Album Review: Girls’ Generation – “The Boys”

This is Girls’ Generation’s (or SNSD, as I’ll be referring to them for the rest of this review) fourth full-length studio album. It is also the group’s first Korean release since late 2010’s Hoot. It was released on October 19, 2011 and sold 227,994 copies within 12 days of its release (good job, girls!).

Continue reading

Album Review: Girls’ Generation – “Run Devil Run [Repackage]”

Tracklist:
1. Run Devil Run
2. Echo
3. 별별별 (✩✭✩) (Acoustic R&B Ver.)

This is a re-release of Girls’ Generation’s second full-length studio album, Oh!. Because the repackage includes all the songs from the original album including three new tracks, this review will include only the new songs.

Oh wow, hot hot hot! Looking good there, Yoona.

~

The title track of this album repackage, Run Devil Run is a complete turnaround lyrically from the girlish, naive Oh!. Featuring strong synths, this song is all about telling a wandering lover to either get serious or get out. As expected from SNSD, this is one seriously catchy song and it’s guaranteed to get in your head at some point. If you couldn’t already tell, I loved it.

Echo definitely fits in with the cute sound of Oh!. It has a simple hook and an exceedingly poppy sound, making it more or less a typical SNSD song. In a good way!

If you’re looking for a drastic change, 별별별 (✩✭✩) (Acoustic R&B Vers.) will not give it to you. The only real difference between this new version and the original is the addition of some acoustic guitar and a beat. Other than that, they’re pretty much the same thing.

Summary: I’m not a big fan of repackages. I think they’re kind of a waste. The title song of this particular repackage happens to be excellent, however, and its other additions range from tolerable (Echo) to just flat-out unnecessary (별별별 (✩✭✩) [Acoustic R&B Vers.]). All in all, though, I thought it was pretty good.

Album Grade: B
Recommended Tracks:
Run Devil Run | Echo

Album Review: Girls’ Generation – “Oh!”

Tracklist:
1. Oh!
2. Show! Show! Show!
3. 뻔& Fun (Sweet Talking Baby)
4. 영원히 너와 꿈꾸고 싶다 (Forever) (Yeongwonhi neowa kkumkkugo sipda; I want to dream with you forever)
5. 웃자 (Be Happy) (Utja; Let’s laugh)
6. 화성인 바이러스 (Boys & Girls) (feat. Key of SHINee) (Hwaseongin baireoseu; Martian virus)
7. 카라멜 커피 (Talk To Me) (Karamel keopi; Caramel coffee)
8. 별별별 (✩✭✩) (Byeol byeol byeol; Star star star)
9. 무조건 해피엔딩 (Stick Wit U) (Mujogeon haepi ending; Unconditional happy ending)
10. 좋은 일만 생각하기 (Day By Day) (Joheun ilman saenggakhagi; Thinking only of the good days)
11. Gee
12. 소원을 말해봐 (Genie) (Sowoneul malhaebwa; Tell me your wish)

This is Girls’ Generation’s second-full length album, which was released on January 28, 2009 and sold 30,000 copies on its first day.

I still don’t get what the concept of this cover is supposed to be. Is it, like, eclectic-chic or something? I dunno. It kind of reminds me of f(x)’s Chu~♡ cover, which I didn’t like so much.

~

Girls’ Generation, or SNSD as I’ll be referring to them for the rest of this review for brevity’s sake, are a virtual tour-de-force in the K-Pop world because of their consistently strong kickoff singles. Oh!, the title track of SNSD’s second full-length album, is no exception. Musically, there is nothing about this song that isn’t high quality – the electronic arrangement, the masterfully crafted chorus, even the girls’ somewhat mediocre vocals sound glossy and pleasant. No intermittent blips, bleeps or hiccups – everything is just catchy. As a fangirl, I loved it. I still love it. And yes, I do think it matches Gee and Genie in catchiness. It’s that good.

There’s barely a second between the end of Oh! and the beginning of Show! Show! Show!, the second single from the album. Show!x3 takes on a heavier electronic sounds, with some pretty serious synths in there. The lyrics are pure sugar, but the disco-esque feel isn’t bad at all. It isn’t until Jessica and Tiffany’s speaking parts that things get weird. “If you wanna be my boy,” they coo, “I’m gonna be with you forever, and more.” The creep level is over 9,000. But I have to say, this was a pretty good choice for a second single. I really dig it.

뻔 & Fun (Sweet Talking Baby) is the first song to be kind of all over the place. It was bound to happen eventually, but so soon? The music jumps from classical, to Oriential, to full-blown pop all in the first 15 seconds or so. After that, it’s straight-up pop with little actual substance. Conclusion: obvious filler track is obvious.

For 영원히 너와 꿈꾸고 싶다 (Forever), there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the verses are pure stereotypical K-Pop ballad. Make of that what you will. The good news? The chorus is a sweeping, beautiful change with lush harmonies and uplifting strings – the works, basically. When SNSD’s ballads deliver, they really deliver.

Oh, Lord. Next we have the lump of contained aural chaos that is 자 (Be Happy), a hot mess in every sense of the phrase. From beginning to end, this song is an attack on the eardrums, with so much going on at all times that it quite literally becomes frustrating to listen to. To spare both you and I from any further ramblings on the horror of this song, let me just say that I do not recommend it, and I can’t ever see myself recommending it at any time in the future. For shame, SNSD.

화상인 바이러스 (Boys & Girls) is not nearly as bad, thank God. It’s actually pretty catchy. The electronic sound isn’t abandoned completely, but the music opts for a 60’s-inspired rock sound, with a brief cameo from Key of SHINee (who’s so heavily Auto-Tuned anyway, it really could be anyone singing). The filler continues on with this song, but it’s a massive step up from the previous track.

On a fangirly note, the title of 카라멜 커피 (Talk To Me), which means “caramel coffee,” automatically reminded me of the drama Coffee Prince. 😄 But anyway! I have to say, I really liked the laid back coffee house (pun not intended, really I swear) acoustic feeling of this song. It’s a well-appreciated break from the overwhelmingly electronic sound we’ve been hearing so far. The vocals are really nice too.

Despite its impossible-to-type-without-copypasta title, 별별별 (✩✭✩) is one of the best damn songs off of this album, and I’ll tell you why. For starters, YoonA’s speaking part at the beginning. I have no idea what she’s saying, but it’s an instant attention-grabber. Then there’s the song itself, and the vocals that come with it. This is why K-Pop is so popular, people, and if it’s not, it should be. I’m talking grade-A ballad material. All of the girls are spot on with their sections, and the result is one awesome ballad.

More filler. Yay. Not. 무조건 해피엔딩 is really nothing special, except it has a kind of 8-bit sound. That’s about it. There’s a real lack of anything special or any kind of “wow” factor in this song, in my opinion, so I’d skip this one if I were you.

좋은 일만 생각하기 is an upbeat track. It’s got some nice acoustic instruments in there, which I pretty much always like. The music kind of sounds like something from an RPG game – you know, when you’re just walking around and you’re not fighting anyone? Yeah. That’s kind of the feeling I got from this song. Good background music.

What’s there to say that hasn’t already been said about Gee? It’s pretty much the song of SNSD’s career, and it is the catchiest of all the catchy songs. Really. To know Gee is to understand the essence of a group like Girls’ Generation – cute, feminine, bouncy, and just plain fun. I challenge you to listen to this song and not get it stuck in your head.

소원을 말해봐 (Genie) is yet another testament to what a truly well-produced single can be. This song, like Gee and Oh!, is a piece of pop perfection (haha, alliteration). Every note of synthesizer, every beat of kick drum and every sweetly crooned lyric come together to create a symphony of what contemporary pop music should be. Oh, and Taeyeon’s part – there’s a reason this girl is was leader, this girl can sing. Gladly, this song helps round out the album on a high note. Literally.

Summary: After listening to this whole album, I can make one definite observation: it has some great highs, but also some serious lows. The mish-mosh of musical influences and styles are, to be honest, quite distracting, and when the album gets bad, it gets really, really bad. The singles themselves are the most high-quality songs on the album and definitely make it worth listening, and the filler is, for the most part, bearable and even pleasant. I can’t bring myself to totally denounce this album because I did like it, but I also feel like Girls’ Generation could afford to find a bit more core and cohesiveness to their sound as a group.

Album Grade: B

 

Single Review: Girls’ Generation – “소원을 말해봐 (Genie)”

tell me your wish Girls’ Generation’s single, 소원을 말해봐 (Genie), was digitally released on June 22, 2009, as the lead single for their forthcoming mini-album.

 If I had to express on a scale of one to ten how impressed I was after hearing 소원을 말해봐 (Genie), I’d probably have to go with a 9. After their ubiquitous pop number Gee, Girls’ Generation shelled out this bad boy, a mature beat-and-synth driven affair. This song contains one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in a while, and the simple English parts (I’m a genie for your wish) make it really memorable.

Summary: Yeah, Gee was fun in all its sugary pop glory, but THIS. I really don’t know if SNSD could have done better than this if they tried. Fun, sexy, classy, trendy – Genie has pretty much everything going for it. Highly recommended.

Single Grade: A+