Nearly 12 months after PSY’s “Gangnam Style” began going viral, K-pop has a new craze on its hands from another unlikely breakout star. Five-member girl group Crayon Pop is seeing the music video to latest single “Bar Bar Bar” going wide in native South Korea with a No. 2 ranking on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100.
Outfitted in helmets and brightly-colored track suits that recall the Power Rangers, the adorable quintet bring quirky dances through an amusement park. The choreography is centered around one particular move — called the “Straight-Five Engine Dance” — with all five girls bouncing up and down like engine cylinders. The girls sing the pump-up track’s encouraging lyrics to leave their troubles behind and jump along while performing their ridiculous moves all over the park from atop of the tilt-a-whirl (with images of Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson in the background) to inside the merry-go-round.
Crayon Pop’s sudden success is unexpected. To give background, in K-pop a single will typically hit its peak in the first or second week of release as most acts will roll out their new song music video all at once with live performances quickly following. Unveiled June 23, “Bar Bar Bar” rose to No. 2 on the K-Pop Hot 100 in its fifth week on the chart. To compare, “Gangnam Style” was a quick hit for K-pop veteran PSY who rose to No. 1 on August 4, 2012, after scoring the Hot Shot Debut, at No. 6, a week prior. The slow-burner status for “Bar Bar Bar” is likely from the group still being a rookie: Crayon Pop debuted in June 2012 and had not charted any of its four singles pre-“Bar Bar Bar.”
Yet now, Korea appears to be in love with Gummi, Soyul, Choa, Ellin and Way’s adorable ways. With over two million YouTube views in less than two months, the video has had big TV exposure and parodies from local celebrities. Check out a police rendition by the agency in South Korean province Gyeonbuk — a particularly special homage as back in 2007, military and police covers helped break “Tell Me” by Wonder Girls, helping them become one of the genre’s most-recognized acts.
Or watch one on “SNL Korea,” that even features Crayon Pop. It’s not hard to imagine people across the world cooking up their own twists on the straight-five engine dance.
Will we soon be seeing the “Straight-Five Engine Dance” popping up around YouTube? At the moment, Crayon Pop’s “Bar Bar Bar” is looking like a slow-burning “Gangnam Style,” ready to take over at a moment’s notice.