Album review: Girls' generation - I got a boy

Album review: Girls' generation - I got a boy | Random J Pop

When "I got a boy" released in all its clusterf**ked glory of sounding like 4 different songs thrown into a wheelie bin and pushed down a slope amidst a music video featuring all 9 girls looking like they were gangbanged by 6 Jeremy Scott mannequins, 2 Brooklyn n***as and a gay white sales assistant at Topman; it split fans and haters clean down the middle. You either loved it or hated it. But for all of the noise generated by the lead single, it seems to have very little bearing on the content album. There is no other song on the album which sounds like it, or exhibits any of the left field approaches taken with the album title track. It leaves me a little confused as to why SM would go to so much trouble for one track and refuse to so much as inject the same amount of ballsiness and tenacity across the whole album.

"I got a boy" is a complete mess. The structure to this song is as non-existent as Tiffany's dancing ability. It's like Yoo Young-Jin fed Sooyoung four different songs and then made her stick her fingers down her throat to make a song out of whatever she brought up. I can hear what he tried to do with this. And one wonders if he had been listening to Girls' aloud, as the intention behind this fuckery of a structure was probably to do something along the lines of what Xenomania delivered with "Biology". But where-as that felt like the perfect deconstruction of a conventional pop song, "I got a boy" feels messy. The verse featuring the song title is the best and most cohesive part of the song, but it's not the main chorus and it never comes in when it should do. And to have these girls rap is an offence for which somebody should be sent to North Korea. I'm also tired of Tiffany actin' Fatman Scoop on every damn song. Yes bitch. We know you can speak English. How about you learn to dance and stop telling the damn DJ what to do on a track!? It's a shame, because somewhere within this lies an amazing song. But it's greatly suppressed by so much going on around it and not being pieced together in the best way.

Elsewhere on the album the songs are much easier to digest, but do nothing to push these girls. Falling short on the promise off fresh, genre bending material as "I got a boy" leads you to believe it will contain.

"Baby maybe" rings with the familiarity of Stargate productions circa 2006 when everybody was taking the "So sick" template of harps and handclaps they had seen major success with alongside Ne-Yo. It's a cute song without feeling juvenile or sickly. The only issue with it are the vocals. Girls' generation continue to be the group in K-Pop who do not put forth solos on songs based on the vocal strengths of the members. Jessica takes a Lion's share of the vocals on this track and f**ks up the smoothness of it with her incessant screeching, when Taeyeon or Seohyun should have taken the reigns. The albums ballads follow on from the sweetness of "Baby maybe" and are all really nice songs, delivering their strongest mix of down-tempo numbers to date, especially after the swamping of ballads on Oh!. "Promise" has the girls turn in a pretty killer slice of R&B balladry. It's a shock for a song such as this to come from these girls, but they pull it off really well despite their faux pas attempt at working this angle from the R&B sector on their album title track. "Lost in love" is your typical Asian style ballad. It's nice, but is a little too slow and sweeping for this album and it could have done without it. The 60's ditty "Romantic st" isn't really my cup of tea, but it is a nice song and the members of the group who can sing, turn in a really nice set of vocals for the chorus - displaying a vocal pocket and range you don't often hear from the girls.

Girls' generation go generic electro with "Talk talk" and "XYZ", with the later sounding like something BoA would have recorded for one of her Japanese releases post Outgrow. "Talk talk" is forgettable and mind numbingly generic. The Japanese version of this song (which features on Girls & peace as "Boomerang") has a much stronger hook and also better vocals, but is only marginally better because of it. "XYZ" is the stronger of the two songs - featuring a much stronger melody and more variation within the production. Yuri and Seohyun get major props for writing this song themselves. Although I'm sure SM will intercept the shit out of those royalty cheques. If Yoo Young-Jin wants a 101 in how to mesh different rhythmic patterns and styles cohesively into one song, then he may want to give Kenzie's offering "Express 999" a few listens. A fusion of Stock and Waterman fuelled pop fuelled hooks and exotic Billy Ocean style verses mixed with a bit of Sonic the hedgehog make this one of the albums best offerings. It's a nice re-working of Girls' generation's sound without having them step outside of what works for them and making it a mess - i.e "I got a boy".

As with every Girls' generation release the flecks of ingenuity are smothered by the mediocrity of what surrounds it. SM entertainment seem hesitant to push any risk they take with these girls all the way. On the surface you can see that SM wanted to really go vanguard with these girls, but were hesitant to follow through with it - despite playing complete jeopardy with the lead single and having the girls' release a song and music video which goes against the grain of everything SM had cultivated for these girls up unto this point. It's difficult to make sense of. The alternative is that SM had the song and concept ready for f(x), but passed it onto Girls' generation instead, which would not be out of the realm of possibility; everything concerning "I got a boy" wreaks of f(x) anyway.

SM show no conviction in the way of what type of music they want these girls to do. On this album we get electro, we get ballads, we get Hip-hop and rap. But then we also have your typical SNSD pop tracks wedged in-between as a safe guard. At some point somebody is going to have to make a decision on how they are going to funnel these sounds and streamline them into one consistent release which is indicative of their ages and where they should be right now. These girls are all in their 20's, yet they are singing what are essentially nursery rhymes and are doing nothing to push through the barriers of just being idols and showing the world they have some form of ownership of what they do. This album will only ever be remembered for the controversy of the title track and it's just as well. As without it you wouldn't really remember this album for anything else.

RATING: 4 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Baby maybe
■ Promise ★ J's fave
■ Express 999
■ Look at me


  1. 1. I can't believe you didn't really like the Taeyeon/Jessica duet, "Lost in Love", I love it! I'm a fan of Asian ballads, usually...

    2. You don't know how right you are about "Express 999": when I first heard the song, I didn't really like the "sounds like two songs" concept it was going for, but it REALLY grew on me! That hook is magic, but the verses are dynamite!!!

    3. There is no three!

    4. I'm not surprised at the score you gave it, but I would really like your take on their Japanese album which, IMO, was at least two times better than this album or even the rumors that this album is planned to be released fully in English!

  2. From the way you talked about the tracks it looked like your score would be higher, but it´s understandable, they need a fully conceptual album and SM apparently doesn´t know how to do that. Still, I was expecting a weird single and a filler album (since the only musically challeging material they have produce is their japanese stuff), but it came out better than expected, so I was satisfied with it.

    Please, if you can review their Girls & Peace, they probably release a repackage after their j-tour in february.


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