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[Review] [Album] SNSD – ‘I Got a Boy’

2013_snsd_i got a boy

written by: McRoth

Sensible comebacks and SM Entertainment are two things that don’t mix very well, and this couldn’t be more true with SNSD‘s 2013 lead single, “I Got a Boy.” A song that sounds more like seven, SNSD’s “I Got a Boy” is dying to be considered edgy, and to an extent it sort of achieves its goal. It explodes four different ways, with four leagues of semi-hooks, semi-choruses, and semi-styles all touching on varying degrees of hip-pop (the idea actually sounds really cool). SM Entertainment loves to experiment with music like this, and they’ve definitely pushed the idea of blending songs way overboard here as the seams of “I Got a Boy” couldn’t be any more loose. But this looseness comes at a price: a incongruous, confused listening experience for all, listenability for none.

“I Got a Boy” isn’t so much complex (the positive connotation of the word “complexity” does not work here) as it is messy. Like I said on twitter, one of many of this song’s weaknesses is its poor combination of segments. The song itself feels incomplete and the relationship between each separate segment is at times so disjointed, that any drop of uniqueness that may be hidden in “I Got a Boy” is lost. Which is an unfortunate shame, because there is a lot of interesting pop elements unheard on SNSD that have so much potential to be fulfilled to greater extents elsewhere – like the Major electronic/world music leading theme – and be executed to perfection. And yet, “I Got a Boy” satisfies none of that. Worse yet, the album itself carries none of the lead single’s bravery and cowers into unmemorable commonality.

Some tracks are nice to listen to, like “Baby Maybe“, a harp-driven frilly pop mid-tempo that drops SNSD into one of their most melodic performances yet. SNSD do softness really well and this is yet another example of how beautiful they can sound when they revisit this angle. “XYZ” channels the simple euro electro-pop route that never fails anyone (think: Pet Shop Boys).

But it’s the larger bulk of the album that fails to tinker with the unorthodox aspects that the lead single (and SM Entertainment as a whole) wants to establish. “Dancing Queen” treats Duffy‘s spirited “Mercy” of 2008 much like Kidz Bop treats every pop single they cover – with little respect or musical integrity for the original work. I despise when K-Pop covers music like this, not because it sounds bad but because it’s frustrating when great things could have happened, and end up being missed opportunities instead.

Talk Talk” and “Promise” are even less imaginative, with excruciatingly dull pop arrangements that leave little to no impression whatsoever. “Look at Me” is the closest to a thrill you’ll hear on ‘I Got a Boy,’ but that’s not saying much, as it’s still a track that is as much a filler as the rest of the album.

And I think that’s the big offense here. ‘I Got a Boy’ is avant garde on the surface, with a biting lead single that is at best experimental, and a litter of songs that reflect absolutely none of that. If at the very least the album was as adventurous and vivid as the album’s cover art, forgiveness for the poor execution would have come a lot easier. After all, a complete risk in music has proven far more exciting to experience than a confusing one.

==

Scorecard

I Got a Boy
.5
Dancing Queen
.5
Baby Maybe
.75
Talk Talk
0
Promise
0
Express 999
.75
Lost In Love
.5
 Points scale
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
Look at Me
.5
XYZ
.75
Romantic St.
.75
Total Points
5

Points to stars conversion: [(5/10) x 5] + 0.25*

2.75/5

-
*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.

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38 thoughts on “[Review] [Album] SNSD – ‘I Got a Boy’

  1. Just release and already review…know someone who wouldn’t have any comment like “When will you review I Got A boy?”
    I can’t comment on the only album, but I must say that I Got A Boy just sound awful, to me there is nothing really interesting in it. If SM was planning to make a Korean comeback with that song, I think they should a leave the girls in Japan, where they have some kind of success.

  2. I haven’t listened to the rest of the album but I totally agree with you on I Got A Boy. I wish they’d gone with one of the 4-5 versions that are present in the track, because it would’ve ended up being a really good song. There are a few really good alternate fan made versions floating around already that stick with one style and end up sounding way better than the original.

    At least with Shinee’s Sherlock SM only combined 2 songs into one that didnt sound crazy. If they’d stuck with 1 sound or even 2, this could’ve ended up being their most popular song yet.

  3. I like a couple of the songs on the album but “I Got A Boy” definitely isn’t one of them.”Baby Maybe” is probably my favorite.

  4. I’m enjoying I Got A Boy as a medley preview of a really interesting SNSD album. So there you have it – the best way to enjoy the song is to set yourself up for disappointment down the road.

    • lol someone tweeted me saying that it sounds better as a reel than a song, which is as accurate a description as they come. The album itself is as disappointing, though, but in very different ways, which is a shame.

  5. I had high hopes on I Got A Boy after listening to the teaser audio, it really sounds good in there.
    But when the full song is out, i was like what was that?! I think the song is really confusing for listeners. It gives headaches.

    And if you gotta listen to a song MANY times to like it, then it’s not a good song. BUT then again, cos it’s Girls’ Generation, the song will get #1 anyway.

    • I’m one of the very few people who couldn’t care less about charting. Like, the logic that a song’s popularity should define musical quality is criminally incorrect to me.

  6. “I Got A Boy” was really bad. Like you and others have said so far, it sounds like a bunch of different tunes mashed up into one giant, confusing song. It wouldn’t be so bad if the “I got a boy meotjin! I got a boy chakhan!” part had a bigger role in the whole song. IGAB is probably SNSD’s worst title track, with “The Boys” coming in second.

    I enjoyed listening to “Romantic Street”. It’s nice have sweeter and more relaxed songs from SNSD. I’d rather hear them singing than rapping any day of the week. “Express 999″ was also a great track. Sounded kind of like a 90s’ song but I’m not complaining. It’s definitely my favorite song from the entire album.

    It’s sad how disappointing this album is, but not surprising. Thoguh there were a few nice songs from ‘I Got A Boy’, it’s apparent that he quality of SNSD’s music has kind of declined after their “Genie” era. Still, the album isn’t completely horrible so I still have some hope for SNSD’s future song releases.

  7. Honestly I was also disappointed with “I Got A Boy”. After watching the teasers I didn’t think the song would be that chaotic. I watched an english subbed version of the MV and I kind of understood what they were going for in regards to the continuous transitions of music styles throughout the song (it’s because they switch point of views), but personally I only liked certain parts of the song and not the entire thing as a whole.
    However, I’m liking their image concept and choreography this time around, it’s pretty cool.

    • Like many, I like the visual concept and choreography. It makes up for what my ears have to listen to, but it still is not nearly enough justice for the song’s misgivings :x

  8. I’m not a fan of GG (I love Hyoyeon, though) but I’m anticipating their comeback since it’s the first in 2013, and this is all I’ve got?

    Seriously, one thing that I like in their single is their choreography. The chorus is acceptable as it is the only part that I like to hear from the whole song. How I wish they’d given Hyoyeon more parts since it’s her forte or something. And I hate that they’re getting into hip-hop and they couldn’t pull it off well. I still can’t believe that they allowed themselves to sing this kind of song. Now I’m waiting for 2NE1 and Exo’s comeback to cheer up my 2013.

  9. “Dancing Queen” isn’t a cover. It was recorded in 08 around the same time duffy recorded it. She obviously ended up getting the rights to the song and so they just kept it in the SM vault

    • Yeah … no. I think you’re thinking about the music video, because as JJ has mentioned, Duffy co-wrote the song in 07 and released it as a single in 08. When GG actually covered the song is unclear (Wikipedia says the girls covered it in ’09). Either way, it is a cover.

  10. I was afraid of this. Damn, you are right in a lot of points. But I have to disagree with a couple of songs. Promise is not that bad! Probably because I love their RnB ballads, no matter what.. Hahaha And Yet I agree with ur other scores. I mean, I got a Boy was a risk, and even thought I wanted to Love it (because the idea isn’t bad), its just too messy for my ears. But is not so far from the chaos that Music worldwide is doing right now.. (USA Artist come out with some shit and they earn a grammy so..) But as always they lack something SMent hasn’t quite understand yet.. COHESION. C’mon guys.. I just expect they keep ‘experimenting’ like this.. something GREAT could come out right? btw: Nice work dude :) aaaand.. FELIZ AÑO NUEVO! Hahaha

  11. This album is such a disappointment. The few things that get you excited end up being a total let down. Express 999 sounds so good at the beginning, but then it hits the chorus and I’m left going “what happened ?”. That’s the theme for this entire album to me. Bits and pieces of songs sound decent but the whole thing is just underwhelming. I’m just gonna go listen to their Japanese material and pretend this didn’t happen.

  12. Honestly I thought the vocals was good and the rapping was pretty decent. I think maybe F(x) should of given this song a try more then SNSD since they have Amber who’s the rapper in the group. When I listened to “I got a boy” on New Years I was more then shocked because it sounds a lot different then I expect it to be. Again, I thought this would of worked more on another group like F(x) I’m not a SONE and I usually love any SNSD songs, but this time I was disappointed. Good Luck SNSD.

  13. I really liked the fact that they took the risk to take one this song and the concept was interesting. At first I was like, “WTF is this? WTFWTFWTWFWTWFWTF.” But then I guess since it was so different to my tofu brain, I started listening to it over and over, and since my brain doesn’t “get” it, it becomes addictive. It’s messy, but interesting — at least to me. If they had made the transitions a bit better, I’m sure it would’ve been more enjoyable.

    I think the only reason SM took this risk was because it’s Girls’ Generation. They have a stable fan base that would buy the song even if the general population hated it. There’s like no chance that anything SNSD would flop on the charts…at least anytime soon.

    From the album, my favorite was probably “Baby Maybe”, “Romantic Street”, and “Express 999″. For some odd reason, I enjoyed “Lost In Love” as well. The rest of the songs were okay, but not very memorable. I can’t stand “Dancing Queen” though. -_- No idea why.
    I was looking forward to their comeback but I must say that I’m slightly disappointed.

    Although “I Got A Boy” is very addictive, it has no consistency and was poorly executed. They should have gave the individual songs like they did with Clue+Note from Shinee. At least it was better than “The Boys”.

    *Le Sigh* I guess l’ll go sulk in the corner and hopefully SNSD will have a better comeback next time. Now I’m just waiting for Apink’s comeback.

    Sorry for rambling.

  14. If you listen to “SNSD – I Got A Boy (Remake)” on youtube this is what the song should have sounded, ever since listening to this I haven’t bothered to listen or look back at the original. Quite impressive youtubers haha.

  15. how could u rating 0 for PROMISE? that song is good! u should listen again all the tracks and im sure u will re-rate again.

  16. Haha guess what critics, the video just set a record for having 10 million views in the least time.. This song is made to be listen LIVE.. When u listen u live, trust me ur hair will stand and ur balls will shrink.. That’s how awesome a live performance of it will sound

    • Disagree in the implication that views/popularity equates to musical quality, but I do agree that this song works better in a live setting, as it is, by definition, a potpourri.

  17. Pretty much agreed with these words “when great things could have happened, and end up being missed opportunities instead.”
    K-pop musics are often just repeat same patters which is like drugs.
    Lack of imagination.

    • i’m trying to watch the video and listen to the music twice. unfortunately, i can’t finish it. it’s too horrible. i can’t stop thinking is this the same snsd who sing genie? sorry guys, this might be the biggest dissapointment comeback.

  18. Pingback: Girls’ Generation: I Got a Boy – Track-by-Track Review | I Tend to Babble

  19. Wow,seing all ur comments guys,it hurts,coz i actually love the song since the 1st time i heard it,im not a sone,i love yuri though but the theme change 4 the girls match the song,8s not the snsd that weve seen and i think they pull 8 off..999 is the only song from d album thats weird,..hai,anyway,i hope they will still mke a comeback song that would appeal to the majority!

  20. Without SNSD’s silly 15-years clothes NyNy’s version is more focused and keep a balance between dancing and song better which lifts the songs quite a bit. The GG’s social capacity shown in talkshows and internal social gatherings contrast a bit too much to the almost handikapped role they have to play in I got a boy.

  21. Arriving late to the party because I just found your review site (Which I love, lol). I completely agree with your thoughts on IGB. I really like the song, but I know it could have been so much better.

    Also, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think it would have been better with f(x). The groups concept, in a way, matches the experimental sound that f(x) is sort of known for. Plus, the raps would have sounded a tad less cuter with Amber in the mix. I cringe every time I hear SNSD rapping.

    • lol welcome, and thanks for the love!

      This song would have maybe worked with f(x), but the song itself is so incoherent and overall not great, that I would prefer it not go to anyone.

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