Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Girls Generation is a kpop group that has achieved immense fame in Korea and debuted in Japan in 2011. There are nine members and they are managed by SM Entertainment. I've been into a lot of Korean music these days especially SNSD's (another name for Girl's Generation). Here's a review of their first japanese album.
1) Mr. Taxi- SNSD knows how to be catchy. They use this formula without fail in every single track. Their choruses are strong, dance moves are fluid and singing ability is better than average. Mr. Taxi has a strong beat and follows the catchy formula that other SNSD songs follow. The chorus is the strong part but it has a different tone compared to the chorus. Mr. Taxi is a great opening to their million selling debut album.
2) Genie- Genie remains SNSD's most popular song in Korea. The synchronised leg movements are well done in the PV. The song has a synth background and falls easily in the dance pop genre. The chorus is again strong with a few spoken lines. SNSD synchronises vocals and dance well in this track (like all others).
3) You a holic- You a holic is a little more mature sounding than the previous two tracks. It also has a powerful beat. 'Fallin, fallin...' the chorus is catchy- SNSD's signature style. It follows well after the first two tracks which had promotions videos. Actually, this is an album track.
4) Run Devil Run- One of my favourite SNSD songs. It is a cover of Ke$ha's song. I felt SNSD did a better job here. The song is catchy and the chorus is liquid and mellow. This song showcases an edgier side of SNSD which is amplified in The Boys (unfortunately not on this album). The rap, though pale when compared to Ke$ha, flows with the song. The dance was well choreographed and Taeyeon and Seohyun had their power moments. There is quite a lot of attitude in the track that makes it catchy. The repition in the 'run, run....' also helps.
5) Bad Girl- Bad Girl is quite repititive. Lots of autotune can be heard in the track. It is nothing different from the other tracks. It keeps up with the high quality though the chorus was a lot weaker than the preceeding tracks. The verse stands out more than the chorus. The title is included in the lyrics just like all SNSD songs.
6) Beautiful stranger- Beautiful stranger has a stronger rock feel than Bad Girl. SNSD is high on edginess here. 'Are you a good one? are you a bad one?' explains their dilemma on seeing the stranger. The chorus, following from bad girl was weak. Still, the strong rock influence kept it going. SNSD has better vocals than most believe. Their singing actually makes this song catchy.
7) I'm in love with the hero- I really didn't understand the theme of this song but it takes a balladish feel much like Mai Kuraki's Best of hero. The chorus sounds like a marching band. There is a little disconnect between the chorus and verse but it's subtle. I couldn't understand the purpose of this track.
8) Let it rain- Again, big on synth and beat. There's some orchestral feel here. Let it rain is one of the more mature tracks from SNSD. The arrangement doesn't seem to match the song but it still manages to be fine. Frankly, this is the song I remember the least on the album.
9) Gee- This was one of their first successful sings. Despite that, it's not one of my favourites. The song in japanese words is 'kawaii'. 'Gee, gee gee gee..' seems to repeat in every third line. The chorus is not clearly defined. SNSD is trying hard to be Kawaii here. I don't remember any other cutesy song from them. Despite its faults, Gee still manages to be a decent track.
10) The Great Escape- Great Escape has a good chorus but doesn't particularly manage to be outstanding or catchy. We've heard nine derivatives of this song above and at this point, it's existance doesn't matter much.
11) Hoot- Hoot is another cover song that SNSD sung better than the original artists. It has an 80s vibe with jazzy vocals in the verse. The chorus, though disconnected, stands out a lot, especially 'trouble, trouble, trouble' and 'shoot, shoot, shoot'. This song would be a disaster if not for the chorus. I quite like the dance routine of HOOT. Compared to Great Escape, this was quite good and stood out.
12) Born to be a lady- Born to be a lady is a good closing track. It is a dance pop song just like all the others but is a lot slower and balladish. It is quite pleasant and closes the album well.
Overall, with repititve choruses, edgy rap lyrics, infectious dance moves and synchorisation, SNSD has derived a successful formula for commercial success in the music industry. Their songs are 'addictive' and scream 'commercial' (not necessarily a bad thing). Don't expect great artistry or uniqueness from SNSD, you'll only be disappointed. Expect what they do best- great dance moves and catchy, repititive dance songs. I should say, Girls Generation has great composers. In the cut throat competition between catchy tracks in the Korean industry, SNSD clearly emerges as a winner because of their composition.
Girls Generation strikes the perfect balance between powerful vocals, fluid dance moves and catchy melodies and that's led to commercial success worldwide. I am totally addicted to their songs these days and can't stop with only one listen. The PVs and lives are worth watching too.
Shoujo Jidai's (japanese name) first album definitely carved a name for them in Japan. It was certified million by RIAJ, a rare accomplishment in the slow economy. I definitely urge you to give them a try and move your feet to the music. Their recent single Paparazzi also entered the charts at #2 and sold well. Too many catchy songs on this album become an overdose but still, worth buying. The repackaged album seemed a lot better though with The Boys and Time Machine.
No filler tracks
Overdose of 'catchy' tracks
Lacks uniqueness/ artistry