Gangnam Style Christmas lights

For those of you still in a deep state of morning after the Riverside, Calif. “Party Rock Anthem” house was (really not all that surprisingly) shut down by a local homeowners association in an apparent pre-Halloween crackdown on traffic-snaring synchronized light displays, fear not — your migraine/seizure-inducing, “I’ll never get this damn song out of my head now” viral video holiday wishes have come true. And, naturally, it incorporates K-Pop superstar PSY’s “Gangnam Style," the most annoying novelty dance song to hit the airwaves since the “Macarena."

Seasoned residential light show programmer and self-confessed Clark Griswold worshipper John Storms is to blame/thank for this. As of late November when the display went live, Storms had only been living in his suburban Austin, Texas home for only a couple of months. Way to introduce yourself to your new neighbors.


From the sounds of it, there haven’t been any neighborly revolts or HOA uprisings resulting from Storms' Christmas light spectacle as of yet. No subdivision Scrooges have completely freaked out. Maybe they've just been placated by the fact that Storms hasn't limited himself to "Gangnam Style" (and the "Angry Birds" music which, I must say, is borderline sadistic). You see, the exterior of his home also performs to the soothing Bing Crosby yuletide standards like "Let it Snow" and "Mele Kalikimaka."


And as for the resulting electric bills? They’re actually not too shabby given that Storms, like many folks who are into festooning their homes with thousands of lights synchronized to "dance" to grating pop songs, has stopped using incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs. According to local TV station KXAN, it’s anticipated that Storms' light shows will bump his December electric bill up a mere $15. In the pre-LED years, Storms' electric bills were hundreds, even thousands, of dollars. “All our lights we have are LED so they just sip on electricity," says Storms.  


I’ve embedded Mr. Storms’ latest handiwork directly below. 



Eyeballs not bleeding yet? Well then, meet Kyle Illman, an ingenious Aussie who recently unveiled a similar — and, dare I say, superior — "Gangnam Style” Christmas light show at his Perth residence. It reportedly took Illman 200 hours to program and set up the whole thing. After a three night run, he officially pulled the plug earlier this week citing safety concerns. Apparently, his local council refused to deploy traffic controllers to assist with the bajillion people who had descended on his neighborhood.


“The prospect of such large numbers in a very small street over a number of weeks is simply unmanageable. There is also a very real safety risk, in particular to young children,” Illman told the Herald Sun.



And the madness doesn’t end with the ubiquitous "horse dance" song from South Korea, a song that, by the way, will most likely be performed live before President Obama this weekend despite the alleged anti-American sentiment harbored by the man behind it. (I should also pount out that the video for "Gangnam Style" is also the most watched YouTube clip in history). Another homeowner, this one in Bel-Air Maryland, has festooned his home with Christmas lights synced to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.’


This is crazy, indeed.


Essentially, Illman, Storms, and the rest of the holiday light show-ers are Christmas model train set erectors for Generation YouTube. Programmed LED light displays give clever and well-intentioned geeks something to tinker with for hours on end in the moths leading up to the holidays. And come December, they have a finished product, a true labor of love, to show off in the name of holiday spirit-lifting. Ain't nothing wrong with that. But really, would you want to live near a home that's lit up like Times Square?


Video screenshot: YouTube/listentoourlights


Related on MNN: 6 over-the-top Christmas displays


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Watch: Irking the HOA, 'Gangnam Style'
Pop song-driven LED holiday light shows are the hottest thing to hit subdivisions since the traffic circle. Sure, they're fun and non-Griswoldian in their energ