Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: SNSD (Girls’ Generation)–“The Boys”

SNSD hopes to bring the boys out by releasing their new song in both Korean and English.

Did you like the song?
This is best described by a list of my reactions:
  • First time hearing it: Oh my God, what is this disjointed mess? This is music?
  • Second time: Yeah, this is really, really bad. What a massive disappointment. Teddy Riley should be shot.
  • Third time: Actually, their English in the English version is surprisingly good. (Then I stopped listening to the English version because I prefer the Korean. It’s better if I don’t know what they’re saying.)
  • Fourth time: Man, Taeyeon’s high notes are really awesome. And I like Yoona’s singing part at the beginning. But Jessica’s “GG” is still the most awkward thing in existence.
  • Fifth time: That “da boys” part at the beginning is horrific. And they seriously need to stop repeating “bring the boys out” because I will shoot myself if I hear that one more time. But the verses are pretty good, actually.
  • Sixth time: That rap is weird. SNSD shouldn’t be rapping. *hums along*
  • Seventh time: GIRLS’ GENERATION MAKE YOU FEEL THE HEAT. Oh no. *facepalm*
  • Eighth time: I’m going to have to buy this, aren’t I.
So, yeah. The song is basically a fragmented, chanting mixture of After School’s “Bang!”, Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls),” and Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” I don’t really think it suits SNSD well, but there’s no denying, in Tiffany’s words, it’s a “catchy, strong, cool urban dance number…[with] unique harmonies.”

In my opinion, the main issue is that the chorus (starting with “Girl’s Generation make you feel the heat”) isn’t very good, and a large part of that problem is simply that it’s in English. It needs to be faster for one thing, but also have some other hook to make it stand out more.

SNSD The Boys members

Sooyoung, Hyoyeon, Taeyeon, Tiffany, Yoona, Sunny, Jessica, Seohyun, and Yuri.

What was your favorite part of the song?
Taeyeon’s high notes for the win!

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
So every Kpop fan seems to think there’s some kind of secret formula for their idols to be successful in America. But—and this is of course my perspective—it’s no secret: for an established Korean group trying to break into North America, you don’t need to be hot (though it helps), you don’t need to have great dances or meaningful lyrics or beautiful songs (though that would help), you don’t even need to be that different. No, the most important factors are how catchy your songs are and how good you sound singing English. That’s it. Now some people equate “good-sounding English” with unaccented English, but this is totally wrong—most Americans love accents and find at least one or two accents really sexy, especially accents while singing. The key here is convincing Americans that you know English perfectly, you just have a sexy accent while singing it. (This is why British, Australian, Jamaican, South African, New Zealand, etc., accents are so desired in America.)

Based on those guidelines, when I heard that SNSD was releasing their song in English for an American debut, I thought they’d never be able to make it. While some of them sound really sexy singing English, I felt the rest just weren’t confident enough to pull it off.

Let’s see how they do. Here is the English version, for your pleasure:

EDIT: Um, so apparently this isn’t available in the U.S. or Canada at the moment. I hope SM fixes it soon!

And just because I can, here’s their rankings from best to worst English in my opinion, yay!
  • Tiffany: Sounds the best in English (yay for being a native), really sexy.
  • Jessica: Perfect, as expected from the native, just slightly less sexy than Tiffany.
  • Seohyun: WOW! I was so surprised. She has the sexy accent down! Sunny should take notes from her on mystery/history. The only awkward thing was her pronunciation of “pretend” and “didn’t” in the line “You don’t have to pretend that you didn’t notice me.”
  • Yoona: Sounds really very sexy on the lower notes, not so good on the higher ones. But generally very good.
  • Sunny: Not bad, actually. Too much over-enunciating on mystery/history.
  • Taeyeon: Sounds better on the higher, held out notes than on the quick verses. (“Feeling” needed work.)
  • Hyoyeon: “We born to win” should be “we’re born to win,” but other than that, not bad at all.
  • Sooyoung: Really not bad at all, needs some work on “we make it so hot,” where the emphasis should be on “hot,” not “make.”
  • Yuri: Ehh, a bit awkward on “we can show ’em how the girls get down.” The emphasis should be on “show,” not “we.”
Summary: All the members need to work on saying “the” instead of “da.” That was the most glaring problem. But really, this is very workable. They’ve all clearly been studying hard on their accents, and their work is paying off. I’m much more optimistic about their chances of making it in America now. Good job, girls!

SNSD The Boys poster

Clockwise from top: Yoona, Jessica, Yuri, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Sooyoung, Seohyun, Taeyeon, and Tiffany.

One of the remaining issues was the actual lyrics, which seemed to be put together to make the simplest rhyme scheme possible (mystery/history, heat/beat, start/heart, win/in, high/fly, etc.), so that the end result is a very generic message that they’re hot and going to “win,” whatever that means (maybe they’ll win boys’ hearts). So the lyrics are pretty generic and dull, but at least they’re not actually pornographic generic gibberish, which is what many American pop songs are coming out with.

Did you like the video?
SM did it with Super Junior, so I should have expected it here: awesome, gorgeous teaser photos with a semi-coherent theme (ropes and bold colors for Super Junior, modern fairy tale princesses for SNSD) followed by same old same old dancing on boring white/grey background for the video. I can’t help but be a little let down after how beautiful and thought-provoking these teasers were.

SNSD The Boys teasers

A little background I made from the teasers. In age order: Taeyeon, Jessica, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun.

Oh, I also forgot to mention the minute-long panorama and slow-motion shots, like the shorter, more manageable ones SM did with SHINee (in Lucifer and Hello) and Super Junior M (in Perfection), and probably some others I’m forgetting. I started skipping that minute because there’s only so many times I can see beautiful girls walking in slow motion and Jessica releasing doves.

SNSD The Boys Jessica dove gif

Fly free! (But I don’t really get it. Is this supposed to be some kind of religious imagery? Why? Does it represent them as goddesses? Or their musical souls? Or their beauty and purity?)

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
No? Maybe? Yoona finds this gemstone, and it transports her into a magical world where nine goddesses reside (one includes herself; that must’ve been weird for Yoona in Wonderland.)

SNSD The Boys Yoona gif

I really didn’t like the CG here, by the way.

They like to release doves and throw sand in each others’ eyes.

SNSD The Boys Yuri sand gif

Yuri and her sand bring the boys out.

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
SNSD look cool doing whatever, but I wouldn’t say this is the most distinctive of dances. Certainly nothing like Genie or Run Devil Run or Mr. Taxi. It kind of looks like the sprinkler to me.

SNSD The Boys sprinkler dance

Doesn’t it? Am I crazy here?

I loved the move where they hit the floor, though.

SNSD The Boys dance gif hit the floor

Definitely sexy.

Do the members look good?

SNSD The Boys members

Yoona, Jessica, Tiffany, Sooyoung, Seohyun, Yuri, Sunny, Hyoyeon, and Taeyeon.

I did this for Super Junior, so it’s only fair that I extend the same courtesy to SNSD. Thus—by age order:
  • Taeyeon: I actually really like the tri-colored hair. I’m not such a fan of the crimped style. But Taeyeon has this way of really sticking out and looking beyond gorgeous in music videos. I guess makeup really suits her because my eye is drawn to her in MVs. (It doesn’t hurt that she also gets the best parts in the song and is an awesome singer.)
  • Jessica: I appreciate Jessica’s looks because she’s very distinctive, an easy member to pick out of a lineup. I think she’s very pretty, though not particularly sexy.
  • Sunny: Stole the show in terms of looks with her gorgeous blonde wig. She’s got an Amber look going, and it suits her beyond belief. She really needs to actually cut her hair like that.
  • Tiffany: The best-looking in SNSD, in my opinion. Always looks beautiful and has great eye makeup (the silver really suits her). I adore her eye smiles. She has this way of looking happy all the time, which is very attractive.
  • Hyoyeon: Oh man. I hate to be so shallow, and I definitely respect you as a dancer, but I’m just not a fan of your looks in any SNSD music video. And again I’m not digging the weird shoulder pad ensemble thing, and you should probably let U-KISS keep their shoulder feathers. *bricked by Hyoyeon fans*
  • Yuri: Apparently Yuri’s being billed as the sexy member now? Which I don’t get because I don’t really find her sexy at all. I used to get her mixed up with Yoona, to be honest, but now it’s easier for me because the more attractive of the two to me is usually Yoona. *bricked by Yuri’s fans*
  • Sooyoung: The second-prettiest member in SNSD, up there with Tiffany. And Sooyoung also looks very distinctive (and tall!) by always seeming to be happy.
  • Yoona: Definitely looks better than ever here. That said, I just don’t get her insane popularity or why she has such a huge amount of screentime. It’s beginning to get awkward.
  • Seohyun: She looks so…regal and elegant here! It’s hard to believe she the maknae.
Summary: Clearly, I’m biased in favor of the older members. But every single one of them looked better in Run Devil Run except Sunny.

SNSD The Boys Sunny hair

Sunny Riding Hood.

Which member stood out the most?
This is nearly impossible with SNSD, really. But just because she always stands out the most, even when she doesn’t look the best, I have to give this to Taeyeon.

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
Like every one of SNSD’s songs, this one has grown on me to the point where I just have to get it. (Except Gee, I don’t like and still haven’t bought that one.)

Any ending thoughts?
Girls shouldn’t want the boys to come out. They should want the men.

Boyfriend’s one-liner:
“Girls: they bring the boys out. But half price beer and wings really bring the boys out.”

Thanks to the SONEs who requested SNSD! Please share your comments below! :)

SNSD The Boys Members
(Standing:) Yuri, Taeyeon, Sooyoung, Yoona, Seohyun, Hyoyeon, Sunny, (front row:) Jessica, and Tiffany.


  1. Thanks for the review! I have to admit, the song was pretty disappointing for me when I first heard it. I think it's mostly because it was influenced by American pop music, which didn't seem to fit in with SNSD. Or the song was lacking something. You know, like what "Gee" or "Genie" had. But that's just me.

    Overall, I usually get used to the song after a few listens, kinda like what most of SNSD's songs do. But I like the other songs from their album, though. You should check them out. "Trick" is more catcher to listen to than "The Boys", for some reason... *shrugs*

    I pretty much agree with you on Taeyeon standing out more in this vid. The pink and yellow extensions rock, but everyone looks gorgeous here. And one of the dances does remind me of a sprinkler... guess they were trying something new, maybe?

  2. No problem! Thanks for your comment! Sorry I seem to have got a little carried away with breaking things down by member...I can't help it with a group like SNSD.

    Yeah, I think with Teddy Riley, an American producer, composing the song and everything, the song is basically American pop being sung by a Korean group. I think SNSD tried their best to make it their own, and to some extent succeeded (or maybe I just like their voices enough to overcome the fact that it's not their signature style?).

    I've been working my way through the album and will definitely check out "Trick." SNSD usually has gems hiding in their albums. :)

    The dance wasn't particularly distinctive, which was sad. I want another awesome dance from SNSD! To be honest, I'd be pleased if they returned to something similar to "Run Devil Run." I know I sound all nostalgic, but they were so fierce and sexy there! But I will try to support them in whatever they do. :)

  3. I've listened to the rest of SNSD's album now! You're right, some of the other songs were really good! I personally like "Trick," "Top Secret," and "Oscar" best. :)

  4. Glad you agree. Though I'm more into "Lazy Girl", "Say Yes", and weirdly enough, "Telepathy". And it's no big deal about breaking the members down. It's not everyday you get to review nine beautifully talented ladies one by one. (The same can be said for SuJu, too. XD)

    I think they somewhat succeeded into putting "The Boys" out, but I'm just not feeling it. Besides, their live version totally made up for what their MV turned out to be. 

    And yeah, I do want them to do an old concept like that (with the congo dance, lol) but it looks like they've grown out of it. I'm still supporting them, though. Maybe I should buy their album...? Probably not.

  5. I'm so grateful that the whole album is on iTunes right from the release date. That's pretty cool because usually I have to wait a little while before the songs are released as iTunes singles or I have to actually request them. So I'll at least buy those three songs (and the title song) I liked and then see if the others grow on me. SNSD songs have a tendency to do that!

  6. i'm agreeing with you on your reactions up till the fifth. this song, to me, just screams cheerleader. i can't the help but to imagine the nine pretty girls standing in the middle of a football field chanting "Girls Generation make you feel the heat... girls bring the boys out." then a team of football players come running out and the crowd goes wild. LOL!

    back on track, i think Sunny stood out the most here with her blonde hair. she should just make it her hairstyle already. on contrary, not so digging Taeyeon's mermaid hair but the colour makes it up.

  7. Yeah, cheerleader pretty much covers it. I definitely didn't like this song as much as their others, so that was disappointing. 

    And yay, another Sunny lover! I thought she looked the best, though didn't necessarily stand out the most, if that makes sense. Haha, Taeyeon's mermaid hair, good way to describe it. But at least the multi-colored hair was cool (in my opinion). Thanks for commenting! :)

  8. Lol at the opening paragraphs. I did listen to the song a few dozen times 'cos I usually do when my review is going to be not very complimentary. I need to be sure of everything I say to protect my arse from a potential rabid fan. But my reaction didn't progress beyond your №2. I did admit that the song would likely earworm its way into everybody's ears, mine included.

    I think the song is too lethargic for a dance number. And honestly, SME, do stop filming music vids inside the white/black/grey box! Everybody's been fed up with it in 2008 already.

  9. I did listen to the song a few dozen times 'cos I usually do when my review is going to be not very complimentary.
    Aaah, I know! I end up listening to songs I dislike more than songs I actually like (at least at first). But I guess it's important to specify what I didn't like than what I did. Whatever, I just like making fun of them, lol.

    Okay, I am such a fan of SHINee, and I've been waiting for new material from them for a long year now. Instead we get these Japanese remakes that everyone makes fun of with (apparently) horrific accents. It just hurts my heart. I haven't been able to see their musical progression for a year after seeing them get better and better with their releases before that (with the exception of "Hello"). frustrating. /end rant. 

    Anyway, yeah, the black/white boxes with geometric patterns are starting to drive me nuts. Hopefully there will be some original concepts soon. :(

    Thank you for all your comments!!! I love them!!! :D

  10. Isabelle GustafssonJune 5, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    It's really weird reading this because I probably disagree with you on everything you wrote except for not liking the chores. Sunny's hair is just embarrassing here and along with the eye makeup it just makes her look older and trashier (?). And I find it hard to even believe that you don't find Yuri sexy because I think she is absolutely the sexiest member in SNSD. But yeah, obviously we have completely different taste because I think Tiffany is the least good looking member (if you don't count Sunny with this hair). xD Except for that I think this is their worst title song so thank god I Got A Boy was completely different from this.

    And now I feel weird for commenting on this 2 years later lmao. ._.