Is 'Gangnam Style' the New 'My Way'?

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We've heard you can get killed at karaoke for singing 'My Way' your own way, but now the nuances of a "Gangnam Style" dance-off in Bangkok has led to a shoot-out. According to local news site Coconuts Bangkok, two groups of teenagers ("the Nuanchit gang and their rivals, from the Rong Poon community") were at a restaurant eating and drinking when "the younger members of both groups danced provocatively at each other in the manner of top hit ‘Gangnam Style.’” This apparently led to a full-on dance-off as the groups tried to establish supremacy by doing the best horse dance. According to the Bangkok Post, "The two sides began to quarrel as the competition got more intense and one of the groups later left the venue." They came back at 6 a.m. with guns, fired a few shots in the air, and then another three members of the spurned group returned two hours later and fired off 50 shots apparently at random in the street fortunately without hitting anybody.

Like karaoke's deadly song, "My Way," the problem with the Gangnam Style dance is now everyone thinks they're an expert. When The New York Times' Norimitsu Onishi wrote about the long history of violence breaking out over "My Way," he suggested that it's just an odds thing: "Because it is sung more often than most songs, the thinking goes, karaoke-related violence is more likely to occur while people are singing it." But others (the song's now banned in lots of karaoke clubs for its history of violence) think people just can't help themselves from fighting over other people's renditions. "Indeed, most of the 'My Way' killings have reportedly occurred after the singer sang out of tune, causing other patrons to laugh or jeer," wrote Onishi. One karaoke singing barber told him, "The trouble with ‘My Way,’ is that everyone knows it and everyone has an opinion.” He added, "after all the trouble, I stopped singing it. You can get killed.”

So far, the Bangkok report is the only instance of Gangnam Style-related violence we've heard about. But to all you horse-dancers out there: let everyone ride their own way. Or someone could get shot.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.