Girls’ Generation – Lion Heart

November 13, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Posted in Girls' Generation | 2 Comments

ALBUM REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – Lion Heart

1. Lion Heart
2. You Think
3. PARTY
4. Eotteon Ohu (One Afternoon)
5. Show Girls
6. Fire Alarm
7. Talk Talk
8. Green Light
9. Paradise
10. Check
11. Sign
12. Yegam (Bump It)

♦ ♦ ♦

Lion Heart is the fifth Korean album by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on August 18 and 19, 2015. Half of the album’s songs were released on the 18th while the other half were released on the 19th. The title track and song “You Think” were used as the lead tracks.

I really like their vintage pin-up concept for this album, and Lion Heart fits that concept well with its retro sound. I keep thinking where I heard this song before, but I can’t seem to figure it out. It does mean it’s catchy enough to stick, which is absolutely true. Love the sugary pop vibe and cute vocals.

Now it seems that 2 EPs were released, ‘Lion Heart’ and ‘You Think’, but I’ll just stick to the tracklisting I’ve got here. You Think is the other lead track and it’s very different from Lion Heart. Again, it sounds so familiar, but oh well. Maybe my friend M. introduced me to the tracks months ago. This track is the R&B club banger the girls perform so well, and I love how bratty it sounds. Great vocals again.

Of course, I know PARTY. I reviewed it when it was released and that ‘P-A-R-T-Y‘ is something I cannot get out of my head for, like, the rest of the month, thank you very much. It’s generic, it’s autotuned, it’s completely out of place in November with its summery sound, but it’s like a guilty pleasure. So despite that, I still seem to love it. When I’m in the right mood, that is.

SNSD goes Spanish for Eotteon Ohu (One Afternoon), with the arrangement I mean. It’s a sweeter and more mellow songs than the other songs on the album, it features some nice Spanish guitars, but the jazzy piano solo makes it even more interesting. It’s like they mixed two different styles and made a new one that doesn’t sound unattractive. Extra points for originality.

From Spain to a Burlesque club, where the heck are these girls taking me. Show Girls starts off very smooth and mysterious with that typical slow burlesque vibe, I really like it. But then they screw things up by moving into a very bombastic and fast chorus. It’s like two songs mixed into one, and it kinda ruins it for me. Just stick to the slower verse vibe, please, this is just horrifying while it didn’t have to be.

Fire Alarm is what its title suggests (in my opinion): a dance tune with blazing synths and beats, and some more techno sound effects. The arrangement sounds very full for most of the song, which I like, but it could’ve been better, I need some more power now. Praise for the vocals though, which are very smooth.

Apparently, Talk Talk was already on another release, but I can’t seem to figure out which one. Anyway, it’s a midtempo R&B inspired track with a snapping beat, piano melodies in the background, and solid vocals. It’s a bit 90s Destiny’s Child, which is amazing. I really like this one.

Green Light is pure SNSD at its best: catchy hooks and a little bit of repeated lyrics here and there to really make it stick. The chorus is the best part, I like how they repeat ‘Beep Beep‘ between their lines. This should’ve been a single to be honest, could’ve been a hit.

Paradise keeps the smooth ambiance of the album on track, it’s somewhere between a midtempo and uptempo track. Somehow I categorize it as a summer song, probably because of its soft and airy approach to dance music. The verses are the best, but the chorus doesn’t stay to far behind either. It’s relaxing, while it still slays with those synths and beats.

Partnering PARTY, Check is like a mellow take to EDM music, which leaves more room for the SNSD girls with their crooning. I liked it when I reviewed the PARTY single because the songs balanced each other, but on this spot in the tracklisting, it sounds a bit too generic and maybe forgettable. Still, the lower vocals make it stick just enough. Maybe if I listen to it more, things will work out.

Sign brings back a bit more of the power that was needed at this point, with low pitched synths, and even some horns that really spice it up. The little hiphop break in the bridge was nice, kinda had me surprised there. But overall, I think this is the track on the album that is easiest to forget, at least for me. Not bad, but still.

Moving on to the last track already. I was expecting a ballad because of how Yegam (Bump It) starts, with a soft piano tune. Then, the other girls come in with a relatively fast and bouncy beat that’s typical for R&B, but the piano tune in the background makes it more bluesy. You got it, a very interesting arrangement to say the least. That’s what makes me love it so much, this is the track I’ve been waiting for! It’s amazing and definitely a recommendation.

I completely forgot about this album. I mean, HOW COULD I, I checked the Generasia Wiki frequently during the summer because I knew SNSD would release a new album. Well, thankfully, I caught up eventually. I really like this album, there wasn’t a single bad track. Maybe some that were kinda lost between the others because of their particular spot on the tracklist, but many songs have something unique and interesting to offer that I haven’t heard before. SNSD manages to keep things vibrant, and for that, they receive extra points!

Favorite tracks: Lion Heart | You Think | PARTY | Talk Talk | Green Light | Paradise | Yegam (Bump It)

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

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Girls’ Generation – PARTY

July 10, 2015 at 2:59 PM | Posted in Girls' Generation | 2 Comments

SINGLE REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – PARTY

1. PARTY
2. CHECK
3. PARTY (Inst.)

PARTY is the second Korean physical single release by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on July 7, 2015.

PARTY is a fun summer track, and oh how I love a good summer release. There are a lot of these and I don’t really like ‘let’s party’ type of songs, but this one is actually well executed! The vocals are nice, I don’t even mind the autotuned vocals when they spell out ‘P-A-R-T-Y’ in the chorus and the whole song just makes for a fluffy, light theme. Not special, but very likeable.

CHECK on the other hand is more mellow and slow, kind of sultry at times. It’s more controlled EDM than ‘Catch Me If You Can’ was (although I also liked that one), the girls are crooning and it’s quite catchy because it’s heavily filled with hooks. Both songs on this single were nicely done, not the best but fun for a summer single. I’m curious to know where they’ll be heading with their upcoming album!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
3½ stars

Girls’ Generation – Catch Me If You Can

May 1, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Posted in Girls' Generation | 5 Comments

SINGLE REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – Catch Me If You Can

1. Catch Me If You Can
2. Girls

Catch Me If You Can is the ninth Korean/Japanese digital and physical single by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on April 22, 2015 (digitally on April 10). The single peaked at #6 on the charts and has sold 20,835 copies to date.

Because this single was released in both Korea and Japan, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Catch Me If You Can is a Korean song, just to inform you guys. It’s as hot as K-pop can get with a lot of blazing synths and deep beats in the background, it has a lot of edge and sexyness going on. SNSD has released more songs like this in the past, but this easily fits right in with the bunch as an enjoyable dance track. Gets very catchy after a while.

No edgy single is complete without a ballad balancing everything. Girls is the ballad on this single and it starts very peacefully with just a piano and it becomes more of a power ballad as it develops. I think it’s one of the best ballads SNSD has released in a long time with a very memorable hook and amazing vocals (I especially credit Tiffany, Taeyeon and Yoona for this), I could play this on repeat many times!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

 

Girls’ Generation – THE BEST

February 20, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Posted in Girls' Generation | 10 Comments


ALBUM REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – THE BEST

~Disc 1: THE BEST~
1. GENIE
2. Gee
3. Run Devil Run
4. MR. TAXI
5. BAD GIRL
6. HOOT
7. THE BOYS
8. Time Machine
9. PAPARAZZI
10. Oh!
11.ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU
12. FLOWER POWER
13. BEEP BEEP
14. LOVE&GIRLS
15. GALAXY SUPERNOVA
16. My Oh My
17. Mr.Mr. (Japanese Version)
18. Indestructible

♦ ♦ ♦

THE BEST is the first Japanese best album by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on July 23, 2014. The album came in a bucketload of different versions, peaking at #1 on the charts and selling over 146,000 copies.

Okay, breathe Jade, you got a lot of ground to cover here. This is finally my chance to discover some of the older and popular songs SNSD made and GENIE is the first on the list. After a while this tune actually becomes really catchy despite that “I’m genie for your weeesh” line, it’s nice and uptempo and a decent debute for the group.

Sooo… basically Gee is their most popular song ever and it’s so different from where they are now. Like, this is CUTENESS with capital letters, super fast paced with high pitched vocals and very poppy. I can see why many people like it, but usually I’m not too much into the overly cute vocals.

And to think Ke$ha made a demo of Run Devil Run herself. This song is a bit more of a forerunner of their current musical style and much more mature than the previous two songs. I think that’s why I like it a bit more, it has a nice amount of attitude and edge, and the use of synths and brass instruments is very good.

When it comes to the vocals, MR. TAXI is just the way I like it. This was one of their original Japanese songs (no Korean cover) and it’s another one that shows a more mature side. The lyrics in the chorus make sure this song stays in your head, like, all day long for sure. Very catchy, this actually works for me!

I was surprised that now a lot of more edgy songs are featured in a row, since BAD GIRL is the next one that has great use of beats and synths in an amazingly catchy way. This wasn’t even a single, but if you ask me, it should have been since I really like it.

Now HOOT brings a whole different vibe to the string of songs here with more of a surfer feel, which I really like. The chorus here is, again, extremely catchy and not in a typical K-pop way for a change. It has some cute moments ofcourse, but the song as a whole sounds very playful.

One of my absolute favorites has to be THE BOYS, in all its versions. It’s one of their sexier songs with a lot of attitude and edge and I can’t get enough of that amazing intro. The great use of beats is an amazing plus as well.

Time Machine is a slower song with quite an emotional touch to it but it has some amazing melodies too. I think this one has grown on me a lot in the past couple of months and it’s now one of my favorite SNSD songs. The MV for it is also a must see, so be sure to check it out. Recommended song alert!

The next song is quite different from the rest in a couple of ways. PAPARAZZI has a more darker K-pop feel and it doesn’t have the repetitive choruses (by repeating the title word) this time. It’s nice for a change but the other side of the coin is that it makes the song less memorable for me (and with 27 songs to review, it’s a good thing to be memorable).

And then SNSD decided to go waaay back to release a Japanese self-cover of Oh!, which kind of surprised me after all the original songs they released in Japan. By now I can definitely hear the difference between their older and newer work and this has the repetitive hooks and cutesy vocals more than the previous songs did. It’s nice, but very typical in a way. Still, I like the line “Oppa, oppa, I’ll be down“, don’t know why, kinda catchy.

ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU is like a breath of fresh air for me with its different sound. It sounds more like a R&B power ballad and the melodies in the chorus are amazing. Now this is what I call a solid song really displaying their talent for good music and not just for releasing earworms if you know what I mean. This is why I love the girls.

Apparently SNSD saw the light after a while and they just decided to pop out songs like FLOWER POWER as their new signature style. It’s another great example of their synthpop/dance flavoured songs (despite the awful lyrics if you ask me) and it’s quite infectuous. It’s hard to stay original by now, but they manage.

When I reviewed BEEP BEEP a little over a year ago (on the LOVE&PEACE album) I compared it to the Ke$ha singsong style, and although I still think this is true this is also a throwback for SNSD to their early days. Cute as can be with a lot of repetitive lines (“Hello hello, moshi moshi, ciao ciao, busy busy“) so this is probably gonna stay in my head all day (and as I’m writing this I will have to go to Uni later so… comes in handy. NOT).

LOVE&GIRLS, this is right about where I come in on the timeline with my SNSD reviews. I remember loving this so much in 2013 over the summer because of its carefree summer feel, experimental sound and overall happiness. It’s empty as heck, but it’s just so much fun and I can’t help myself, I love it!

For a song called GALAXY SUPERNOVA is doesn’t have the energy I expected, it has a more toned down attitude and it’s actually more of a slick song. There are some very infectuous and strong adlibs in this song too. Don’t really know yet where I stand with this one, I really like it but it could’ve been better with a little more punch to it.

I like the way Taeyon and Tiffany opened the catchy My Oh My. I remember this song very well (even more than I did GALAXY SUPERNOVA), probably because it’s one of the few SNSD songs with a funkier K-pop approach. They brough it to Japan in the best of ways and I’d like to give some special credit to Taeyon for her amazing vocals.

Ooooh, a Japanese version of Mr.Mr., a song I have always liked. It was only released last year but it’s more stuck in my head than most of the other songs they released. I love how it’s a combination of dance music and funky K-pop mixed up very well. This one has a good grind, I can tell you.

Time for a new song! Indestructible slows down the album again since it’s a ballad (and my gosh we only had 3 out of 18). It has a very nice and smooth R&B feel to it which I really like and the vocals are amazing. Although their uptempo’s are very good, I think I prefer SNSD songs like this one over those any day. Amazing bonus track for the album.

IMPORTANT: If anyone knows where I can find the member’s recommend disc 2, please contact me. I would like to finish this post with all the solo songs on disc 2.
As for disc 1, I have enjoyed myself more than I initially thought catching up with SNSD’s most popular songs. I can say I’m more satisfied with where they are now compared to what they started with, I’m not that much into the cute and typical K-pop girl group music to be honest. They have progressed very well and this best album is the perfect timeline to discover that. I’m very pleased and I’m looking forward to their new Korean album they will be releasing this year!

Favorite tracks: Run Devil Run | MR. TAXI | HOOT | THE BOYS | Time Machine | ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU | LOVE&GIRLS | My Oh My | Indestructible

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

 

Girls’ Generation – Mr.Mr.

April 27, 2014 at 3:38 PM | Posted in Girls' Generation | Leave a comment

MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – Mr.Mr.

1. Mr.Mr.
2. Goodbye
3. Europa
4. Wait a Minute
5. Back Hug
6. Soul

♦ ♦ ♦

Mr.Mr. is the fourth Korean mini-album by South-Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on February 24, 2014.

Mr.Mr. starts with some heavy distortion, making me expect a heavy dance song. Eventually the verses sound a bit more aggressive than the choruses, which are funkier. What I like so much about this song is that it’s both catchy and it has good grind, hip-pop like. That catchiness is kinda what saves the song in a major way, because most of the time the funkier K-pop songs tend to do worse for me. Exception to the rule found.

Speaking of funky songs, it seems SNSD follows the latest K-pop trend and made Goodbye another funky song. That bass guitar in the background does the trick, and together with some more fitting vocals from Taeyeon and some nice cymbals it makes another nice song to listen to. SNSD easy-listening style, as I’d like to call it.

SNSD goes Homecoming with Europa, a light pop song that emphasizes yet another side of the girls as a group. Jessica was the perfect choice to deliver the opening vocals, it totally set the tone for the entire song. SNSD uses synths a lot in their songs, but this time the synths are higher pitched and combined with deep beats and a guitar. It’s catchy and fluffy, just a cute song that’s fun.

Wait a Minute continues the string of funky songs on the mini-album, being a bouncy kind of song. It´s definitely not the most memorable song here, it just flows a little too well to include any highlights that stick out, but it is catchy (in the way that you can’t fully sit still to it). I’ll forget about the melodies and such within the hour.

Sit back and relax for Back Hug, a sweet pop song with handclaps and acoustic guitars. It’s the first real ballad that can be found on this album, and it has such a cute and heart warming sound. I choose this one over Wait a Minute anytime because of its richness of calming instruments and vocals.

The ‘takeoff-intro’ in Soul made me think this would work a little better as the first song on the album instead of the last, but the overall song doesn’t really match with that exciting intro eventually. Still, it’s a very energetic and edgy song with an amazing electric guitar in the hooks, just to die for. Just not what you’d expect after the intro. Anywayz, it’s definitely one of the better songs on the album and maybe even better than Mr.Mr.

So in the end I enjoyed this mini-album pretty much. SNSD is becoming more and more one of my standard groups/artists to follow because of their energetic style and good use of vocals. Last year they released two very good albums, and I was wondering of they could continue that amazing succes. Well, for a mini-album this is good enough, but not better than ‘LOVE&PEACE’ and ‘I Got A Boy’. Still, this shouldn’t be overlooked by those who like SNSD’s type of music.

Favorite songs: Mr.Mr. | Europa | Back Hug | Soul

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

Girls’ Generation – LOVE&PEACE

December 15, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Posted in Girls' Generation | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – LOVE&PEACE

1. Gossip Girls
2. motorcycle
3. FLYERS
4. GALAXY SUPERNOVA
5. LOVE & GIRLS
6. BEEP BEEP
7. My oh My
8. LIPS
9. DO THE CATWALK
10. Karma Butterfly
11. Lingua Franca
12. Everyday Love

♦ ♦ ♦

LOVE&PEACE is the third Japanese album by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on December 11, 2013. The album debuted at #1 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 61,073 copies in its first four days.

Gossip Girls is the perfect track to open the album with a lot of fierceness and sass. Electronic pop beats and synths dominate this song and they work perfectly well with the girls’ vocals (which are very well produced to be honest). This track doesn’t put the focus on vocal abilities but more on the danceable melodies, yet there are some good adlibs near the end.

After the expected motorcycle rev we get into the next powerful electropop track with amazingly catchy hooks. This time, the vocals steal the show much more while the song is still heavy on the electronic and digital effects. I agree with fellow reviewers that some lines make you think of Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something’, which makes it very memorable.

FLYERS is amazing! True, its similar to those typical anime theme songs, but the fact that this is a more pop/rock influenced song makes it stand out immediately. Especially because I know these girls for their electropop influences. This track is very strong, catchy and extremely uplifting, and it also features some amazing vocals by the girls. Definitely recommended.

Moving onto one of the singles. GALAXY SUPERNOVA works perfectly after FLYERS because it has a certain amount of energy, but it’s more sustained and toned down. It’s the perfect track to show off the good vocalists in this group, especially the girls doing some of the powerful adlibs. It could’ve been more powerful for a song called GALAXY SUPERNOVA, but there’s nothing to be really negative about here.

LOVE&GIRLS was one of the songs I have loved over the summer, and not only because this song breathes summer energy. It’s uptempo, sassy, experimental and you musn’t take it too serious. The vocals in this track emphasize more cuteness than in the other tracks on the album, but every album needs this track to just go with it and give you a good time. Empty as hell, but soooo catchy.

Okay, I didn’t expect BEEP BEEP on this album, especially since it was just a B-side released on the ‘FLOWER POWER’ single over a year ago. I don’t think anyone expected this, but oh well. It’s a real SNSD pop powerhouse with cute vocals and lyrics, simplicity at its best. It features more of the Ke$ha-ish singsong vocals, but it fits the careless nature of the overall song. Pretty nice.

Tiffany and Taeyon have always been good at singing English lyrics, so the opening to My oh My was very strong! It’s a funkier approach to pop, a combination that is most prominent in K-pop this year. SNSD brought it to J-pop succesfully, not delivering an overly cute performance. Standing O for Taeyon’s adlibs, amazingly catchy track.

LIPS is one of the new songs on the album and the groovy pop sound bring some of Koda Kumi’s vibes on the album. The beats are midtempo and very enjoyable, leaving much room for the synths to build a nice and groovy foundation for the track. I love how the girls infectuously repeat the lines ‘Can’t stop thinking about you // This must be what crazy feels like‘, it’s bound to stay in your head for the rest of the day.

When I heard DO THE CATWALK for the first time, I though it was indeed the perfect runway song. It’s funny and catchy with those whistle sounds in the background during certain parts of the song. Although some of the lyrics aren’t all that original, it makes the song memorable. I love their references to fashion capitals like Paris and New York, it gives the song its very own concept and theme.

Karma Butterfly follows a clear Eurodance style, which is highly unusual for a group like SNSD. The constant pulsing beat and deep synths create a midtempo dance climate for the girls to show off some good vocals in the chorus, while keeping it more on the down low for the verses. It’s a very good song, but I’m less in love with this one than I am with certain other songs.

I only had to hear Lingua Franca once to become addicted to it, this is immediately one of the best songs on this entire album. Although it was the B-side for LOVE&GIRLS, it was the perfect laid back counterpart for that song. It follows a very distinguished pop/R&B style with nice acoustic guitar riffs in the background, which makes it a very breezy and uplifting track. I love this one eternally.

 The obligatory ballad closes the album, and although Everyday Love is the only ballad on the album it doesn’t stray too far from the overall sound the other songs had. With its soft pop style it’s the perfect song to follow Lingua Franca, bringing the album to a sweet, simple and soft close. I love how they name the days of the week in the lyrics, it adds so much to the overall infectuousness of the song. Perfect!

This is such a solid album, and it didn’t surprise me very much after the release of ‘I Got A Boy’ earlier this year. That was my first introduction to SNSD’s music, and it didn’t let me down. LOVE&PEACE, their Japanese release of the year, again shows me how great this group is and that I should finally dive into their discography to discover their most famous songs released some time earlier. As for this album, it’s an amazing uptempo collection that shows multiple sides of the group, without failures and bad tracks. I think I can fall in love with this album even more over time, but for now I’m more than pleased!

Favorite tracks: Gossip Girls | motorcycle | FLYERS | LOVE&GIRLS | My oh My | LIPS | DO THE CATWALK | Lingua Franca | Everyday Love

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Girls’ Generation – GALAXY SUPERNOVA

September 22, 2013 at 6:58 PM | Posted in Girls' Generation | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – GALAXY SUPERNOVA

1. GALAXY SUPERNOVA
2. DO THE CATWALK

GALAXY SUPERNOVA is the twelfth Japanese single by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on September 18, 2013. The single debuted at #4 on the Oricon Charts.

Ofcourse, judging from the title and the cover, this is a dance song. GALAXY SUPERNOVA is a little more toned down than I expected, but still I love how energetic the song is. It’s also very catchy and the vocals are very fierce, filled with attitude. The lighter bridge gives the song a different touch although it’s a bit short. Very good A-side.

This version of the single comes with a B-side, called DO THE CATWALK. It’s so funny how some whistle sounds are put in the background, it totally fits the subject of the song. The lyrics in the first part of the chorus aren’t very original, but this makes the song even catchier somehow. As a nice mix of dance and pop with some brassy influences in the verses, this is a nice B-side for this single.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

Girls’ Generation – LOVE&GIRLS

June 18, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Posted in Girls' Generation | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – LOVE&GIRLS

1. LOVE&GIRLS
2. Lingua Franca

LOVE&GIRLS is the seventh Japanese single by South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on June 19, 2013.

LOVE&GIRLS is a very happy uptempo song that’s definitely summer material, from the first second on this just blew me away with its energy. The arrangement is danceable with a lot of beats, synths and one of those carnivalish whistles, and although there isn’t really a pattern in this song (they just go full out) and the vocals can get overly cute, this song is a monster (in a good way!).

To tone the hyper sound of the main song down, they those smooth Lingua Franca to accompany it. It’s more R&B/pop orientated with a very interesting percussion sound, synths, guitars and strings. The vocals aren’t too cute here either, in fact they emphasize how catchy this song is. When it comes to being catchy, this song takes the cake in comparison to LOVE&GIRLS, but that one already caught my attention with its full blown power. Both songs are great!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

Girls’ Generation – I Got A Boy

January 2, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Posted in Girls' Generation | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Girls’ Generation – I Got A Boy

1. I Got A Boy
2. Dancing Queen
3. Baby Maybe
4. Malhaebwa
5. Promise
6. Express 999
7. Yuriai
8. Look at Me
9. XYZ
10. Nangmangil

♦ ♦ ♦

I Got A Boy is the fourth Korean album by South-Korean girl group Girls’ Generation, released on January 1, 2013. Ten versions of the album were released, nine of which use a single member’s photo as a cover, and one of which uses a group photo. Each version of the album includes a different 40-page photobook.

First of all, happy 2013! Let’s start the year with one of 2013’s first releases. I Got A Boy opens with a pretty sick beat, and after that it turns into this cute little mash-up as it were since there are practically 4 different musical styles in the first minute only. From hiphop to synthpop to even some little nods to dubstep, this song is all over the place. It takes some time to get used to, but it has a lot of flair and in the end it’s one of the kick-ass songs I need in my K-pop music collection.

Wtf Dancing Queen sounds just like Duffy’s song ‘Mercy’. I never thought K-pop groups/artists would use an entire song from the Western culture, translate it and give it another title. It’s almost an exact cover and that’s why I just can’t call this song Dancing Queen, but rather give it its original title. The girls sing it just like Duffy did so I hear practically nothing original here. Still, the concept is funny I guess. Love Taeyeon’s vocals here.

After that soulful pop track, we transfer to cute pop with Baby Maybe. I love how this song is filled with cute little harp chords, it makes it so much lighter than the previous two songs. I really can’t tell these girls apart yet (can someone please give me a tip on how to start..), but all their vocals are very good and the lighter vocals are perfect for the style of this song. I think it’s very sweet and poppy and I could adore this song after a while.

As the shortest song on the album, Malhaebwa is not only the Korean version of their song ‘BOOMERANG’ but it has something funky about it that I really like. It’s got some blazing synths, some kind of hop to it and it’s what actually makes it more fun than it usually would have been. Something about the tempo makes this a nice song at this point on the tracklist to give it a more carefree feel.

Promise is the first ballad on the album (wow, what a versatile tracklist). With its R&B flavor, it’s definitely something I would already like before I’ve even heard the chorus. That’s exactly what happened, but the rest of the song didn’t disappoint either. I love it when the girls sing ‘What about us, what about us..‘, they give the song the emotional touch it needs but they don’t overdo it. Lovely ballad.

On to the sixth song, Express 999, and it’s kind of a weird song when it comes to the musical patterns. It starts off with a funky verse, but the chorus turns to typical K-pop/dance. There isn’t really a transition between the different part, but a pro of using two different musical styles in one song is that it instantly becomes more special and it drew my attention. The first song I encounter that isn’t an instant fav.

Apparently, Express 999 was trapped between two ballads. Yuriai is the next ballad and it’s more of a pop ballad, also it’s a bit more emotional than Promise. The best thing about this song would definitely be the vocals, the girls did an amazing job on singing their adlibs and harmonies. The song builds into a more powerful feel and the drums give it that extra kick. Very nice.

Look at Me, let’s kick ASS (yes, I said it). Despite the fact that this is quite a short track at little over three minutes, it’s so badass I love it from the first second to the last. Filled with attitude, fast beats, synth accents and craziness all the way, it’s one of the standout song on the second half of the tracklist. There’s a sense of mystery about it as well with an electric guitar playing in the background during a short instrumental bridge. This track is over way too soon.

XYZ is what I would call a typical (and maybe generic) K-pop song because of its electropop sound that is very popular among K-pop artists, but I’ll forgive SNSD because it’s the first song of this kind I encounter on this album. It has a nice bounce to it and the adlibs near the end of the song were pretty awesome, but as for the rest of the song’s vibes, I still have to get into the groove. Yet it has potential because the lyrics are quite catchy.

The opening to Mangnangil is amazing, a beautiful piano part that leads into a unique piano-filled track with a jazzy feel to it. I really didn’t expect this track to sound they way it did, but I can tell you that it definitely works for me. It reminds me of another song that I like but I can’t seem to figure out which one. Yet the fact that I also liked that one instantly means that this is a pretty good track in my opinion as well. Good album closer!

Before even listening to this album, I was pretty much discouraged by some comments I heard. It would be a bad album, it would suck, whatever more, but let me tell you: DISAGREED. I think this album is amazing, and since it’s the first SNSD album I took my time for, it’s a nice way to get acquainted with the girls. It seems that they put numerous musical styles on one album, even with only ten tracks on it, which is always a great pro if you ask me. I think they tried to be original with this, and they succeeded. I can see myself loving this album for sure, a great way to open the year 2013!

Favorite tracks: I Got A Boy | Dancing Queen |Baby Maybe | Malhaebwa | Promise | Yuriai | Look at Me | Mangnangil

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

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