Girls’ Generation (known as SNSD in Korea [소녀시대]) are famously known as one of the country’s most popular girl groups following their debut under SM Entertainment in 2007. The 9-member girl group with a series of 4 studio albums and now 4 mini albums, along with their 3 Japanese albums, the girls are not shy of an extensively successful career of hit songs with their most recent comeback this year being of no exception. Following prior year’s success of I Got a Boy, Girl’s Generation have finally returned with not only a new concept but a mature theme to partner their long and ever-blossoming career. Thus far, Mr.Mr is the girl group’s fourth and latest released mini album.

An Overview:

The album blooms with a combination of pop, slow rock, retro and R&B genres giving a general urban funky feel to the new style adapted by the group as a whole. Quite like TVXQ’s Something as well as Super Junior-M’s Swing, this album follows an almost similar concept. The thematic regime of SM comebacks this year appears to follow a rather old-style swing formality to the music as well as image-wise. The classy atmospheres range contrastingly within each group however, from the mature Yunho and Changmin to the child-like, playful, office workers of Super Junior-M to the current stylish working girls who purely mean business in their confidence and exploding charisma; that of which Mr.Mr. indeed portrays.

This album continues the girls’ legacy of an outlook of feminist power with the pink femme fatale nurse outfits, the group strive in their image as strong role models to their many fangirls (and fanboys!) embracing the power and allure femininity withholds and well, pink! Nevertheless the album has an overall smooth but upbeat mood to it with its sassy style and uniquely different  sound, it is nothing less of what is expected of a great comeback from Girls’ Generation!

 

1. Mr.Mr.

The girls as renowned ‘fashion icons’ have for this comeback adapted a sexy but classy concept, one which in many way separates them from a large majority of girl groups promoting in Korea recently. However the girls’ impressive career allows this style to be well received by both male and female audiences and being no stranger to the public eye, this album allows the group to truly show off their extensively impressive vocal skills.

The Music of the album’s leading title song is one that strikes a powerful essence of confidence, style and allure. It conveys a funky, smooth electro-pop beat with its subtle bass echoing a jazzy feel to the mood. The music along with its well timed dance break is fluid; the song itself being one to leave any listener toe-tapping and hitting their repeat button on their iPod or music player automatically.

The introductory beat begins rather stylishly with a faltering and slightly breaking electro-synth, the effect paralleling the lyrics expressing the nervous emotions of the persona the girls are singing to. The bridge before the chorus is nicely fluid with the stylishly composed R&B mood presented by the absence of a bass beat. This, partnered with the bridge before the head-banging dance break enters counting from “1, 2, 3, 4” is one to be considered as a strong point in the song and one which is ideal in creating the dramatic effect the song indeed thrives in.

 The Lyrics of Mr.Mr. particularly with its uniquely catchy tune and meaning convey a bold statement to the potential target of the song, that the girls’ ‘prince charming’ or potential lover should simply shine with confidence and be forward if they like a girl. To effectively, put away all signs of nervousness and believe that they are special to her, if the girl the former admires is one he sees as his entire world, he should of course, pursue her! It is a rather action driven song and one that could act as a potential anthem for all girls who relate to its message.

The Music Video is similar in its message and concept with all nine members conveying their sassy femininity as well as style in their suit and tie clad outfits as well as the alternate shots of random body parts, highlighting the allure as well as the simplistic beauty of different parts of a human body. This coincides well with the theme of the girls portraying femme fatale-style nurses operating on one male figure apparent in each member’s shots.

The group’s choreography is allegedly the first to be shot with the addition of male dancers. Albeit however prominent the male figure is, the girls are shown to be controlling the dance actions of the male dancers in order to pair with the lyrical connotations of the song. This attribute is one I strongly admire in the fluid, simplistic but funky choreography and the girls deliver the song with a mature theme, classy style appealing to the attraction of intelligence conveyed by the business and medical attire.

You can find the music video here!

 

 

2. Goodbye 

This song effectively highlights the funky side or a smooth R&B sound that could potentially be played rather fittingly in an indie coffee shop. Goodbye has a rather nostalgic feel to it, being lyrical as well as toe-tappingly catchy, it has a rather western feel to its sound with strong ad-libs from Taeyeon and Tiffany, it is a wonderful song to listen to. The slow rock mood of the chorus paired with the jazzy singing style of the members of Girls’ Generation, emphasise the song in its tastefulness, it one if not my favourite on the entire album and one which is immediately easy to adore having already loved it upon first listening to its melodic sound from the first beat.

Where the lyrics conveys their bittersweet melody of the singer candidly brushing away their partners feelings, all the while knowing that he is scared to tell her that he is in fact looking to end the relationship. The message is one of independence, to simply ask her lover to just tell her how he feels and accept that their break-up is after all a “really, really good goodbye.”

3. 유로파(Europa) 

Europa has an alternate style to its sound, being a combination of genres it is hard to pinpoint its unique sound. The verses have an almost slow build up, it isn’t one to love upon first listening to it, however when hearing the soft transgression of the member’s high notes, it is difficult not to love. The sound effects in the background of the music of what sounds like glass hitting each other softly like wind chimes, adds to the magical quality of the song. Seohyun and Tiffany’s harmonies were particularly one to favour both bringing out the subtle jazz underlying within its strong bass.

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The lyrics are here, like most songs centred around the powerful emotion of love, one about the moments of admiration. The lyrics at first seemed to hint the possibility of the misery of a bashful stalker, shyly always watching the subject of their admiration with the line “Following you around every day” however as the song continues it is only about the singer coyly waiting for the right moments to express how they really feel towards the person they are in love with but ashamedly too scared to go near the one she longs for as the sorrowful line goes “I know I can’t get any closer, I know that it can’t get any closer…”.

4. Wait a Minute 

Wait a Minute immediately was one I completely and utterly adored. If you as a listener have an undeniable love for swing music or that of any similar style, you will adore this song. Tiffany’s vocals from the moment the song began did indeed strike a wondrously stylish chord with the song’s thematic atmosphere. The ‘oooh’s’ of the Girls’ Generation members gave the song a classic feel to it and it’ll have you swaying your body to the beat in no time. The ‘ahh ahh’s’ and ‘doobedabee’ lyrics create a smooth yet relaxing vibe, this song is one which really showcases the group’s singing ability as a whole in its fabulous harmonies.

This song showcases many high notes as well as successfully hitting a key higher towards the end of the song where the chorus is repeated. This particular musical style was culturally dropped commonly in the world of music around the late 00’s for it being too overused and honestly, sounding rather annoying however one prominent success SNSD pull off is this in Wait a Minute, along with Mr.Mr. in which the key is sung not only one key higher but two; perfected as a harmonious level and one quite rare to enjoy.

Lyrically, the song is almost a complete turn around from Goodbye, the meaning of the song being that of the rush of happiness and the thrill of wanting the other to just confess their feelings, anticipating the moment where they can at long last be together. A flurry of racing heartbeats and flustered emotions is one where almost everyone can relate to when experiencing their first crush, it’s as if the persona’s mind can only focus on that person she has fallen for as the lyrics follow: “I can’t sleep thinking of you all throughout this dark night”.

5. 백허그(Back Hug) 

Back Hug is by far one of the many beautiful ballads Girls’ Generation have sung, with its harmonious lyrics and sweet acoustic sopranos, the girls wonderfully display the purity of their vocal skills at its simplest.  The soft melodies of the simple texture of guitars, violins and a piano add to the beauty this song holds. It is one that should not be missed when listening to the album. Unlike most ballads that soon grow tiresome of its overused ad-libs, Girls’ Generation prove this wrong, with each member singing simplistically in a purely soprano-based voice. Indeed there is really only one perfect word to describe this beautiful ballad: Angelic.

The lyrical connotations here automatically even when looking at the title, explore the bliss and happiness of romance. Culturally, back hugs particularly in Korea are a strong sign of affection for someone you deeply care about, admire or even are in love with. The song very simply describes the very small but very important elements of this intimate act, one worthy of a gasp! moment, particularly in K-Dramas and it is in this innocent title alone parallels the innocence and purity of the romanticism that are conveyed with the heaven-like singing from the group. After all, the singer feels as if she has turned into an angel as the lyrics illustrate an image of how “Like big and beautiful wings, you’re always on my back, This ordinary me becomes an angel in your arms”.

6. Soul 

This song, upon its first note sung conveys an ultimately powerful conclusion to the album. Its strong atmosphere and upbeat style allows listeners to feel almost empowered by the fighting emotions the music portrays. Soul conveys an exotic melody and is one you can tell has nothing but Soul (pun most definitely intended). 

This song also has a sister Chinese version ‘Find Your Soul’ and was released as an OST to the video game ‘Blade and Soul’ however the Korean version was released in full as part of the group’s mini album. This song is ultimately funky with the English countdown clearly absent of linguistic error sung by the fluent Jessica adding to the dramatic atmosphere along with a cleverly styled beat though familiar, withhold its unique ability within its soulful lyrics of “Find your soul!”.

The lyrics of Soul however, differ from the previous songs of the album. They express the rush of being in danger and the thrill of action and adventure; it indeed compliments the fast tempo and so flows easily with the upbeat pace of the music but nonetheless are exciting and motivating like the lyrics convey “Run with confidence now, with me Find your soul”. It is clear the speaker is determined to make the object of her affections hers, with the person she likes already drawn to her, the lyrics after all are as compelling as the music itself. 

 

Final Verdict

Above all the album is a wonderful compilation that emphasises both its unique vocal ability and jazzy, smooth musical concept. The group’s transgression from bubblegum pop to mature concepts is evidential in this album and adversely showcases the different member’s singing ability each to their high potential. I would therefore recommend this to all music lovers, whether a K-Pop fan or not, to new listeners to Girls’ Generation and of course dedicated Sones. I would give this album an overall 9/10 and an above all must listen!

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