Reviewing the newest Girls Generation album entitled “Forever 1” after a six year hiatus. PHOTO CREDIT: kprofiles.com
Girls’ Generation is one of the most iconic and influential groups in all of K-Pop. Being a second generation K-Pop group and still being hugely popular and relevant today is really major.
K-Pop is split into generations, and we are currently in the fourth generation of it. First generation K-pop was from 1997-2002, second generation was from 2003–2011, third generation was from 2012–2017 and fourth generation was 2018-present.
Girl’s Generation has two names actually, their Korean band name being SNSD or Sonyeo Sidae, written as So-nyuh Shi-dae (Korean: 소녀시대). The translation of their Korean name is “Generation of Girls,” hence their English name is Girls’ Generation. Due to their numerous accolades and major popularity, they were also given the honorific nickname “The Nation’s Girl Group.”
The group debuted under SM Entertainment on August 5, 2007 with their single “Into The New World” from their self-titled debut album “Girls’ Generation.” The eight members of this group are Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona and Seohyun. Originally, the group debuted with nine members, but the ninth member and second main vocalist Jessica left the group in September of 2014.
There are many speculations as to why Jessica left, and fans have different stories. However, the one that everyone has heard is that she was dismissed by SM from the band due to establishing a fashion brand called Blanc & Eclare. It was alleged that she was letting her business activities conflict with her schedules in the band.
That being said, Girls’ Generation was SM’s first nine member girl group, which made them very unique back when they debuted. No K-Pop group until Girls’ Generation had more than three or five members, so the idea of nine members was bizarre to the South Korean community. Fun fact, they were the first group to have photocards, pictures of each member individually, which I have a collection of from about 6 different bands.
I still love Jessica and support her because she was one of the original members and provided amazing vocals and iconic lines during her time in the group. In fact, this group made my love for K-Pop grow even more.
I remember seeing them on the “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Jan. 31, 2012 perform their English single “The Boys.” I didn’t think much of it then, but I really enjoyed watching their performance and was captivated by all of them and their dancing and singing. I was especially impressed and drawn to Hyoyeon, the main dancer and rapper, who is my bias or favorite in the group.
Years later, in 2020, I dove deep into the rabbit hole of K-Pop and among the many bands I have found and became a fan of, I remembered Girls’ Generation and listened to all of their music that they’ve released over the years as a group and solo work.
On August 5, 2022, after being apart for five years since their last comeback in 2017, they released their seventh album and titled track “Forever 1.” This date marked their 15th anniversary and it was so special to me and all of their local fans called Sones.
The fact that all eight members came together and released not just an EP or a single, but a full 10 song album was so crazy and cool to me because they really put in so much effort in their work for their fans.
“Forever 1” is the title track and it is such an energetic song with a really fun and catchy dance. The meaning behind the song through the lyrics is how they as a band and their fans will always be forever one; no matter how long they may be gone for or where they are in the world. That also translates with their fanbase “Sones” which the meaning of that is (소원 (SoWun)), pronounced “So One,” that Girls’ Generation will always be one with their fans. I really loved this song and the music video for it because of how pretty and aesthetically pleasing it was.
“Lucky Like That” had a similar sound and vibe to “Forever 1” and also had a similar message as it as well. It was really energetic and fun to listen to, and I really enjoyed Taeyeon and Tiffany’s powerful vocals. Taeyeon, the main vocalist and leader, is one of the most powerful vocalists in all of K-Pop, and she never fails to disappoint the fans.
“Villain” was my favorite song from the album and it was also written by Sooyoung and Tiffany. The beat and tempo of the song were just so awesome, it felt like it should be in a superhero or spy movie. I especially loved Hyoyeon and Yoona’s rap verses and how they both had some raspiness in their voices.
“Seventeen” and “You Better Run” were both mid-paced songs that I really enjoyed listening to. I really loved Hyoyeon’s rap in “Seventeen” because of how smooth her flow was and how her voice has a little raspiness to it like I said before. Taeyeon and Tiffany screaming “devil” in “You Better Run” made the song so much fun to listen to and so iconic.
“Closer,” “Mood Lamp,” “Summer Night,” “Freedom” and “Paper Plane” were the slow songs on this album that were so sweet and so soothing. All of their voices are so angelic and beautiful. I said this before, but SM Entertainment knows how to pick vocalists, and every idol under SM can sing like nobody’s business. So, their vocals on each song were all so great and so perfect that I truly cannot pick a favorite line or part from one.
Girls’ Generation has everything you could possibly want in a K-Pop group. They’re funny, sweet and so talented. I believe that Girls’ Generation are the true queens of K-Pop being that they are the ones that started so many trends that make the K-Pop community what it is.