On June 1st, the Girls released their first Japanese album, the self-titled, Girls’ Generation. The last time I reviewed a Girls’ Generation album, hellfire was spewing from the mouths of fans in the comment section. And for the sake of consistency, I’m reviewing another! I can’t promise much, but I can promise honesty.

I’ll begin with things I didn’t like:

  • The visual concept of SNSD has always been problematic for me. It has been a lie of girls for girls, when really it was girls for men. (In the vein of Britney Spears, one example of many). Obviously, this is typical when you have a girl group created and managed by middle-aged men. It’s like a constant cosplay fantasy with SNSD and as a adult woman, I don’t find it very appealing.
  • The fuller harmonies are weak when only three or four people in a nine member group have great voices. It limits the things they can do in ballads and even some pop songs, things that nine great singers would make phenomenal.

There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? It’s only two things compared to the many things I did like:

  • The deviations from the sugar-pop was nice. It was great for the girls to sing an octave lower than usual because it brought out the richness in their voices.
  • The sound of the album was consistent (beside the devil’s gift to mankind, Gee), it had a nice electronic/club vibe, interspersed with a couple of respectable ballads.
  • The album cover above, the girls look gorgeous.
  • Their sound is growing up with them. If they keep it up they’ll have a longevity unknown to most kpop groups.

The album starts with Mr. Taxi a song with more dimensions than I’m used to in SNSD’s music. The girls are still cutesy and soprano but this song shows an improvement overall in their sound. Genie follows, my main problem with this song is not just the lyrics but also the cosplay kissogram/candy-striper aesthetic that accompanies it. But, with that said, I do occasionally find myself singing the chorus, much to my chagrin. Songs like  you-aholic and Beautiful Stranger shows them taking a strong hold of the techno, club sound. It’s also very nice to hear the lower octave in which the girls sing. Like in Run Devil Run.  I like this song because it doesn’t pander to boys but instead presents an attempt at a strong girl image. It’s simple but has a certain epicness to it–the best part being Taeyeon’s hook in the chorus. Bad Girl has a nice 80’s vibe but after a while it just sounds like synth-noise, the same fate of songs like I’m in Love with the Hero and The Great Escape. They have a couple of simple (though, admittedly, dull) pop-ballads like Let it Rain and the exit song, Born to be a Lady, though the latter is better.

Overall, I like this album for Girls’ Generation. They’re showcasing better vocals, a more mature sound and a lovely step away from doo doo doo doo doo doooo, Kissing you baby! And thank goodness for that.