Girls Generation (SNSD) has done exceptionally well over the years in dominating kpop charts and establishing themselves as Korea's top selling girl group. Their fan base spans beyond asia, crossing internationally waters. The group has tremendously impacted the industry with their catchy mega hit "Gee", which had everyone singing and dancing to the song. Recently these ladies have been hard at work in trying to make a name for themselves in Japan, and it seems they have conquered the Jpop market as well. Their first crossover album features poppy numbers along with a few blasts from the past. Girls Generation remains faithful to their kpop roots while attempting another language, and I have to say they’re sounding not too bad out of their comfort zone.
“Mr. Taxi” is an entertaining dance/pop track with a little electro here and there. The song is rather fitting for an album opener, with its rather silly and playful lyrics. Though this track is fun and catchy, it didn’t give off a fresh or original vibe, and unfortunately their vocals sounded mediocre and auto-tuned. Being that this is the group’s first Japanese album, I was expecting more original songs recorded in Japanese but they’ve also included some tracks from the past as well. The only difference is that these old songs are re-recorded in another language.
“Genie” is the first re-recorded to pop up on the album. This song is actually one of my favorite SNSD songs. I’m happy that the harmony still flowed well even when sung in a different language. “Genie” is one of those pop songs that never gets tired; there’s just something about it that causes an addiction and makes people get up and dance. And of course, who can forget those leg movements performed in the choreography. I think that definitely added to the success of the song.
The next track, in my opinion, doesn’t have that deep a meaning and honestly makes no sense to me. Well, I guess it’s expected because the title is “You-aholic”. The song is basically about liking someone and being completely taken by that person. The lyrics depict messages about falling deeply in lust and having the desire to fall even lower in order to be with that person. I really like the beat; it’s a mashup between 80’s pop and modern dance. This song sounds like something Ke$ha would perform, which is interesting because the next track is “Run Devil Run”, a song that was apparently meant for the aforementioned artist which she didn’t release. This song is another one of my favorites though it doesn’t display any versatility in their vocals. There’s no wow factor; I must say though that this track is the most urban pop song SNSD has ever performed and I love it.
“Bad Girl” is a retro influenced track with sweet candy-like melody. It’s not a bad song but there’s too much auto-tune and I’m not feeling their vocals. I felt like I was listening to 12 year olds; that’s how young and squeaky their voices sound. This is the fifth track already and other than the old songs, all the new ones are sounding the same. It’s like a one-track album with no strong effort. So far, I haven’t heard anything worth repeating.
“Beautiful Stranger” had me waking up. It’s a seductive dance number that kept me entertained from start to finish. Again, there are a lot of vocal corrections reverberating in the song but I can live with that for now. This track is perfect for the club with its electropop and dance elements, along with the smooth and sexy but tamed harmonies. “I’m In Love With The Hero” started out with some dreadful noise that continued to terrorize my ears long enough for me to switch to the next. I’m doing a review but some songs make it impossible for me to keep listening when they’re stirring up a migraine. If everything was better balanced then the track wouldn’t be so off.
I like the opening tune in “Let It Rain”, and how the beat comes in smoothly. The harmonies were properly organized and the group sounds more mature, like I’m actually listening to young ladies this time. I’d have to say that this song is my favorite on the album, just because it takes me back to the 90’s Ace of Base europop style.
I truly don’t see why they included “Gee” to the album but I can accept that its there. The success of this track remains unmatched by any other in asia and its coolness is still very much alive. To be honest I’ve never really liked this song but I can see why it got so popular. The beat is poppy and cheerful, while the song in itself is rather entertaining. The group did no wrong in recording it in Japanese, but instead gave a new reason as to why it still continues to sell. How can you revive something that never died?
“The Great Escape” is another dance track inspired by the 80’s club scene. The song would work on the dance floor but otherwise sounds somewhat chopped up and incomplete. I don’t really get it in terms of production but I do like the depth behind the lyrics. The song is about letting go of your troubles and finding a new and better way of life. “Hoot” is the perfect fit for this album. It’s like the entire album was produced using this track as a foundation because of its retro style. One of the reasons I liked this song is because it reminded me so much of a mystery or spy themed movie. I also like the chorus and the cute high pitch part for “hoot hoot hoot…”It’s just a cute song to listen to when you’re in the need to have some fun.
The album finishes with a mid-tempo urban pop/r&b track, “Born to Be a Lady”. This song surprised me because I’m not used to hearing SNSD singing r&b influenced songs. I kept checking if this was really them singing. They completely left their dance/pop style behind and tried out something slower and emotional in the end. This is a great transition and I hope I can hear stuff like this from the group in the future.
Girls Generation didn’t blow me away with this album. Some of the tracks were sounding like each other and there wasn’t really anything new. Everything seemed like space fillers, and there was a lack of substance and effort. I wish they had done more for their first crossover album but it’s something I can tolerate nonetheless. Overall, I give the album a rating of 3/5
Track listing:01. Mr. Taxi 02. Genie 03. You-aholic 04. Run Devil Run 05. Bad Girl 06. Beautiful Stranger 07. I’m In Love with a Hero 08. Let It Rain 09. Gee 10. The Great Escape 11. Hoot 12. Born To Be a Lady
Purchase the album here
(Images courtesy of girls-generation.jp)