Friday, October 08, 2010

50 Most Influential K-Pop Artists: 45. Girls' Generation

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[Series Index]

Oh dear gods of rock, please forgive the Korean for what he is about to do.

45.  Girls' Generation (also known as SNSD) [소녀시대]

Years of Activity:  2007-present.

Members:
TaeYeon (Kim Tae-Yeon [김태연]) - Main Vocal
Jessica (Jessica Jung/Jeong Su-Yeon [정수연]) - Main Vocal
Sunny (Lee Soon-Gyu [이순규]) - Sub Vocal
Tiffany (Stephanie Hwang/Hwang Mi-Yeong [황미영] - Sub Vocal
HyoYeon (Kim Hyo-Yeon [김효연]) - Sub vocal
YuRi (Gwon Yu-Ri [권유리]) - Sub vocal
SooYoung (Choi Su-Yeong [최수영]) - Sub vocal
YoonA (Im Yoon-Ah [임윤아]) - Sub vocal
SeoHyun (Seo Ju-Hyeon [서주현]) - Sub vocal

Discography:

Regular Albums

Girls' Generation [소녀시대] (2007)
Oh! (2010)

Singles/Remixes

World Encountered Again [다시 만난 세계] (2007)
World Encountered Again Remix [다시 만난 세계 Remix] (2007)
Kissing You (Rhythmer Remix Vol. 1) (2008)
Baby Baby (2008)
Gee (2009)
Tell Me Your Wish [소원을 말해봐] (2009)
Run Devil Run (2010)

Representative Song:  Gee, from Gee


 Gee

Uh-huh! Listen Boy, My First Love Story

My Angel I'm a Girl My sunshine
uh uh let's go!

너무너무 멋져 
So so good-looking 
눈이눈이 부셔 
 So dazzle dazzling
숨을 못쉬겠어 
Can't breathe
떨리는 걸
 I'm shaking

Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby
Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby

Oh 너무 부끄러워
Oh so embarrassing
쳐다볼 수 없어
Can't look
사랑에 빠져서 
Because of love
수줍은 걸
I feel shy

Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby
Gee Gee Gee Gee Be Be Be Be Be Be

(어떻게 하죠) 어떡 어떡하죠
(What do I do) What do I what do I do?
(떨리는 나는) 떨리는 나는요
(Shaky me) This shaky me?
(두근두근두근) 두근두근 거려
(Thump thump thump) My heart is thumping
밤엔 잠도 못 이루죠
So I can't even sleep at night

나는 나는 바본가봐요
I, I must be a fool
그대 그대 밖에 모르는 바보
A fool who only knows you, you
그래요 그댈 보는 난
That's right, I, looking at you

너무 반짝반짝 눈이 부셔
So sparkle-sparkle so dazzling
NO NO NO NO
너무 깜짝깜짝 놀란 나는
So so surprised I am like
OH OH OH OH
너무 짜릿짜릿 몸이 떨려
So electrifying, my body shakes
Gee Gee Gee Gee Gee
Oh 젖은 눈빛 
Oh the soft gaze
Oh Yeah
Oh 좋은 향기
Oh the good smell
Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah

Oh 너무 너무 예뻐
Oh so so pretty
맘이 너무 예뻐
So pretty heart
첫눈에 반했어
Love at first sight
꼭 찍은 걸
 You are mine

Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby Baby
Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby Baby

너무나 뜨거워
Too hot
만질 수가 없어
Can't touch
사랑에 타버려
Burning with love
후끈한 걸
It's so hot

Gee Gee Gee Gee Baby Baby Baby Baby
Gee Gee Gee Gee Be Be Be Be Be Be

(어쩌면 좋아) 어쩌면 좋아요
(What do I do) What am I supposed to do?
(수줍은 나는) 수줍은 나는요
(Bashful me) This bashful me?
(몰라 몰라 몰라 몰라) 몰라 몰라하며
 (I don't know I don't know) I say I don't know, I don't know
매일 그대만 그리죠
And think of you every day.

친한 친구들은 말하죠
My good friends tell me
정말 너는 정말 못말려 바보
You are really something, silly
하지만 그댈 보는 난
But I, looking at you

너무 반짝반짝 눈이 부셔
So sparkle-sparkle so dazzling
NO NO NO NO
너무 깜짝깜짝 놀란 나는
So so surprised I am like
OH OH OH OH
너무 짜릿짜릿 몸이 떨려
So electrifying, my body shakes
Gee Gee Gee Gee Gee
Oh 젖은 눈빛 

Oh the soft gaze
Oh Yeah
Oh 좋은 향기
Oh the good smell
Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah

말도 못했는 걸
Couldn't even talk to him
너무 부끄러워 하는 날
I am too embarrassed
용기가 없는걸까
Do I lack courage
어떡해야 좋은걸까
What am I supposed to do
두근두근 맘 졸이며 바라보고 있는 나
I, looking with my heart thumping

너무 반짝반짝 눈이 부셔
So sparkle-sparkle so dazzling
NO NO NO NO
너무 깜짝깜짝 놀란 나는
So so surprised I am like
OH OH OH OH
너무 짜릿짜릿 몸이 떨려
So electrifying, my body shakes
Gee Gee Gee Gee Gee
Oh 젖은 눈빛 

Oh the soft gaze
Oh Yeah
Oh 좋은 향기
Oh the good smell
Oh Yeah Yeah Yeah

Translation note:  The lines originally in English were marked in blue. The Korean also learned that stupidity is very difficult to translate without making it sound, well, stupid.

In 15 words or less:  The most perfect business plan for a girl group so far.

Maybe they should be ranked higher because...  Like it or not, produced idol groups are the most influential force in Korean popular music right now -- and Girls' Generation is the reigning queen of produced idol groups.

Maybe they should be ranked lower because...  OHMYGOD I AM ABOUT TO SAY GIRLS GENERATION IS SOMEHOW BETTER THAN DELI SPICE AND CLAZZIQUAI SOMEONE PLEASE KILL ME BEFORE THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IS WRITTEN.

Why is this band important?
[Must... be... objective... without... vomiting...]

Ok. Alright. It must be admitted: Girls' Generation is huge. Around 2008  it was either Wonder Girls or Girls' Generation, but as of 2010 the game is over. Girls' Generation defeated Wonder Girls by a mile in every measurable criteria -- domestic and international album sales, "presence" on media, "influence", etc. In fact, they are right now at the top of the heap among female "idol groups" (a term denoting heavily corporate-produced bands,) and quite possibly among all idol groups.

While the work that these young women put into their career should by no means discounted, one can rightly despair about the reality in which people who are no more than pretty puppets following a set business plan can achieve greater adulation than the most innovative artists. But when that business plan succeeds as spectacularly as the one behind Girls' Generation, one still needs to take note.

The strength behind Girls' Generation is that it had a clear goal:  create the broadest appeal possible. Everything about Girls' Generation revolves around that goal. First, there is a horde of them -- nine girls with different types of looks to choose from. Also, they were meticulously trained in dance and foreign language. Because they needed to appeal to young and old alike, they stuck with being cute without being overly sexualized. Their dance moves often involved old-school moves reinterpreted. (This is visible in the choreography for Gee.) This worked to an amazing degree, as men 40 years old and above often were able to follow Girls' Generation without feeling like a pervert. They always kept it simple with their hair, costumes and makeup. In fact, one of the most successful theme that Girls' Generation pulled off was skinny jeans and white t-shirts. (This is in stark contrast to Wonder Girls' outlandish concepts of the Dream Girls in the 1960s, for example.) The way Girls' Generation plays the media is also innovative. To saturate the media, each member of Girls' Generation had a side project as an actress or a featured member at a project band, while continuing to stay as a whole -- like Voltron, perhaps.

As a music lover, the Korean deplores the proliferation of "bands" like Girls' Generation. But going past the personal taste, there is plenty of things to learn from how this group became successful where many others have failed.


Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

29 comments:

  1. I love Girls Generation. Yeah, I'll admit, I got into them because I think they're hot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You just ranked Girls' Generation above both Deli Spice and Clazziquai. On one hand, I think you just earned yourself new readers and fans from within the ranks of soshi-dom (and I'm positive that this is incidental considering the self-loathing in your post). On the other hand, YOU JUST RANKED GIRLS GENERATION ABOVE DELI SPICE AND CLAZZIQUAI!!

    You make a sound argument, to be honest, but I just don't know if SNSD's been around long enough or was the earliest group to commercially branch out everywhere to be considered over other K-Pop machine acts that have been up to the same thing since the mid-late 90's explosion. You could consider SNSD a distaff outgrowth of the formula that SM used for Super Junior (same branching commercial activities, multiple sub-groups, tons of members).

    SM is smart, I have to admit, because this time tested formula's been well used since at least as early as Motown's Jackson 5 and their contemporaries.

    Ok. I'm done sullying my hands with this talk. Thanks for the writeup, the Korean.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used to hate SNSD, because, well - I don't need to explain myself there. However, now I've become more immersed in kpop: ie shady dealings, tyrannical company regimes, crazy trainee periods etc, I have a lot of respect for them. Well, anybody who's been able to debut from sm has my respect. >_>

    A couple of them at least are much more talented than what they can show, and it's really not my place to judge them for such music that their company makes them do. I mean, the youngest couldn't say her lines in Oh! for a long time because it creeped her out.

    And no matter what, there's been sweat and lots of hard work that has gone into their preparation. I know I wouldn't ever be able to go through so many years of rigorous training for a tiny chance to get some fame.

    Now I'm really trying to see beneath the surface. It's hard to do at times, but I'll get there, heh.

    Anyway, this list is great. (:

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  4. One of the things me and my friends liked best about Gee is that the Korean was so simple, even we could understand it. Plus, it ensured that our students were familiar with at least one letter of the English alphabet.

    What I like about SNSD is what I like about a lot of K-pop, which is that though the music is over-produced, I feel like it uses sounds and looks you don't really get in the West (Lollipop is the best example, I feel).

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    Replies
    1. "it ensured that our students were familiar with at least one letter of the English alphabet."
      which letter: G or Z?
      (mwahahaha)

      Delete
  5. oh...I'm looking forward the day, when I meet with anti-kpop activists within Korea.

    ReplyDelete
  6. btw I have just learned there are crazy anti-kpop groups out there also...I'm confused.

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  7. Oh, SNSD as one of the top influential kpop artists, huh Korean?

    Btw, based on reading your blog and your opinions, I've deduced that you're a Korean male born in the early 80s (between the years of 1981-1983). Am I correct? Which leads me to conclude that you secretly relish in enjoying SNSD's performance, despite your utter distaste for their music. Just admit it. It's okay.

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  8. Arggghh... SNSD above Clazziquai... SACRILEGE! But I can understand your ranking. I'd rather have WG, too bad they messed up everything to go to America...

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  9. Actually if you think a bit harder it's a laugh Girls Generation is ranked so LOW. Obviously they are MUCH more influential than Deli Spice and Clazziquai - I've never seen the latter two make their fans in different countries fight for spots on their concerts (if they even have any, by the way), dedicate tons and tons of websites to them and getting genuinely interested in Korea because of them and a handful of other kpop bands for example. After all - it's not a talent ranking, it's all about influence. And in that category SNSD deserve to be in the top 15 at least...

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  10. Can I also add that they're insanely popular (to a level of deity) in the korean army? And since military service is required in korea, just a bout every korean man automatically becomes a snsd fan.

    I'm pretty sure The Korean would also have become a die-hard snsd fan under the right conditions.

    My point is... it's not a matter of personal music preference. all guys are snsd fans on the inside.

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  11. As much as I'd love to agree with refresh_daemon, like D.D I'm surprised they weren't ranked higher.

    This year the number of students in the Korean beginners class at Stockholm University is unusually high (~40) and one of the students argued that at least half of them were there because of Gee. I don't know how much truth there really is to that, but during a karaoke session last week it was evident that Gee was in fact the Korean song they were the most familiar with.

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  12. Very good points from D.D. and helikoppter. The Korean's thought was -- fan influence is not the only influence at counts. In terms of other influences (e.g. influence on musical style, etc.,) SNSD's influence is nearly zero.

    ReplyDelete
  13. VOLTRON? When did you move to the U.S. again? Voltron was on TV in 1985-86.

    Was it also on TV in Korea? Would it have even been called Voltron?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, and it was called Golion in Korea.

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  15. I haven't listened to their music enough to know if this is the case with other songs, but one of my producer friends likes very, very few Kpop songs. His favorite is Gee. He told me, and I agree, that Gee's instrumental is perfect. The tones, harmonies, bass synth itself, and literally everything else about it. It should be said, however, that he only listens to the MR.

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  16. I love SNSD (shoot me now!). I think why I love them so much is that their image ISN'T overly sexualized or particularly outlandish. If you watch any of their reality shows (which, obviously, I know reality shows-not actually reality) the image they give off is sort of like being your friend or just a bunch of girls having fun, which is what every girl wants to be a part of.
    And they are quite talented, whether with vocals, dance, or acting.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like girl's generation, as a 24 years old male, watching 9X 20-19 years old girl dancing around singing it's like heaven, I'm not gonna complain.

    But we have to separate good looking from talent. From a talent stand point I just don't see it, the singing individually is weak, if they sound like that through studio processing, I don't want to know what they sound like singing live. The dancing is great, but then again you can teach a monkey to dance with enough practice hours (hense all kpop singer can dance extremely efficient and hiphop dancer never make it big despite all those reality dancing show contest).

    I'll give credit to their effort of maintaining their awesome looks (from someone who tried so hard to keep off weights, I know it's freakishly hard to look like that all the time). And the concept of the group is quite amazing, I never thought they can pull off a 9 girls group, in the US we have the pussy cat dolls, but it's basically nicole + bunches of dancer, it's not a group like girl's generation.

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  20. I see where D.D and helikoppter are going and I guess I was thinking more along the lines of musical influence (or music industry influence) rather than broader cultural influence. I mean SNSD is everywhere, selling everything along with their SM peers, influencing fashion consumption as well (and many Koreans love to shop for clothes). If that's a major criterion, I don't even know if Deli Spice or Clazziquai can even fit on the list (maybe Clazziquai because of Alex's regular variety show work leading to indie electronica exposure).

    And goodness, this means that H.O.T. (or an equivalent early and extremely popular boy or girl group) is definitely going to show up in a higher position as well, because those older pop acts sort of defined the singing dancing produced pop machine of Korea.

    But, I think the Korean is definitely looking at these groups from multiple points of influence which is why they're hanging on in the 40's (right?--help me out here!).

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  21. All the same, I decided to spend a little more time listening to SNSD and while I was aghast most of the time (especially the almost creepily subtle hyper-sexualization of what appear to be high-school aged women going on in the music videos)--I'm convinced that the songwriters are brilliant (particularly with "Gee") because they created the kind of bubbly pop tune that their primary audience can immediately connect with. Yes, the lyrics are inane, but are they any more inane than the hormonal bubblings of a smitten teenager? You could argue that they're right on point--that's the genius. The music is easy to remember, as are the lyrics, which means that it's also a perfect ear worm and you don't even need a language to get the connotations of the titular babytalk of "gee gee gee gee". Combine that with an instantly recognizable dance (the toe-heels of the chorus) and you've pretty much printed money.

    It's nowhere in the realm of high art, but as far as supremely constructed commercial music made for wide appeal, especially to its target demographic, this hits the core of what smartly produced commercial pop is all about.

    Still not my kind of thing, but I have to admit I've developed a begrudging respect for the producers/songwriters of SNSD's "Gee", at least.

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  22. And goodness, this means that H.O.T. ... is definitely going to show up in a higher position as well ...

    Yup.

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  23. I wonder how high up Rain will be in this countdown.

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  24. absolutely love 소녀시대. i particularly love the gee video. the shorts get me. :P

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  25. i really really think that they should be ranked higher~

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  26. I just found this entry and had to comment. I too love to listen to SNSD. There is something about their voices that soothes me. That I don't understand Korean makes it even better, since I can just enjoy the tone, beats and melody. I AM an older white guy, which might make this confession sound creepy. However, I do no watch their videos. They are attractive girls, but there is only so much winking and cutesy poses I can take.

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  27. Musicality-wise, Girl's Generation is, of course, not as influential, given the fact that their music is so manufactured and typical. But for the general Korean music industry, they are monster, really. Pick any random girl band nowadays and most of them are just like Girl's Generation 2.0. They set the path for girl band trend, that alone really means something.

    @Minhur i agree with you wholeheartedly, that all guys are GG's fan by heart. Many of my friends used to question my taste in music because i listen to song in foreign, non-English language. But later i found they have complete collection of GG's mv ._.

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