Review: SNSD – “Party” Is Not Saving The Summer

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Girls’ Generation is taking a rather aggressive path with their comeback by releasing three music videos this month. While that could be considered a good thing because more Taeyeon and more Yuri is hardly ever a negative, the unfortunate side effect of releasing that many videos within such a short time span is that you predictably end up with videos like “Party,” a boilerplate summer song with an even blander concept and execution.

“Party” starts off strong with a jaunty bass, funky snare line and a bubble-gum pop autotuned Seohyun. Members trade off verse lines and the beat does a fairly good job of building to the chorus and then… the song flat lines.  The chorus frustratingly breezes by in a lackadaisical fashion that doesn’t help “Party” hold interest. The lack of contrast between verses and choruses, when combined with how the members of SNSD themselves never verge from the same peppy delivery, makes “Party” a dull experience about halfway through the song, once it becomes apparent that the song has very few tricks up its sleeve.  “Party” may work as a filler track but it does little to justify the music video treatment.

Nice looking filler I guess.

Nice looking filler I guess.

Yet, as ho-hum as “Party” is, the video may be worse. “Party” isn’t bad in a train-wreck sort of way. One can watch it and follow what’s going on. The shots are clear, the beach is gorgeous and the members look great in the water. However, one can’t escape the borderline blatant lack of thought that went into “Party.” For a video that seems to center around a vacation to Thailand, there’s basically nothing that screams “THAILAND” in the video itself. The beach location is stunning but the decision to also include the disco-dance-hall-pool-room is a poor one and the bubble text and pop art flair that litters the video only makes the whole thing look cheap. Even the beach aspects of the video that “Party” nails (the bright blue day shots and the sunset shots that are bizarrely barely used at all) are partly hurt by the fact that it looks like SNSD spent the entire time at one undisclosed, completely unpopulated location. There are hints of a decent music video in here but there’s no escaping the fact that the final product is the equivalent of sleepwalking through the summer.

These dusk shots are so great and it's a shame this is pretty much all of them.

These dusk shots are so great and it’s a shame this is pretty much all of them.

The good news is that there’s still two more Girls’ Generation music videos to go this month which means that there’s a chance that SNSD has something better than “Party” up their sleeves in the coming days. I would say that the prospect of two more videos makes it easier to forget such a blase effort but “Party” does a damn good job of being forgettable on its own.

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19 comments

  1. I wonder what other disappointments are on the album if this was considered good enough to warrant producing a video and making it their lead single after nearly a year and a half away. I don’t fault the members. I fault their company not finding them better material. The group really needed to reinvent itself or release something that really wowed people, but appears to have just played it safe and boring. If this wasn’t SNSD this would likely be a non-contender on the music shows for a week or two until the company pulled the plug on a still-born release.

    Is it me or does it seem like the K-pop industry has run out of gas in the last 6 months or so. There has been little coming out that has topped or even matched prior hits and even in an industry known for often having indistinguishable hits the spring and summer have seemed particularly bad. Just about every heavy hitter group that has released in the last few months has dropped something truly underwhelming. It seems a lot of groups are getting their all-kills simply because they are established groups with large followings who have many fans that would buy anything if it has their group’s name on it. That or they are doing well with a song simply because there isn’t anything better. It’s like a sandwich contest where 19 submissions were Vegemite on wheat and one was peanut butter and jelly on white and peanut butter and jelly wins, but only because something better didn’t show up like Hot pastrami and swiss on rye. I’ve been really disappointed in what has come out this summer so far.

  2. Jeez guys, it’s not that bad. It’s summer fluff. I’d put it just a hair behind AoA and ahead of Sistar, Girl’s Day, and 9Muses recent releases. Check is much better, but Party is just fine by me. It’s got a nice beat, the vocals are good and pretty spread around, and they look like the queens that they are.

    1. I’ll put it like this, if this wasn’t by SNSD, I probably wouldn’t have even reviewed it.

      1. Kpoptartsarebestpoptarts · ·

        Well maybe you’re starting to take yourself a bit too seriously then. Remember, this is girly pop music aimed at pre-teen and young teen girls. It’s not for us, but for various reasons we find it compelling. But let’s not lose sight of what it really is.

        More to your point: would I like this if it wasn’t them? Maybe not. But it is them. So I do like it. For me watching a new GG MV is like catching up with old friends. They were my introduction to Kpop back when The Boys was released, and I was obsessed with them for months before I even realized that other Kpop groups existed. Now that was several years ago, so I’m not the same rabid fanboi I once was. I’ve actually not been a big fan of most of new stuff they’ve put out over the last few years other then Mr. Mr. and My Oh My. So it’s not like I think they can do no wrong. But this song and MV met my expectations. Were those expectations too low? Maybe. But as I said, this release is summer fluff in a genre that you could say is all fluff. So it’s extra fluffy. Or something. Anyway, I remain one of your biggest fans, so please don’t take my silly ramblings to mean that I think you should be doing anything differently.

      2. Thanks! Yeah, I got into K-Pop around the same time as you then. I know that I’m not the target audience for this stuff but all I can do is view it and give an opinion on it, regardless of who or what the target audience is.

    2. Hate to say it but it’s extremely mediocre for any K-Pop summer song, not just from SNSD. My expectations for “summer fluff” are set by the likes of Loving U (Sistar), Bubble Pop (Hyuna), Bikini (T-ara & Davichi), Is It Poppin? (4Minute), I Love You (2NE1), and even silly but still enjoyable songs like Please Tell Me (Girl’s Day), Bar Bar Bar (Crayon Pop) and Rice Cake Shaved Ice (Akdong Musician).
      So yeah, maybe we should temper our expectations a tad, but summer songs don’t need to sound like fillers either.

  3. Fun fact: the MV was shot at the Jasmine & Tea House resort in Koh Samui/Thailand, during the June low season. I happened to be in Koh Samui in June and can attest that the beach is nowhere as pristine white, nor the water as bright blue as what you see in the video (you still need places like Maldives for that).
    Here’s a more realistic picture of the same location they were filming, taken from the resort website:

    That said, Koh Samui does have some very decent white sand beaches such as Chaweng and Choeng Mon where I stayed. Koh Tao (nearby island) was also nice but overrun with tourists and is unfortunately currently in the news for the wrong reasons.

    1. Huh good to know. I kinda wish that they hadn’t sterilized the beach shot so much as it made it lose all character and it ended up looking like “Studio Lot Beach A” or whatever.

  4. Why “Party” is the tile?

  5. Victor Delacroix · · Reply

    What I liked most about this video is that they finally let them wear swimsuits that real people who look like this swim in, rather than the whole shorts-and-a-t-shirt combination idols are usually made to wear.

    1. JaySee · · Reply

      You’ve never been to Korea, obviously.

  6. rohaniyerdxb · · Reply

    This song was the opposite of “Ring Ma Bell” and thus should have been awesome. However it was still bad. Can no one make a balanced and catchy track?

    The girls look damn flawless though. Taeyeon forever.

    1. rohaniyerdxb · · Reply

      It does feel like a precious Waifu Wednesday slot was wasted on this.

  7. I remember a time when these girls had good songs.

  8. I agree, so disappointing. I could not think of a more bland and vapid concept than “Party”. Holy cow. “Party on the beach!”, “Girls in bikinis”…so cliche. What was their production company thinking? Their album “I Got A Boy” from a few years ago was quite good so to see them fall back to this kind of crap is sad. Well, they have had a very good run regardless. Time for Taeyeon and So-hyun to start thinking about their solo careers.

    1. Well Taeyeon is rumored to have a solo release coming finally though recent moves by SM with a lackluster TTS release and now this don’t give me a lot of confidence that Taeyeon’s solo release will be a tour d’force. Of course this may never come to be as the rumor has been out there quite a while and Taeyeon has never seemed to push to do a solo release. SM will likely play it safe with a ballad as a single and maybe a couple ballads on an EP that doesn’t really stand out, but will do well mostly due to her popularity.

      What I would like to see more of from Taeyeon is something like when she covered the Pussycat Dolls’ “Hush, Hush.” Also there was an intro she did several times to Run Devil Run that really rocked that made me think it would be fun to see her do something in the rock genre instead of just pop. Maybe a collab with L’Arc En Ciel or Nell for a track. When I saw footage of Taeyeon doing this it gave me “Deathnote” vibes with her looking a bit like Ryuk.

      The thing is that Taeyeon really pours herself into songs emotionally, so I would love to see her do something with some edge to it and not just something saccharin and pop-ish. I wonder how she would do belting out some classic Heart, Joan Jett, or Pat Benetar for instance. I can see her singing a song like “Hell is for Children” or “You Better Run” and really pouring herself into where after a set she has to be carried off the stage as she is just spent.

      I don’t know if we will ever see Seohyun do a solo release. Solo releases generally aren’t SM’s thing or at least they haven’t been until recently as they have a glut of artists in long time veteran groups and especially with the guys have to start positioning for the career interruptions of military service impacting the groups’ ability to perform without key members. Seohyun has come a long way with her stage presence and confidence thanks in part to TTS and her stints in the starring role of a couple stage musicals, but whether she is up for a solo release and promotion I am not sure. The fact that Seohyun has never even done an OST solo despite having one of the better voices in SNSD would point to it being unlikely that she would do a solo turn.

  9. I was really looking forward for this comeback… 😦

  10. charliexx · · Reply

    Why all the hate? It is SNSD after all. I think the concept this time was pretty good, with YoonA going blonde and all (oh my GAWD). The girls have had so many concepts, ranging from cute and adorable (Gee, anyone?), a little more masculine (Mr. Mr.), sexy (Run Devil Run/Hoot) and much more. This is a kind of refreshing, carefree concept that displays their youth yet maturity at the same time. Party may not be one of their best songs, but hey, it’s still catchy, and the members look FAB. (Bikini + Yuri = me drooling) Which is what SNSD is all about anyway. The fluff, the aegyo, the freakish good looks. Yep, totally SNSD.

  11. Really bummed about this comeback too. Well, hoping the next release is better.

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