The American expat artist’s new song, “I.Seoul Myself,” is a cheeky ribbing of the slogan at the city’s expense, set to ’80s song “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls.
The video has Aronson posed in front of various urban backdrops and working city names into song lyrics, “to extend the grammar of the original logo to absurd extremes,” he explained. “Basically, now every proper noun gets to be a verb.”
“I Daegu U whenever you miss me. I Jeonju U, that means you should kiss me,” the song starts, before going on to include Panmunjeom, Suwon and other cities.
“But I don’t Seoul anybody else. When I’m home without you I Seoul myself.”
In an interview with The Korea Times, Aronson explained, “I’m not actually criticizing this slogan, so much as I’m celebrating its absurdity. I’ve become kind of desensitized to Konglish at this point.”
Aronson admitted “I.Seoul.U” was his top choice among the three finalist slogans that were voted on by the public, the other two being “Seouling,” which also treats the city name as a verb, and “Seoulmate.”
“Being from New York, I didn’t think much of it at first _ I think it kind of works,” he said. “I only jumped on the bandwagon once I saw others having fun coming up with variations.”
Following the October announcement of the winning slogan, countless memes have appeared online ridiculing the slogan for its text-message style and awkward construction. He was encouraged by two friends to make the video, citing Canadian expat Douglas Vautour first putting the slogan to the Australian pop song, and Aaron Downing who encouraged Aronson to dust off his video equipment.
Aronson, who works full time for a local publishing company, produces and stars in his YouTube videos as a hobby.
He previously gained acclaim with “Seoul Subway Song” rap praising the local metro system, and in 2012 he was named an honorary citizen of Seoul by Mayor Park Won-soon.
This new song may not win him any friends in the mayoral office, who have doubled down on defending the slogan.
“Expect them to ask for that honorary citizenship back …,” said YouTube user Mike Williams in comments on Aronson’s new song.
“I.Seoul Myself” and “Seoul Subway Song” can be viewed on Aronson’s YouTube channel, hdefined, where visitors can view his other music videos, including “Hangul Rap,” “The Kim Yu-Na Song” and “Kimbap,” a parody of the Hanson song “MMMBop.” The channel also contains recorded comedy skits and Aronson’s vlog rants.