written by Park Hyo-jae
No other song by Girls’ Generation was more addictive than “Gee”. They focused on repeating certain words, rather than vocal harmony or sophisticated editing. For example, “Ban jak ban jak” (Twinkle twinkle), or “Kam chak kamchak”(shocking shocking), “Jalitjalit”(surprise surprise) make you want to sing along. Even though it was a mini album, it attracted fans reaction right away because of its simplicity and making people want to sing along. What I mean by wanting to sing along is the same case as “Tell me”. It’s just for the sake of pure entertainment.
It could be criticized for its simplicity and merely stimulating people’s desire to sing along and for just being commercial. Then again, we can’t just neglect songs as this, insisting only on authenticity and artistic value of the song. Since now we don’t only listen to music but we consume it. For some listeners it’s hard to accept seriousness of music. The fact we can’t help but to accept is that we can’t argue about people attitude, but it’s actually a kind act of an artist who makes the album well, that people can easily listen to. In that perspective, suggesting one this Girls’ generation album is a very kind act.
It’s hard to frown in front of girls singing with such vocal harmony and being so energetic. Unless one is determined to criticize them, it’s hard for one to reject their music. “Way To Go” where there is a faint sound of electronic and rock guitar, really cheers us up. “Let’s Talk about Love” where their vocal harmony sound comforting within the synthesizer. These are the songs that make one feel happy. I don’t know how long it will take for the happiness to expire, but while you are listening to it, it surely does its job.
The only downside of Girls’Generation is that their music sound too commercial. However, that is not my point. Even if it’s commercial, as long as the music is well made, and it makes listeners feel good, we shouldn’t just criticize it. We came to a point where we have to questions how long the commercial value of this brand of Girls’ Generation will last.
It doesn’t matter how delicious the food is, if one keeps eating it, one will get tired of it. It works the same with the music. It doesn’t matter how high the quality is. It will survive when it evolves. If Girls’ Generation wants to last longer, they have to break their image. The weakness of the brand of Girls’ Generation is that it’s too pure, nice, and girly. Maybe they interpreted the word “girl” too simply. “Gee” speaks of a girl who is so shy she can’t even confess her love to the boy. “Dear, mom” where a nice daughter confesses that she will listen to her mom from now. These would be the perfect example. Not all the “girls” are (as) so pure and naïve. It’s not fun to just show the typical definition of girls.
Not only unrealistic character of “girls” is boring, but their repeated music pattern gives a boring feeling. The usual combination of guitar that brings rock feeling, often using synthesizer, vocal harmony at climax, hasn’t changed much from other songs (refers to previous songs before the release of <Gee>). That’s why “Gee” seemed so different. Much faster tempo, repetition of simple words, accents, intense electronic sound, and etc. It showed that they have evolved musically.
Perhaps even SM entertainment is wondering too, how to raise the product value of this brand Girls’ Generation, and make it last longer. It will not be easy. But they have to think deeper how to evolve this girl character to more realistic one, and bring music changes. People don’t want typical idol, girl groups any more. Yes, we are not unaware of the limitation and nature of idol and girl groups. We know well the limited music consumer problem will not be solved easily. But because the limitation is so clear, overcoming it can bring more glory.
Evolving idol! Can Girls’ Generation obtain this intriguing title? I can’t say they can’t. But then again, I can’t confidently say they can. The fans will be the one who bring that judgment. Only time will tell whether that judgment was right or wrong. One thing is clear, that no one knows the answer so far.
Original Korean article: http://www.izm.co.kr/contentRead.asp?idx=19970&bigcateidx=1&subcateidx=3&view_tp=1