So Nyeo Shi Dae was the dominant girl group of 2009 (though 2NE1 put up one hell of a fight). These nine comely young women won over ahjusshisSouth Korea with their blend of cutesy, non-threatening, long-legged aegyo and attractiveness.

SNSD is now attempting to reign over 2010 as well, with their second full-length album, “Oh.” Will the Power of Nine prove triumphant once again? Probably – but as that is a foregone conclusion, this article will have less to do with their more-than-certain success, and more about a simple k-pop fan’s review of the merits of this album.

It’s a bit significant that my first album review would be for Girl’s Generation – when I first became immersed in k-pop, they were really the first big girl group I encountered; I think “Gee” was the first k-pop song I placed on my mp3 player. I remember not really liking the song at first, but it was extremely different from anything I normally listened to, in genre, pitch and tone and…everything. But as with all k-pop, the song wormed its way into my brain and refused to let go, and and I ached to hear more.

If I wanted to be matter-of-fact about it, that description sums up my relationship with SNSD’s music as a whole. Most of the songs they produce are just not up my alley, stylistically or aurally. But something – perhaps it’s the bubbly, happy MVs, the carefully choreographed performances – prevents me from writing them off completely as “just not my thing.” And maybe that is why they are and continue to be so popular – as much as some may dislike their music, their personas, their fans or are overtaken plain old jealousy- there’s a little place in our hearts for So Nyeo Shi Dae , and damn it, it’s all SM’s fault.

As for their album, as a whole I found it a bit disappointing – again, most of So Nyeo Shi Dae’s music is simply not to my taste, so that colors my opinion of their efforts a bit. However while perusing the album, I ran into some pleasant surprises.

  1. Oh! – I put this in the same category as “Gee” – annoying as hell, but sticks to you like a leech after a few listens. Unfortunately for a single, I think it lacks that melodic enthusiasim that permeated the latter.
  2. Show! Show! Show! – The only unreleased fast song I liked on the album. More in the “Genie” vein, I wish their entire album had leant more in this direction, instead of the bubbly pop that eventually takes over.
  3. Fun(Sweet Talking Baby) – Got excited when I heard the classical music in the beginning, then.. mmm, no. Overall I think it was incorporated well into another happy, chipmunky SNSD pop song.
  4. Ditto, for “Be Happy”, “Boys&Girls” (wasn’t digging the retro feel) and “Stick Wit U” (which I wrongly assumed was a remake of the PCD song). My God, “Stick Wit You”. It would go perfectly at the beginning of a wacky, crazy shojo anime, don’t you think?
  5. (Forever)
  6. (Talk To Me)
  7. (Day by Day)
  8. (Star Star Star)

I’m placing these songs all together, because not only were they my favorites on the album, but the were the slowest. I feel like the girls (particularly Taeyeon, Tiffany and Jessica) really shine on these songs, and they eradicate some of the groups more manic qualities. Also the slow songs are just nicely produced in my opinion; soft and sweet, and showcasing the girls’ voices. Also, I may be showing my age, but “Talk To Me?” Totally could have been an Aaron Neville jam! They get points for that alone.

Overall. It’s not a bad album, but maybe there’s something to be said that for me, the slowest songs made the most impact. I’m not holding my breath, but maybe they’ll promote “Star Star Star” after “Show! Show! Show!”? It would be keeping with the triple title theme at least.