With the release of so-called SNSD’s “Party”, we come to the end of the pre-A Pink K-pop girlapalooza of Summer 2015, and to the formal Korean comeback of the Jessica-less Girls’ Generation. At this milestone, I will offer a few bits of honest, nonvituperative commentary.
On the positive side, I can honestly say that “Party” does succeed in modestly surpassing its current competition on the K-pop charts. With the staggeringly low bar set by Girl’s Day’s shockingly awful “Ring My Bell”, the simple fact that “Party” makes some modest effort to sound like an actual piece of sing-songie music (as opposed to utterly disorganized noise) helps steer it ahead of the present, wretchedly low pack.
That said, “Party” is utterly abysmal. It sounds like album filler from some early 2000s Spice Girls-wannabe Western band. “Party” sounds like SNSD took the Time Machine back to pre-“Gee” days. It’s not just that the song sounds “retro” in an unpromising (ie. “retro” for some time nobody wants to get back to) way; it’s so woefully undercooked it sounds like something some nugu rookie group would release. I mean, seriously. This is “Sound-holic”, not SNSD!
And the video is cheap. Sunny’s hair is a disaster, and I say this as a very lenient critic of Manic Panic hairdos. Why on earth are they recycling Krystal Jung’s 2013 locks on Sunny now? Perversely, it makes Sunny look like Sulli. What is SM Ent thinking?
Letting Valley Girl Tiffany do an Engrish entro is another unforced error. Make me gag, Tiffany: “It must be party time”, my ass. Surely it’s late in the day for Girls’ Generation to use such a cloy, childish device. They’ve been rocking their stylized J-pop electro doll schtick for years now, with real merit (“Flower Power”, “Beep Beep”). Why on earth are they retreading this juvenile style of midtempo happy-crappy like they never became the biggest girl group in Asia? If the notion here somehow is that, by acting like a gaggle of fifteen year-olds, SNSD can make us forget the recent Awfulness Against Jessica Jung, forget it. We know all about you, “Girls’ Generation” (I don’t think they really deserve the title “SNSD”, as you may well infer), and there’s no use pretending. Might as well do “Catch Me If You Can” Part III, with no smiles. That would keep things honest at least.
The dye jobs do few favors– only Sooyoung still looks really pretty here. Yuri still looks okay, and Hyoyeon’s shorter hair isn’t bad. Seohyun, you tire me. Taeyeon, I just think you’re wicked now. All that TTS crap wasn’t enough for you, was it?
All in all, a depressingly bad and shockingly puerile comeback. At least even “Mr Mr” had some superficial sheen to it. If A Pink comes back with another “No No No” or “My My”, I think we may see another “LUV”-scale sweep. But with so many vaunted groups releasing such dispiritingly dreadful music, it’s as if awful summer comebacks are some sort of law this year.
PS: Compare “Party” with the Laboum track “Fantasy” if you want to hear how to do this wannabe-retro thing right. Yes, a mere “filler track” from rookies Laboum blows the (hopefully) last SNSD comeback out of the water. “Last”, because SNSD truly is dead. Everything we loved is gone.