Song of the Day: Lion Heart (by Girls’ Generation)


Girls Generation Lion Heart.jpg

The latest Song of the Day: K-Pop Edition comes courtesy of the girl group who has helped usher in the worldwide success of the genre beyond just the borders of South Korea and the surrounding region. Girls’ Generation (aka SNSD) has been one of the biggest K-Pop girl groups since they debut in 2007.

Girls’ Generation originally had 9 members, but since 2014 has been promoted as an 8-member group after one of it’s original members, Jessica Jung was removed from the group due to conflicting schedules. Yet, despite this the group never lost a beat and continued to crank out hits after hits.

Their musical style was typical of the K-Pop groups which has been heavily influenced by dancepop and electropop. This made their earlier releases and accompanying music videos to be very high-energy with the bubbly, sugarpop aesthetics of other girl groups of the time.

Things began to evolve with each new album release and while the group still retains their high-energy dance and electropop origins they’ve also added hip-hop and punkpop to their repertoire. They remain cute and accessible, but now with a nice edge to round them out.

This could be seen with their “Lion Heart” release and especially with their msuci video for the song. The song itself has basis on bubblepop with some soul infusion to give it a retro sound. The video itself conveys a 60’s-retro aesthetic mixed with the candy color palette of past K-Pop videos.

And as the image above shows, the video also shows a bit more of the group’s ever present sultry side as choreographer Tony Testa and in-house choreographer Shim Jaewon get the ladies to provocatively get low with their hip sways and rolls.

It’s definitely a nice bit of dance move that’s hypnotic and catches the viewer’s eye. It’s especially surprising in contrast to the glittering, Flapper-style fashion the group wears in the video during the song’s breaks.

Girls’ Generation is one group from the previous generation that I would recommend for those new to the K-Pop scene. While the group itself is now down to 5-members, they still continue to make an impact on the K-Pop music industry and have cemented their legacy as one of the first K-Pop groups break through beyond Korea and the surrounding region and be successful globally.

 

Song of the Day: Be Natural (by Red Velvet)


Red Velvet - Be Natural

My love for music may not be on the same level as my love for film, but it’s up there in terms of the range of types of music that has appealed to my personal taste. Pop music may be a bad word for those who see themselves as gatekeepers of what’s good or bad music, but pop music has always been a major part of music throughout history. One can even say that the music that Mozart wrote a couple hundred years ago was a form of pop music for it’s time.

Even pop music has branched off into different subgenres. Every country which has its own music industry has their own take on what’s pop music. This is why there are such terms as J-pop (Japanese pop music), K-pop (South Korean pop music) and everything else pop in-between.

Fellow site contributor pantsukudasai56 knows all about J-pop (this type of pop music being a major contributor to all things anime), but he also knows that K-pop is right there just waiting in the wings to snatch the unwary with it’s brand of pop music. I am one such unwary music traveler who has fallen to dark side, as pantsukudasai56 has told me.

Yet, while I have begun to appreciate the merits of K-pop and the hard work and creativity which goes into the creation of K-pop groups, albums and music videos, I am still very conscious of which type of K-pop music I’m drawn to. While many K-pop fans love all types, I have been more drawn to K-pop that’s not as sugary and cute. I’ve enjoyed the more mature and different sounding K-pop which draws music influences outside of dance and electronic. Influences that ranges from soulful jazz to Middle-eastern.

One such K-pop group that has become a favorite of mine of recent is the girl group Red Velvet from S.M Entertainment (yes, these groups come out of production companies). They made their debut in 2014 and with each passing year they’ve continued to grow (both creatively and by adding a 5th member to what was a 4-girl team).

Their second single, “Be Natural,” is a departure from their debut single “Happiness.” This second offering is a cover of an earlier song from S.M.E. first girl group (S.E.S.) and is less to do with the catchy, dance pop of their debut single and more in line with the original S.E.S. track that was all soulful jazz with more than just a hint of sensuality dripping through every line of music.

I do love this song and the original it covers. The one part of the song that does break the mood for just a moment is the rap section in the song where the break would typically be. Other than that part the song is a major must-listen and the video itself is sensuality personified. Lisa Marie is probably a better judge on the video’s choreography and fashion style worn by the group’s four member (Irene, Seulgi, Wendy and Joy).

Above is the song without the rap section while below is the official music video. Unfortunately, the music video does still have the rap section instead of just an instrumental break. It would’ve been preferable to have either group member Irene or Seulgi handle the rap section. At least, the tone of the song would’ve kept the sensual nature intact.

Oh, if I have a bias from the group its a toss-up between Irene and Joy with Seulgi being my bias wrecker.