Single Review: Wonder Girls – “The Wonder Years Trilogy”

1. Intro (Nobody ~Ballad Version~)
2. Nobody
3. I Tried
4. Saying I Love You
5. Nobody (Rainstone Remix)
6. Nobody (Instrumental)
7. I Tried (Instrumental)
8. Saying I Love You (Instrumental)
9. Nobody (Rainstone Remix) (Instrumental)

This is Wonder Girls’ third physical single , and it was released on September 20, 2008.

Look at the legs on these girls! Ridiculous I say. The retro look also really suits them.


Intro (Nobody ~Ballad Version~) gives us a brief taste of what’s to come in the form of a sweeping vintage ballad, and then moves straight into the main attraction, Nobody, a sequin-studded retro R&B number that evokes Dreamgirls and the days when soulful girl groups reigned supreme. It’s easy to hear how the Girls have improved vocally since their debut, and more or less all flaws are covered up by the glittering contemporary production. In short, if you’re looking for a good dancing song, Nobody is right up your alley.

I really did try to pay attention during I Tried. Oh, how hard I tried! Snicker. In a nutshell, I Tried is a soft, sweet song that may just be trying too hard to be soft and sweet. The music itself moves lazily about its own beat, layering dated-sounding synths and the occasional hand clap. The Girls’ virtually passionless vocal performance don’t do much, if anything at all, to aid the situation either. The moment I started drifting away from listening to the song is when I knew I had to give it a thumbs-down. If this is Wonder Girls’ plan to keep my attention,well, they’re going to have to try harder.

This, this is more like it. Saying I Love You is perhaps one of the most beautiful ballads I’ve heard in a while. Not only is the music damn near perfect – the strings not too overwrought, the piano just sweet enough – every one of the Girls sounds great. Even Sohee! (Sorry, Sohee, but you sound really good on this one! xD) The decision to give Yubin a singing part and not a rap was also a smart one, because her singing voice is actually very pretty, and very deep to match her speaking voice. It provides a nice foil to the likes of Sun Ye and Ye Eun. I’m not always the biggest fan of ballads in K-Pop since a lot of them sound more or less the same, but this one tugged at my heartstrings and then some. Brava, Wonder Girls, brava.

Closing out the new songs on this single is an entirely reworked version of the main A-side, Nobody (Rainstone Remix). In this remix, Nobody is transformed into an understated R&B ballad with lovely acoustic guitars. It also features a new vocal track from each member, appropriately toned down to fit the atmosphere, and a different rap verse courtesy of Yubin, now placed more toward the middle than directly at the end. All of these new factors come together seamlessly to produce a genuinely lovely remix, showcasing the enduring strength of the melody once all the bells and whistles of the original are stripped away.

Summary: Ah, Wonder Girls. One of the great K-Pop groups that has set their eyes on the great old U.S. of A. Regardless of whether their stateside endeavors bring them success, the Girls have all the spark and talent in the world that can really take them places. Nobody, Saying I Love You and Nobody (Rainstone Remix) each bring something new to the table, showing Wonder Girls’ chameleon charms and how well they know how to use them. On the whole, I can honestly say I truly enjoyed this single, and I can now wish Wonder Girls the best of luck and mean it.

Single Grade: A


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