I way over-analyzed a song.

A quick note before we begin, as for the translation of the song’s two repetitive lyrics- from

“Gangnam means, it’s like Beverly Hills of Korea,” Psy told ABC News last month. “But the guy doesn’t look like Beverly Hills. Dance doesn’t look like Beverly Hills. … And the situation in music video doesn’t look like Beverly Hills. But he keeps saying, ‘I’m Beverly Hills style.’ So that’s the point. It’s sort of a twist.”

Oppan Gangnam Style roughly translates to “Girls, your big brother is Gangnam Style.”


Here we go:

A girl who is warm and humane during the day
A classy girl who knows how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee
A girl whose heart gets hotter when night comes
A girl with that kind of twist defines ‘humane’ as: “characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed: humane treatment of horses.”

Funny they cite horses as the example, as they play a prominent role in the video (and the dance). Nothing wrong with wanting a warm, classy, humane girl, that’s admirable. I guess I wouldn’t put “freedom” among the feelings invoked by a cup of coffee, but who knows. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

I’m a guy
A guy who is as warm as you during the day
A guy who one-shots his coffee before it even cools down
A guy whose heart bursts when night comes
That kind of guy

Comparable body temperatures are always a nice quality in a potential partner.

Whoa! Easy guy, no need to one-shot your coffee here! Let’s sit and savor the freedom for a while.

I get what you mean with the ‘heart bursting’ thing, but the way you’re saying it sounds like a medical emergency.

Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Beautiful, loveable
Yes you, hey, yes you, hey
Now let’s go until the end


Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style, Gangnam style
Oppa is Gangnam style

You tell ’em Psy.

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

Dare you not to sing along with that part.

A girl who looks quiet but when it’s time to play she can be willing to change in accordance with it
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensable girl like that

I’m glad that first line sounds good in Korean.

I’m a guy
A guy who seems calm but when the time to play comes, then I can be willing to change in accordance with it
A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
I am a man whose thought is more rough and bumpy than his muscles
That kind of guy

It’s nice to know that both of these folks are willing to change in accordance with what the current situation calls for.

What’s goin’ on with that second-to-last line there? We playin’ Mad Libs?


On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two
On top of the running man is the flying man, baby baby
I’m a man who knows a thing or two

Alternate translation for that verse:

There may be blue and better blue
I’m a man who knows something
There may be blue and better blue
I’m a man who knows something

I’m tired.

You know what I’m saying
Oppa is Gangnam style

Eh- Sexy Lady, Oppa is Gangnam style
Eh- Sexy Lady oh oh oh oh

I love this song.



Howie Decker (@HowardtheDeck) is the co-creator and editor of He likes fantasy baseball & taco night.



Lyric translation sources:

Korean Wave Times

Huffington Post

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Marty September 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

I am totally in love with this song as well, to the point that I downloaded from iTunes. I’ve heard he’s signed with an American producer…here’s hoping he makes a big impact on American music.

Howie Decker September 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Did you see him on SNL this week? Hilarious. I was impressed with the fact that he is comfortable making fun of himself.

Dex (@Dex1138) September 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

So basically he’s saying he wants a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets…

His SNL appearance was just awesome! I had to pause it so I could try to explain the whole thing to my wife, who is not meme savvy.

Brian Morin September 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Great stuff. I actually just watched the video for the 1st time. When he was on SNL Saturdy I had no idea who he was. I had to share the video with my wife and kids. Their favorite part? When he was sitting on the shitter of course.

By the way Howie, your song analizations are so funny that I would love to hear some impromptu ones on a podcast one of these days.

ShezCrafti September 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Honestly, the lyrics are unimportant. Much like Yatta and Tunak Tunak Tun, Gangnam Style just IS. It’s one of those rare pop culture phenomenons that requires no explanations because something that WTFabulous is automatically awesome and we all embrace it without question.

Howie Decker September 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

Gangnam Style IS. How transcendent of you! And correct.

Fogs November 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I just wonder, should this be called the greatest video of all time?

I know its from a different era than the golden age of music videos (How many views would Motley Crues “Home Sweet Home” or Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” gotten on YouTube?), but… this thing transcended a LANGUAGE barrier. Like you said, I think I watched it at least five or six times before I even thought WTF is he saying?

Anyways, I’m always sad that little kid doesn’t have more screen time. He’s bustin it out, and he’s only like 3 or 4. LOL Thats awesome.

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