You cannot talk about K-Pop, nay, even Asian pop in general without mentioning the super popular, larger-than-life girl idol groups that rules them all, Girls Generation. Also known as SNSD, they rule the school as far as the Asian music scene goes. They have thousands upon thousands of fans, both male and female, and have all the talent, poise, and dedication to back up their impressive track record.
They rock so hard, they don’t just dominate the Korean market, and have a huge mass of fans in the English market, but also have produced a number of successful Japanese language tracks. Unlike a lot of other artists in the industry, who just re-record one or two of their singles, or do a Japanese album, Girl’s Generation released original single available in Japanese only. And not the left-overs that won’t sell in Korea, but really strong, fun songs that just prove their pop pedigree. So, their new J-track Paparazzi released in June. Does it shine like a 1000 flashing bulbs, or crash like an unbelievable scandal?
Here’s the video (without the additional intro, sadly) with English subs:
Once upon a time, Girls Generation used to make adorable, brightly colored pop about love and cuteness, and then from one album from the next, they grew up. At first, I was a little surprised, and felt they had sold out for a sexier, more sultry look to fit into the new aesthetic taking over the industry. But there’s no way to deny their awesome – and their new track is just another jewel in their crown.
Paparazzi, their fifth Japanese single and their first entirely original Japanese-only track, was released in June of this year and STILL has yet to have an iTunes release. Yes, I’m making a note of it, cause damnit iTunes US, I want to buy my music legally. Why don’t you just let me????
Anyways, let’s talk about the lyrics first, even though they are the least interesting part. They are pretty superficial, all like “Hey paparazzi, look at me! I am a super star! Go ahead and take your photos, all press is good press.” I mean, yes, this is song is more of a coronation march for the group’s booming success than anything really substantial. But I’ll give it points for not being about a boy, or boys, in a club, or about wish fulfillment – it could have been worse lyrically. The vocals are tight as usual, so no need to fret on that aspect.
The video follows basic shots of the girls dancing around at a party, in a video backdrop, and the streets of an old-looking neighborhood in front of a theater with their name in lights. No, there’s not much of a plot going on, but I guess that’s good since no other MV is going to beat Gee in terms of awesome plot. I usually don’t like videos with very specific color choices, that sticks to the white-silver-grey-red-black solely. But this isn’t one that particularly bothered me as it was so dynamic and swift, I was paying more attention to the combination of the words, the dance, and the background. The first set of outfits are fairly nice. Some of them are really classy and fun, others border on cabaret girl, but not to an offensive degree. They are tasteful, as they always are.
However, there are times when the video gets just a little bit cluttered and confusing, but very briefly. The worst though is one of the dance shot where they are all in bright pink gloves, mini fake tuxedos, and tall boots with a very bright yellow background. I don’t know who thought this was design was going to be practical/pretty/fitting into the theme of the video. It’s hideous – the colors clash like you are being blinded by a fashion car crash. I just don’t know why they even added this part of the music video – I guess its to show them at like a video shoot, so maybe it’s supposed to be ironically ugly looking. Oooorrr you know, not, and there was just no clout on this matter.
The song itself is a powerhouse. The beat is excellent – lots of fun without feeling like it’s another carbon copy of every other party song. They’re flaunting their fame in a more subtle, humble way than most celebrities, which is nice I suppose. I’m not big at the “LOOK AT ALL THE CAMERA MEN FOLLOWING ME AROUND!!!!” kind of songs, but this one is so catchy I can’t find it in me to care. Hell, I didn’t even like The Boys but this is one song I can’t stop listening to. Clean cut, great sound mixing and editing, excellent use of bass and sound effects. I can’t say enough about how great this single is – fun, fitting, stylish, and a great tune for the summer. Of course, I can understand how this isn’t a song for everyone so if you’re not into this particular style of song, which is pretty middle of the way in terms of their typical style, you can bet in just a few more months, we’ll get another hit from them.