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.
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.
“Gee” got nothing on this.
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.
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.