Girls’ Generation Talks About Their Identity and Responds to Critics in ‘Dispatch’ Interview
Jan 12, 2013 08:30
Girls’ Generation was recently interviewed by Dispatch. The girls discussed their views on “I Got A Boy” as well as their identity as artists.
The nine girls have returned. They brought out “I Got A Boy”. However, the situation right now is “I got a problem”. There’s a bit of a problem; for starters, there are the disagreeing assessments on their new attempt.
Clearly, the girls have changed. They aren’t the Girls’ Generation we’ve known, but a “Brand New” Girls’ Generation. Like their lyrics, their “style changed from head to toe”. It’s the result of choosing a hybrid over a hook song, girls’ hip-hop over group dancing, and a kitsch look over a princess feel.
Like the lyrics, the fans are also asking them:
“Why did they do that? I’m dying of curiosity ♪”
And so we asked critics. We also asked songwriters. And lastly, we looked for answers from Girls’ Generation.
“Please tell me ♬”
# Before holding the interview, we got opinions on the title song from critics, songwriters, and other sources. And then we tossed the questions to Girls’ Generation instead.
① Is it a difficult attempt, or a new trend = The views on the title song are split in two. As of right now, the opinion that it is a difficult attempt is a bit more suprerior. On the other hand, there are other predictions that a new trend may set in. The views of experts are similar. While it’s true that it is fresh, seeming unfamiliar is inevitable.
☞ “There are a number of rhythms mixed diversely, so it seems difficult, and it could sound like it’s all over the place.” (renowed songwriter A)
Girls’ Generation (GG): We were like that at first, too. The feeling of, ‘What is this?’ was strong. To be honest, that is why it was more reliable. This song is just as new as it sounds. It’s different from songs that you get sick of the more you listen to it. For instance, you listen to it from the perspective of ’1′ at first. When you listen to it again, you focus on perspective ’2′. (Tiffany)
Interestingly, the more you listen to it, the more fun elements there are. You can think of it as new elements being discovered one by one. Normally, when practicing, there are times when I get sick of the song first. However, I like this song more now than when we first got it. The elements you hear will be different depending on your mood that day. I’m confident [in it]. (Seohyun)
☞ “After a bright song, they attempted a hook song. After that was electronic. When you take the sound, there is nothing that compares to this attempt as well. But as it is a foreign song, there seems to be a problem emotionally. I think they were too conscious of the overseas market.” (popular songwriter B)
GG: I think the interest in K-Pop is high. However, that doesn’t mean this song was aimed towards the overseas market. It’s just that the market has broadened because the world has become one musically. (Seohyun)
Don’t you think it’s a natural change? When we first debuted, we weren’t in our 20s. We wore Converse sneakers and sportswear. For our second album, we went with a college student feel, wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. This time is just the same. We attempted music that suits our age; we don’t think of overseas first. Everyday girl talks that suit our age. The same thing applies to our clothes and style. Rather than saying who the change is for, I think growth and being natural are the right reasons. (Tiffany, Seohyun)
☞ “I think the performance was attempted well, with variety. The clothes and hair also changed in a stylish manner. Just, when nitpicking at the music attempt alone, I think it’s going to be difficult to capture people. I think it’s a song where the video and performance together give off a big effect.” (celebrity source C)
GG: There’s normally a well-organized path for music. Of course, this song doesn’t really match it. However, any complicated structures get organized into one through a stage performance. In one word, along with the fun of listening to it, it’s a song that’s also fun to watch. (Seohyun)
The dance was different from standard choreography. It wasn’t like a group dance. We even worried whether the nine of us could express it well. Dancing while thinking of the lyrics made a musical come to mind. It was exciting and thrilling seeing the members exchanging different actions and gestures with every performance. (Taeyeon, Yuri)
The lyrics itself are like a conversation. It’s natural for us to make various facial expressions as if we are acting. I think the members’ changes in facial expressions and acting, depending on the subject of the conversation, are a fun element. I think people will think of it as a musical-like stage where you can enjoy not just the music, but also the singing, choreography, and style all at once. (Yoona)
② Too much is as bad as too little vs The more the better? = Starting with the rap, verse 1, verse 2, solo, rap 2, and such get repeated. There isn’t a specific clear separation between the intro and refrain. It’s to the point where videos are emerging with the rap part edited out. This means that too much is not always good.
☞ “When they revealed the teaser video, my expectations were high. But when it was released, there were parts that made me cringe. It made me wonder if the rap part had to be there.” (popular songwriter B)
GG: From the position of having to perform it ourselves, it’s not boring at all. It’s the same logic as knowing that we are one team regardless of how differently we do things. As time goes by, I can feel the teamwork that only Girls’ Generation has. People say the song is difficult, but when you watch the performance, you can feel one energy. (Hyoyeon)
We rapped. At first, it was menboong (translator’s note: mental breakdown) for us too. (laughs) It’s not a simple, repetitive hook song. It could sound difficult, but we think it’s better the more you listen to it. One week of broadcasts has ended now. When the second week is over, we think people will feel, ‘This song is really nice’ a lot. (Sooyoung, Yoona)
☞ “SM Entertainment is seeking an ‘anti trend’. It’s good to experiment. However, for fans who are used to hook songs, this could be inconvenient. You can’t tell which part is the main. You can’t hear the hook clearly. It could be exhausting for an individual to listen to.” (culture critic D)
GG: Honestly, we have a fear of new attempts. However, that doesn’t mean we have an imperative idea that we have to be different from other girl groups. We just think, ‘shouldn’t we have to grow from our last album?’ If you show the same appearance, it’s familiar. And so the fans would probably like and be comfortable with it. However, what we want is to progress and grow. And so we have to make new attempts, and challenge things.
I wish we can become a group that attempts variety. At first, we’re afraid and worry until the album releases. We’re anxious. We also worry as to whether it will do well. But making a new attempt is another process for us. We want people to think, ‘This unfamiliar appearance is still [like] Girls’ Generation.’ (Yuri)
☞ “When it comes to presentation, I think there are a lot of difficult parts in particular. Because there are so many changes in the song, when it comes to the choreography, style, and video, it’s not going to be easy trying to take it all in. However, they changed maturely. I want to compliment them.” (renowned songwriter A)
GG: Before filming the music video, we asked for more time on the choreography. It wasn’t something that would work from just memorizing the actions. We had to understand the general story. The song isn’t orderly. And so, for the person listening, we added in the musical-like parts. We practiced hard, and so it took longer. We think we’ve matured during this process. (Taeyeon)
③ Right now is Girls’ Generation? = They were Girls’ Generation until now. However, are they still Girls’ Generation currently? Also, will another hit song like ‘Gee’ or ‘Genie’ be born in the future? Music experts all agreed that, regardless of hit songs, ‘Girls’ Generation is Girls’ Generation’. They say [Girls' Generation] is already in a different class.
☞ “In the past, whenever songwriters and singers had to hold down a concept, they looked for foreign singers first. However, that’s changed now. And so their attempt in general is new and fast. It feels like they’re keeping ahead.” (popular songwriter B)
GG: We don’t compete with anyone else. If there is something that we pay attention to, it’s our own selves, ‘Girls’ Generation’. If we get first place, of course we’re happy. However, we don’t cling onto those things anymore. If we like our transformation, that’s it. Expressing the music, singing, choreography, and style properly, as we want to, in itself makes us happy. Isn’t it better that we’ve become more natural now? (Sooyoung)
☞ “If this type of genre comes about and becomes a hit, it will become a trend. Of course, the possibility of this would greatly depend on who it is that makes the attempt first. It’s a possible attempt because it’s Girls’ Generation.” (renowned songwriter A)
GG: Opinions that our past performances are better are also valuable. However, growing and finding something new is the duty of Girls’ Generation. The Girls’ Generation that sang ‘Kissing You’ isn’t gone. Rather, we feel that we want to show more things to people. We hope people think, ‘This appearance, that appearance is all like Girls’ Generation’. The thing that’s changed is time. Not Girls’ Generation. (Taeyeon)
☞ “Not only music, but all art is like that. Something called variety exists. I consider Girls’ Generation showing off something new as progress.” (music critic E)
GG: There is a burden that we have because we are Girls’ Generation. We get the feeling of, ‘what should we do if we don’t meet people’s expectations?’ However, we don’t obsess over wanting to always be trendy. Our only goal is to express an appearance that suits the song. The nine of us are always the same. It’s just that what we express on-stage is different. (Tiffany)
We’re happiest communicating with the audience. What greater thing would there be for a singer than that? We have a great feeling of wanting to show [performances] in person, wherever. Rather than wanting, ‘Let’s go to greater markets with this album’, we hope that the songs do just as well as the energy that we poured into it. (Sooyoung)
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