Happy New Year – The Koreans Invade Again, & This Time They’ve Gone Mad

by KV

Okay, I’m wading waaa-a-a-y deep into dangerous territory here – I actually feel the need to produce a review on a Korean album.

I think it’s time you & I accepted the fact that the previous post was not a fling, it has now grown into a full-bloomed relationship based on commitment & faith. The Mayans did not help me by ending this phase (& the universe as we know it) for me, so hope of salvaging what dignity of mine that is left is lost. I’m officially a new fan of SNSD.

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Which can only mean, you can hate the noise of K-pop, but you can’t help but love the Girls. & you sure as hell can’t help loving Taeyeon.

How much more wonderful can this immature misguided child within me feel knowing that 2013 will start with SNSD releasing “I Got A Boy” the single, the music video, & the long-awaited album. Well okay, long for the other crazed fans – I just embraced this freak of nature phase a couple of months ago.

& it’s complete bonkers. The craziest irregular doped-up shit I’ve heard since…“Bohemian Rhapsody”. Yea, so shoot me for sinfully mentioning Queen in the same breath as SNSD.

I’ve seen this more times than I dare to admit. It’s got all the ingredients I generally despise – electro dance, hip-hop, dub steps, that annoying buzzing tiuuutiititiitititiiuuuu tune scattered all around, the ending that should have probably come a full minute earlier. It’s messy, it’s too colourful, it’s overblown.

But not everything can be deduced by science, because the end result of all this concoction & hybrid of, what…5-6 songs perhaps? I absolutely LOVE IT.

It’s beyond crazy, chaotic, confusing, & it sounds like the writers & the Girls are both high & drunk. It is sublimely FEROCIOUS.

I love the out-of-their-comfort-zone zest & ambition. I love the girls’ relentless swagger & confidence. I love how Taeyeon is totally – majestically – owning it from 1:06 to 1:19. Heck, I even love the amateur rapping (Yoona, seriously? How adorable!). & Yuri, goodness she looks terrific! (those Aviators are killing it) That opening show-tunes-like sequence (right up till Tiffany launches them into overblown hip-hop mode) is quite brilliant. & the more energetic choreography is the best I’ve seen since their all-time-greatest, the powerful “Into the New World” & the Swiss-like-precision “Genie”.

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Good luck to the rest if anyone’s gonna top this madhouse. What a way to blaze into 2013.

So it is just too rather unfortunate that the rest of the 9 songs in the album fizzles out & does not match the ambition & unexpectedly glorious mess of the first track. Notable ones are scarce – “Express 999” comes closest. Before long I found myself cutting back to track no.1 & replaying that many many many times.

This brings me back to the Japanese album they released just a couple of months back in November 2012, “Girls’ Generation II – Girls & Peace”. Now that was a pretty decent pop album.

Girls' Generation - Girls' Generation II - Girls & Peace - (Limited Edition) (CD+DVD)UPCH-29127

More importantly, amongst the good tracks – from the eclectic “Flower Power”, the cool “T.O.P.”, the catchy “Girls & Peace”, the sweeping cheesy ballads of “All My Is Love For You” & “Not Alone”, lies a hidden gem which I think ranks among the best from the 9 girls. That song, ladies & gentlemen, is called “Stay Girls”.

Now why this did not get released as a single would boggle me (just like the other hidden gem from TTS – “Baby Steps”), but “Stay Girls” rounds up the whole Girls’ Generation music style, theme & journey pretty well. It’s radio-friendly, catchy, & has that anthem-like feel, the kind of song you want them to sing as a final encore in their concerts, & the kind of song you definitely want to hear on the last day of Earth (or the last day before Girls’ Generation decides to retire).

No single? No video? No problem…leave it to the fans. Surely this is a befitting fan-made video for the lovely track.

In any case, “Girls & Peace” might have been the better album compared to “I Got A Boy”, but I will be last person to complain about SNSD. Is one leading single, a quite stunning one at that, enough to save the album & sustain the Girls’ all-conquering hold? I don’t know, but if there’s one thing I’m absolutely sure about, is that I’m damned well pleased to see them return. Welcome back girls!

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