Tuesday, November 01, 2011

HEAR THIS: Girls' Generation Brings "The Boys" Out

We're born to win
Better tell all your friends
'Cause we get it in
You know the girls
Bring the boys out

-"The Boys", Girls' Generation (So Nyuh Shi Dae)

I know what you're probably thinking. Me, heralding a SNSD track? But the reality is there is just something about "The Boys" that makes you want to put it on proverbial replay.

Girls' Generation, SM Entertainment's flagship nine-membered girl group whom I saw live at Madison Square Garden, are the first artist following BoA from the company to announce formal plans to release material in America. "The Boys", already released in Korea and making the promotional rounds, is set for American release as a maxi single via Interscope Records this mid-November. The fact that SNSD (or rather, GG) is boasting Interscope on their side makes me very hopeful for their chances indeed.

Another braggable aspect about "The Boys" is its production. While the Korean version was written by SM's messiah that is Yoo Young-Jin, the song was produced by American visionary Teddy Riley. Riley is responsible for bringing the world Blackstreet ("No Diggity", anyone? No doubt...) and the Neptunes amongst others, and pioneered the "New Jack Swing" style of R&B music. He also produced much of Michael Jackson's Dangerous album, including the song "Jam", a portion of which was highlighted during a dance-off segment at the SMTown show (heavily featuring Girls' Generation member Hyoyeon). As of recently, GG isn't the only Korean pop artist he has been experimenting with -- he's also been working with ex-2PM member Jay Park and produced the steamy "Dr. Feel Good" for girl group RaNia.

Don't get me wrong. "The Boys" is hardly a KPOP cut with New Jack style. Not in the slightest. It's still very much in the pocket of the sound that Girls' Generation (and SM Entertainment by extension) has developed for themselves, already established in previous hits like "Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)" and "Run Devil Run". Rather than their cutesy image of the past (think "Gee" or "Kissing You"), "The Boys" is soaked in in-your-face attitude, and serves as an anthematic call-to-arms for an introduction to the group. 

It has a distinctly urban bend to it that previous singles lack, most likely to capitalize and intrigue Western audiences, but for the most part, it's Girls' Generation doing what they do best -- walking the line between classically feminine and epically sexy. Considering I like my (female) KPOP groups with attitude over cutesy-ness (I guess I'm just not an aegyo person), its the version of Girls' Generation I can appreciate.

While the Korean version feels much more natural (as it should), the English Version is very well done. The lyrics themselves are quite cliche, but such is the case of much commercialized pop music, and considering 7/9ths of the group are not well-versed in the English language, the song is an achievement that they sound as fluent as they do. Rather than link to the formal music video, check out the live performance of the song below at the Madison Square Garden show I attended (the first formal live appearance by the group in the United States). Yes, they were singing to track, but they were singing live -- SM Entertainment overdubbed the video below with the song to make the vocals more clear.


As upset as I want to be about the next American debut by an SM Entertainment artist being Girls' Generation over my boys in TVXQ, Super Junior or even SHINee, I have to admit the decision is a smart one. America has been having trouble accepting boy bands (even ones with serious swag) since the glory days of *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. Given the general "WTF" xenophobia that surrounded much of JYJ's recent attempts at English success, I think it's much easier for America to swallow nine pretty Asian girls strutting around to urban-twinged power pop than watching five adorable (although slightly effeminate) Asian boys. We may not like it, but it's reality. And if Girls' Generation "brings the heat" like they promise, all of KPOP will be thanking them for helping get their foot in the door that is Western Success. Bring it on, girls.

1 comment:

Alex said...

nice video and post :) you are talented

http://alexthinking1.blogspot.com/

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