Review: Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – “Galaxy Supernova (Dance Version)” is the Best SNSD Release in Years

group shot galaxy supernova snsd

It may have taken about four years, but Girls’ Generation (SNSD) has finally redeemed themselves for ruining the shirt plus skinny jeans combo with the irritating “Gee” with the much more sexy and rocking “Galaxy Supernova”.

Since 2011,  when SNSD released their fantastic first Japanese album, the group’s Japanese releases have run circles around their Korean ones. The quality of “Let it Rain”, “Bad Girl”, and “Paparazzi” so far outstrip “The Boys” and “I Got a Boy” that it’s hard to believe that they were done by the same group. While there are probably a thousand more complex reasons for this being the case, the most basic one comes down to expectations. In Korea, where the girls hit it big as being pretty and cute and oh so teenage-like, SNSD has struggled to escape their “Gee” like safe spot to an increasingly uncomfortable degree. “I Got a Boy” was manic, but it was also a pretty clear indicator that SM Entertainment was unwilling to let Girls’ Generation grow up in any meaningful way (the group looked exactly like what they were, 24 year olds dressed up as 16 year old brats). Meanwhile, with each Japanese release, SNSD has more or less grown up, while retaining their glamour as pop acts. This becomes crystal clear when watching the music video (dance version) for “Galaxy Supernova”, which updates the “Gee” look with a good J-Pop dance beat and a more mature style that is more fitting for SNSD now than “I Got a Boy” ever had a chance of being.

The song is pretty standard J-Pop electro pop but it’s pleasant enough for what it is. The synths in the beginning have a soft and pleasant key like quality that contrasts nicely with the “harder” beat of the chorus. The electronic hums stay there, but they have a much more staccato flavor to them. The percussion booms in with an aggression which helps balance out the autotuned sweetened voice of SNSD during the verses. The choruses are stupidly addictive, mixing some power singing from SNSD’s better singers with earworm inducing “duh-duh-duh-duh-dooo’s” that was probably invented by some evil genius.  The vocal stylings work for the most part. The autotuning is complementary to the J-Pop techno sheen, so there’s little complaints there as the voices are still mostly distinctive from each other. The only complaint is that no one in SNSD can still rap, so why must rap verses be painfully shoe-horned in? Jessica’s little break line is so bad and sounds like it comes from someone who has no concept of what emotion is, let alone language (and she SPEAKS ENGLISH, which makes her stylistic intonations for it all the more bewildering). Aside from that snafu though? The song is rock solid. The choruses carry the show and SNSD sound like confident pop veterans who know that they can own an arena with their combined powers and the beat provided here. After the short bridge and break, the final chorus is a particularly exhilarating victory lap which feels like a rocket having a successful launch.

Something about rockets being penises and launching hurrrrr.

Insert rockets/lift off dick joke here

As for the video, it’s hard to properly gauge how good a dance version music video is, outside of obviously getting to see more of the choreography. There’s only so many ways to shoot one, and the dance-in-a-box concept is pretty much a given. So, to get it out of the way, the set is nice for a dance set. The entire thing is made of light and color and is appropriately futuristic. The dresses may skew a little sci-fi convention, even for a song titled “Galaxy Supernova”, but they’re fun and sexy enough so that it’s not laughable or distracting. As for the colored skinny jean and top combo… yes, they did it right.

Somewhere, T-Pain and Flo-Rida are crying for joy.

Somewhere, T-Pain and Flo-Rida are crying for joy.

“Gee” got nothing on this.

Thank the Lord for denim.

Thank the Lord for denim.

The choreography is textbook SNSD. It’s fun to watch, has a signature move that is easily imitable when one gets too drunk at a karaoke bar, but is also fairly complex and intricate. There is no other group that can make nine members seem just right for a dance routine. Everyone gets a moment in the spotlight and everyone stays moving (none of that cheating, four members dance while five members stand still bullshit). The miracle of any SNSD choregraphy is that the stage rarely feels crowded when they dance and “Galaxy Supernova” is no exception in that regard.

Did I mention that they look great in them jeans? Because they look great in them jeans.

Oh look, they made "Gee" and "Hoot" obsolete, just like that.

Oh look, they made “Gee” and “Hoot” obsolete, just like that.

SNSD once again has released a Japanese release which is superior to most of their Korean releases from the last four years (their last great Korean single was “Genie” and last great Korean track was “Mistake”). Perhaps travelling to a new country freed SNSD somewhat to explore more grown up concepts. Their stylings in their J-Pop videos have consistently been superior, as the group has been showcased as powerful sexy pop stars, rather than alternating between sexless princesses and Forever 21 models. “Galaxy Supernova” is a wonderful visual and sonic representation of an UPDATED Girls’ Generation, one which has grown up over the past four years since “Gee”. Time will tell if SNSD can break out of it’s disappointing funk in their Korean releases, but if they can keep up their relative hot streak in their J-Pop releases, then not all is lost.

Rating: One small step for SNSD. One giant HNNNNNGGGGGG for mankind.

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9 comments

  1. Fleur De Seoul · · Reply

    I liked the song, but the backgrounds provide little contrast between the girls outfits and the wall. As boring as the white box videos are, they do allow me to keep my eyeballs. They would have done well to stick with monochromatic neutrals (like white, beige, silver) against those backgrounds.

    1. I agree about the background. Plus, those LED walls always fuck up the video compression. Even on HD quality, the video looks shitty.

    2. I like the amount of lights and flashiness if only because it makes the matte denim stand out even more which helps properly highlight zomg butts.

      I agree that a proper HD release that is compressed and uploaded properly would go a long way towards making this easier to watch. But it is a J-Pop release and they hate international exposure for reasons which make no sense, so there’s that.

  2. black soshi · · Reply

    Of course I am partial to SNSD, and after watching the Japan2 tour on Youtube the other night(super lucky, was taken down the next day!), I am starting to get your point Slug. Its as if the Japanese releases free them from some kind of pressure to remain cute and girlie. Being SONE, I love everything that they do, but I’m really getting into the Japanese releases. Animal and Reflection being two of the more “racy” releases. Taeyeon absolutely kills Animal, but I’m sure you already know that. Its as far into J-Pop as I want to go, so I am glad that their releases have a more “adult” vibe to them. Oh! and I think IGAB is the most innovative and coolest song I have ever heard, plus it absolutely SLAMS in the car,so there. As always, thanks for the awesome review. Slug daebak!

    1. IGAB is the most divisive SNSD release in their career. I find it to be a fascinating failure, but I will also say that I tend to like fascinating failures more than middling successes, so rating that one is always hard for me haha. It’s like “IGAB is worse than “Hoot”, but I’d still place IGAB above Hoot”. Then I watch people staring at me blankly while I shuffle out.

      As for the J-Pop stuff, it’s a genre that I generally can’t get that into, but the SNSD stuff is familiar enough to K-Pop ears that I like SNSD’s stuff. I’ll say it again, the first Japanese Album is SNSD’s best work, even excluding all the translated works.

      Anyways, thanks for the compliment black soshi. I’ll take any daebaks any way I can get them haha.

  3. Wonderful review. Check out my lighter review of the single. Also, i’m doing a giveaway of After School’s Heave 🙂

    http://embraceyoumagazine.com/2013/09/08/single-review-galaxy-supernova-by-girls-generation/

    1. Haha thanks Kai! Like your review too.

  4. SNSD might just actually be the best J-pop group around nowadays. Their 1st Japanese album is the beesknees and the second has some excellent work as well; for me “Not Alone” is especially beautiful. Speaking as a reluctant but affection fanboy, I think they’re almost certainly the best idol pop group of any kind, ever, and may well turn out the best girl group of any kind.

    I actually think they *have* grown up in terms of their image however – maybe more so as SJJD than SNSD. To me it feels like SNSD really is the only K-pop group today with a really distinguished, fully realized look to them. I’m fond of some songs and members from A-Pink, T-ara, f(x), Miss-A, 4minute – but none of these groups really put it all together the way SNSD does. None of those groups is going to be SNSD. I think Wonder Girls might have rivaled SNSD once but WG failed to evolve while SNSD have successfully transitioned from a “teenage girl” image to something more ladylike. Every other girl group was spring and early summer whereas SNSD have become the climax of autumn. Look at Seohyun these days, or even more so Sooyoung… That is beauty way beyond “cute fresh young girl” level… That is haunting, auroral beauty… Jessica Jung’s face at some angles is like O_O – totally arresting and maybe supernatural, like a sunrise or something, like Helen of Troy. God created many forms of beauty such as mathematics and kindness but one of the more obvious varieties was surely Jessica…

    To me at least, it seems not altogether unfair to say SNSD have attained a classic status at this point: they aren’t just an example of the “K-pop / idol pop” aesthetic; they’re the archetype. In terms of beauty, personality, music, ultimately I would say in terms of their whole storyline as a celebrity phenomenon, they have no peer. They’re only competing with themselves at this point and although it might be wishful / aspirant for Taeyeon to say SNSD will still be around in 10-20yrs, if any idol poppers manage to pull off that feat who would it be but Girls Generation. They really seem to care about their fans and one another and even if they miss artistically from time to time, they keep evolving. “Baby Maybe” I think is a great example of how diligently they’re trying to lock in a more rhythmic, melodic, and all-around sophisticated sound…

    BTW if you haven’t seen this article you might like it: http://beyondhallyu.com/k-pop/shoujo-jidai-vs-sonyeo-shidae-why-girls-generation-have-so-many-female-fans/ This author also said that SJJD seem to have a more mature image than in Korea; evidently they are targeted more at Japanese females while in SK the main audience are males… I know I for one can see that: I might break a sweat over idol poppers but I never felt what you could call heroine-worship / sincere admiration for an idol except Seohyun, Tiffany… I can’t say I ever sincerely in my fanboy soul wanted to marry or even to meet in person any K-idols besides SNSD members,,, Even if they are not a pillar of radical feminism they do offer something more than eyebrow-raising dance moves and [throatclearthroatclear] of say Girls Day…

    I liked “Galaxy Supernova” as well though I’m not sure it is better than the delicious monsterpiece which is IGAB. Honestly I’m somewhat disappointed that GG would even bother doing a CF for jeans today given their prominence; at first blush I assumed “Galaxy Supernova” was a spot for Samsung phones.

    They’re really as good as it gets… I’m glad in any case they still remain dynamic not just coasting on their considerable laurels… I’d wager they have at least 3-4 years more of good music and good times in them. I hope I can meet them.

    1. I’m obvously not as huge an SNSD fan as you, but at least we can all agree that Jessica Jung is a very pretty lady.

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