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Why Dave Grohl once compared 'Gangnam Style' to a Beatles classic


Dave Grohl is a firm believer there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure, and if you’re a music snob, the Foo Fighters frontman won’t like you because it’s a notion he refuses to subscribe to. In fact, he sees nothing wrong with categorising PSY’s K-pop anthem, ‘Gangnam Style’, next to ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles in his record collection.

Grohl’s commendatory remark about ‘Gangnam Style’ came during an interview on Irish television with RTE‘s Ryan Tubridy in 2021, and the song has surprisingly had a lasting impact on him. The track became an unlikely viral sensation and went on to be the first song to hit one billion views on YouTube. Grohl was apparently one of those responsible for clocking up its unfathomable hits online.

In 2013, Grohl first mentioned his love of the Korean singer’s track when he spoke at the Austin Convention Centre during the keynote speech at the SXSW Festival 2013.

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“I can truthfully say out loud that ‘Gangnam Style’ is one of my favourite songs of the past decade.” He added: “There is no right or wrong. There is only your voice, your voice screaming through an old recording console, singing from a laptop, echoing from a street corner, a cello, a turntable, a guitar.”

Almost a decade later, Grohl again used ‘Gangnam Style’ as an example of his broad taste in music which isn’t refined to just one genre, and so-called artistic integrity doesn’t matter to him. As long as it makes him happy or feel something — that’s all that matters.

The Foos’ singer still retains that childlike joy for music, and he hasn’t let being in the belly of the industry swallow up that energy. Grohl told the broadcaster, RTE: “I still feel the same as I did when I was a young boy, just in my bedroom trying to learn how to play the guitar. Back then, I knew nothing about ‘cool.’ I didn’t know anything about what to listen to or what not to listen to. I just took everything in. I mean it could be like The Manhattan Transfer music or show tunes or Aerosmith or AC/DC.”

He added: “To me, music was just this beautiful puzzle or this mystery to figure out. It didn’t matter what type or what genre of music. But, I think it’s important for people to remember that there should be no guilty pleasure. There should just be a pleasure and whether it’s ‘Gangnam Style’ or ‘Let it Be.’ Who cares? It’s music. And if you dig it, then you should dig it and be okay with that.”

Whether ‘Gangnam Style’ deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as ‘Let It Be’ is debatable. However, Grohl makes a valiant point about the subjectivity of music, and life would be boring if we all only liked whoever is en vogue.