Whether it was their intention or not, Girls’ Generation (SNSD) has saved their best summer MV for last. After starting things off with the wet paper bag that is “Party” and the solid, if non-essential “Lion Heart,” SNSD proves with “You Think” that third time’s the charm.
“You Think” has to be one of SNSD’s most complete efforts in years. The production is an utter banger, with bass and percussive beats dominating the affair with some brass sounds thrown in for a small funk influence. The sheer volume of the music is smartly counterbalanced by the track’s relative restraint when it comes to production tricks. There is nothing superfluous in “You Think.” The vocal performances are divided among the members in expected ways (Taeyeon, Tiffany, Seohyun and Sunny handle the more demanding parts) but it’s difficult to argue with the results as the song propels from verse to chorus with a dogged determination that is impressive for the aural equivalent of a three minute sprint. The verses ooze an all-encompassing swagger that the bass makes damn near claustrophobic (I half expected Sunny to start breaking set pieces in half midway through the track). The choruses wisely don’t try to overwhelm the listener with too many “ooohs” or “ahhhs” and they almost act as resting points for the other elements of the song. Even the obligatory rap break, something that SNSD has not had much success with in the past, is handled particularly well by Sooyoung and Hyoyeon. Simply put, there’s not a wasted moment or opportunity here. “You Think” is a lean, mean fighting machine.
As for the video, at this point, one could probably just run a copy+paste algorithm for SNSD videos and it would probably be at least 75% accurate. Dance-in-a-box? Check. Well-lit to the point of being almost too-bright? Check. Nice and clear choreography that does a better job of making use of eight members than most groups do with half that number? Check. Slickly edited without being disorienting? Check (thankfully). However, there are a few things that stand out about “You Think.”
The grit and glamour concept is fine in theory but (as a personal preference) the “glamour” parts of “You Think” are simply not as interesting as their grittier counterparts. Part of this is probably due to the fact that the group doesn’t really do any choreo shots in the glamour shots, leaving the members to make the most of “sit or stand and look pretty.” Part of it is that the Pepto-Bismol glitzy pink aesthetic is something that the group had already overused in “I Got a Boy” and “Mr. Mr.” (We get it, SNSD’s color is pink).
On the flip side, the grittier, blue-lit parts kick so much ass that they’re all that anyone’s going to remember anyways. The choreography look like they should be fairly strong and every member does a fantastic job conveying a fearless confidence that perfectly complements the beat. Also, Yuri.
When the only real flaw in a music video is a secondary set piece, you know you have a winning music video on your hands and “You Think” is a winner. The song has no discernible weak spots and it flies by at a pace that begs for replays. The video matches the song’s energy beat for beat and SNSD convey badassery so well that it’s difficult to believe that this is the same group that also released the numbing “Party.” If this is how SNSD chooses to close out their summer, they’re doing so on a high note.