The “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” single marks a turning point for Girls’ Generation, as it is the first original Japanese single. With the two Japanese singles preceding them being remakes of Korean songs (“GENIE” and “Gee”, of course), fans eagerly anticipated the release of “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” to see what the girls’ first major original entry into the Japanese market would sound like. Does “MR. TAXI” live up to the strong legacy of their previous Korean hits? Is the Japanese remake of “Run Devil Run” an enjoyable fresh take on the Korean original? Does the quality of the packaging and the included extras make the purchase of a Deluxe or Limited Edition worth the money? Let’s dive in, shall we?

First, let’s start off with the “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” albums:


Both the Deluxe and Limited Editions of “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” use group concept photos from “Run Devil Run” rather than “MR. TAXI”. Instead of seeing the girls in their bright yellow taxi jumpsuits or leather Tron-esque outfits, they are shown wearing the two variations of black outfits seen in the Japanese “Run Devil Run” MV. The strong black-on-black color scheme seems to suggest that ‘Run Devil Run’ is the title track, and the only elements that represent ‘MR. TAXI’ on the covers are the car that the girls stand in front of and the sign off that reads “Taxi Stop”. Part of me wished they had gone fully with the “MR. TAXI” visual concept to play up the fact that it is their first original Japanese single. If they had gone with a cover of the same dark backgrounds but with the bright yellow outfits, I imagine that it would have had a lot more visual pop.

The front and back of the Deluxe Edition.

The front and back of the Limited Edition.

Once the singles are opened, a photobook and DVD are found along with the single itself. The Deluxe Edition DVD contains both the original and dance versions of the Japanese “Run Devil Run’ MV, while the Limited Edition DVD has only the original version. The included built-in photobook for the Deluxe Edition features 14 pages of pictures of the girls as well as 2 pages with lyrics for the two songs. The Limited Edition’s photobook can be pulled out of the case (instruction manual style) and likewise contains 14 pages of photos and 2 pages of lyrics, though the photos inside are different from those in the Deluxe Edition. A strange and contradictory feeling is felt when looking at the photos inside, similar to that of the covers. While the biggest significance of the single is the original nature of “MR. TAXI”, the outfits worn by the girls in the photos are all from the Japanese “Run Devil Run” MV. The girls all look beautiful and radiate a strong presence that reflects the concept of “Run Devil Run”. But again, there’s a slight feeling of disappointment that the packaging of the single itself did not utilize the “MR. TAXI” visual concept.

The inside of the Deluxe Edition.

The inside of the Limited Edition.

Moving on to the songs themselves, “MR. TAXI” has a heavy beat and a more electronic sound than most of Girls’ Generation’s previous songs. While there is auto-tune sprinkled in throughout various parts of the song, even the purist in me is able to stomach it and feels that the relatively light touch works well within the overall feel of the song. Despite the occasional strange lyrics (“supersonic and hypertonic”, for example) and the same Girls’ Generation formula of repeating certain words/phrases multiple times (in this case, “Mr. Taxi Taxi Taxi”), there’s an addictive quality to the song that takes what could normally be viewed in a negative light and turning it into something strong and positive. Taeyeon’s intro of “Tokyo, Seoul, London, New York” and the powerful drums that lead into the chorus and dance break are particularly enjoyable highlights for me, with perhaps my favorite part of the song being when the music breaks down and Yuri starts off her slower-paced solo.

The Japanese “Run Devil Run” is yet another example of personal preferences and habits trumping all. For those who view remakes independently of originals, the Japanese “Run Devil Run” is an excellent song that features a strong beat and vocals filled with a distinct attitude. For those who can’t think about a remake without comparing it to the original, it’s a good song, but not one that is likely to replace the Korean version. It’s not a matter of one version being inferior to the other, but simply a matter of personal taste. I’m the type of person who almost always prefers the original, because it leaves a distinct impression on me that it’s the “true version”. There are certainly elements of the Japanese “Run Devil Run” that I like, such as Hyoyeon’s strong punchy delivery of her line at the end of the first verse. But in my mind, the Japanese ‘Run Devil Run’ is good, but I won’t ever be able to stop saying that it just isn’t the original.

While I wish that the physical packaging fully embraced the “MR. TAXI” visual concept, there’s precious little to be found wrong with Girls’ Generation’s first original Japanese single. It’s a strong entry into the Japanese market, and it’s an exciting start that has me eagerly awaiting for even more original Japanese songs from the girls.

Packaging Rating: 6/9
Songs Rating: 8.5/9
Overall Rating: 7/9


The regular edition of the “MR. TAXI” single comes in a standard clear CD case. The album jacket is one sheet folded into three segments. On the inside of the jacket are the lyrics of the two songs along with the credits. On the other side, one fold is the CD cover, and the other two have pictures of our girls. The cover is the same as in the limited edition single, just smaller. Other pictures in the jacket are a subset of the ones in the limited edition one, with four pictures cropped in such a way that it fits two per segment. The scene depicted on the cover makes me think of taxi stop in a country like England. Though I have not been to England myself, the cover just has a English feel to it with the the type of car the girls are modeling with and the style of the fence and lamppost that are shown. Looking over the expression each girl has, most of them have me sold on that they are waiting or looking for a taxi, except for Tiffany and Hyoyeon. The way Tiffany has her leg up like that just seems a bit too much and her overall pose doesn’t feel like she is waiting for a taxi. Hyoyeon’s pose is a bit better but the way her head is looking to the right doesn’t look right. The other pictures of the girls show off their modeling ability and everyone looks beautiful. Between the four pictures, each girl is featured once. Overall the cover is simple and carries the theme of the featured single, showing the girls in a mature and beautiful fashion, and it works well in my opinion.

Front of “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” regular edition.

Back of “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” regular edition.

Inside “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” regular edition.

“MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” regular edition lyrics sheet.

“MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” regular edition pictures.

The single contains two songs, the new “MR. TAXI” and “Run Devil Run” (RDR) where “MR. TAXI” is a new song and “RDR” is the same as the Korean version with Japanese lyrics. I found “MR. TAXI” to be a upbeat song that I enjoy quite a bit. It is just a pleasant song to listen to while commuting and while at work. As is common with most J-Pop songs nowadays, there are a number of English words thrown into the lyrics, and the ones that seem to stand out for me were “supersonic” and “hypertonic”. The words don’t really affect how the song is delivered, though it makes me wonder if it would have been possible to use Japanese words instead. Maybe it is because I’m Sunny-biased, but her vocal really stood out for me, with a higher pitch than the other girls. This one is definitely going onto my main playlist.

The Korean version of “Run Devil Run” was released over a year ago, and the Japanese version was first released digitally close to half a year ago. Even though only the lyrics have changed I find that the Japanese version gives off a less aggressive feeling. For someone that hardly know any Korean or Japanese, I have to say I like the Korean version more. Maybe this is just in my head, but the lyrics don’t seem to fit as well with the music, or it could be just me being too used to how the song sounds in Korean. Whatever it is, the girls did a nice job with it, it’s just that it’s not as refined or polished as “MR. TAXI” or their previous Korean songs.

Packaging Rating: 6/9, its the regular edition, it serves its purpose.
Songs Rating: 8/9
Overall Rating: 7/9


And now, let’s move on to the MVs:


Run Devil Run
It’s inevitable that the Korean and Japanese versions will be compared, and I quite enjoyed the process of analyzing how the lyrics were edited to fit the differences in language. While both versions successfully showed the intentions of the song well, lyrics for the Japanese version were slightly more aggressive and to some extent even threatening. Japanese Run Devil Run as a whole had an edgier feel, and the girls’ voices were a lot stronger in terms of emphasis as well. Jessica surprised me by being one of the vocalists with clearer pronunciation, and we all know how Sooyoung is in her element since Japanese is her forte. I’ve always loved Run Devil Run (both versions), so I have little complaints, though I must say it’s not the same without the line “You’re boring, you have no manners”.
Rating: 7/9

The good thing about remaking MVs is that you’ll probably be able to see a more polished and refined version of the previous one. The bad thing is that it runs the risk of being repetitive and well…dull. I thought the lighting was good and the outfits were spot on (glad they kept the midriff white ones rawr) but everything from the concept to the scenes were literally unchanged. I was slightly disappointed with that because I expected more but I guess if you look at their Japanese MVs prior to this one, there is an obvious pattern. I did, however, like how the girls improved their facial expressions. Taeyeon in particular took advantage of her short hair by flinging it all around as if in rage, and her extensions were a fresh change as well. All in all, it’s not a bad video but is easily forgettable.
Rating: 5/9

Overall: 5/9

Mr Taxi
I love how “MR. TAXI” was chosen as their first original Japanese track. The lyrics are so telling; they’re charting into new territory, and though feeling nervous, they’re confident enough to go along for the ride to see what’s in store for them. It’s a new beginning for them once again, and I really like how the song is powerful and catchy in its own way. The introduction keeps you on your toes from the get-go, and with the hook chorus and occasional English thrown in, “MR. TAXI” is really easy to listen to. While it would have been better if the parts were more equally divided, it’s understandable that it wasn’t since the song is high in pitch, thus harder to sing. My favorite part would have to be Sooyoung’s line before the bridge, while the least likeable would unfortunately have to be that random car noise that gets to me. Every. Single. Time.
Rating: 7/9

Essentially, the choreography carried the music video. I’ve watched the MV more than 10 times and most of my thoughts are more of “That move is so hot”, or “Oh I love that dance step, so have to learn that!” as compared to “Oh wow nice background and setting and lighting and…” I think I only noticed the swirly moving graphics at the back after the third time watching, though I did like the big globe signifying the girls’ takeover. I still need to get used to their yellow outfits, but all 9 of them can pull off the look well so no complaints there. While there were a lot of people I know who loved that slow-motion-close-ups of the girls, I found it quite excruciating to watch. It was awkward and random, and I think the girls do sexy best when they don’t try too hard. I expected an actual taxi to appear since their jacket pictures had them posing with it, but no… No taxi in “MR. TAXI”.
Rating: 4/9

Overall: 6/9


SM definitely knows how to make money. Take something that’s proven to have worked, tweak it up a bit, put it in a new market, and you have a brand new hit. The songs are catchy enough and the girls are incredibly marketable, and that will make for huge sales figures. But is the quality of the product worthy of these figures? Does it even match up to the girls’ work in South Korea? The answer: it’s not amazing, but at least it’s good enough to make money, and that’s all that counts, right? Yes, I’m trying to be political here.

Any of the girls’ Japanese remakes are going to be compared to their Korean counterparts, and “Run Devil Run” is no exception. There are two kinds of SONEs with regards to the Japanese promotions: those who love the fact that only the lyrics are changed in the remade songs, and those who would rather have everything be new. I’m more or less in the first camp. If you’re going to use a previous song, with the original artists no less, don’t change everything and completely forget about the past. I personally like that the dances and the outfits in the Japanese version are somewhat similar to those in the Korean version. The Korean music video, however, had a darker feel that fits well with the mood of the song. The Japanese version’s black outfits and backdrop were not black enough, and the white backdrop was too bright, so these took away the ferociousness the girls were trying to convey. This fierceness should be a big part of the music video, since the lyrics reflect this feel that the girls are really peeved about their boyfriends’ actions. I did not get that in the Japanese version, and unfortunately that made the girls’ angry facial expressions seem out of place. I will say that Sooyoung and Yoona’s outfits were much better this time around, as I wasn’t a fan of the oversized t-shirts from the Korean music video. Taking Yoona’s fake bangs out was a good move too.

I was pleasantly surprised that the meaning of the lyrics were kept the same in Japanese as it was in Korean. I also thought that the lyrics in this single fit the music much better than the other remakes. However, there were still parts in which the revised lyrics seem to be forced into the song rather than flow smoothly, which is a challenge when singing a song in another language. I have no problem with the music. I liked the original, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t like the instrumental in this version. How the lyrics and the song fit together, though, could use a little improvement. If the Japanese version was the original, I would’ve thought that what they did was supposed to happen. However, because the Korean version was the original and done very well, it’s hard to overlook the faults in the new edition. That being said, it’s not the worst attempt, and my fondness for the music definitely gives “Run Devil Run” a lot of points.

Song: 6/9
MV (not including song): 5/9
Overall: 5.5/9

With “MR. TAXI”, the girls finally broke their trend of rehashing Korean singles and came out with an original Japanese song, and the lyrics finally fit the music! Seriously, though, there’s one main problem with the song, and it’s a HUGE one. It absolutely annoys me every time I hear the girls sing “hypertonic”. I can stand “supersonic”, since supersonic speed is a rate of travel faster than the speed of sound, and the girls are asking “MR. TAXI” to travel fast. However, a hypertonic solution is a solution that has a greater solute concentration than the cytoplasm of a cell. If a cell is placed in a hypertonic solution, water will leave the cell to try to make the concentration of solute in the cell and in the solution as even as possible, leaving a shriveled cell. The main point, though, is that “hypertonic” has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with taxis or speed, especially upon first hearing. I cannot stand nonsensical lyrics or misused terms, and I can barely take English words in a song sung in a different language. Couldn’t the lyricists have found Japanese terms that would’ve fit those measures? I can’t stand “Ring Ding Dong” because “elastic” has no place in that song and it’s sung over and over again. Maybe the reason why I can kind of swallow “MR. TAXI” is because “hypertonic” is only sung three times as opposed to “Ring Ding Dong’s” ten “elastics”, and maybe it’s because I love the girls. However, they are driving on incredibly thin ice here (pun intended).

Otherwise, the song’s catchy and edgy, as is typical of most Girls’ Generation songs. The vocals are fine, though I’d like a little less auto-tune and be able to hear the girls’ more natural voices. The lyrics make sense (for the most part). They don’t necessarily have a deep meaning besides wanting to travel, and that’s alright. It’s a fun song, and not every song has to make you think. The dance break was kind of nice, just like the girls’ debut song “Into the New World”. It may be just a coincidence, but it’s cool that both of the girls’ debut songs are connected in some way. The instrumental part also changes up the typical girl group song that has vocals at just about every second, and it’s refreshing to hear.

As for the music video(s), there’s a lot to say, and unfortunately it’s mostly disappointing. The most striking thing are those weird taxi-inspired leather-plastic-latex-blend outfits (I have no idea what they’re made out of). I assume the director chose those costumes to try to connect the music video with taxis in some way other than the lyrics, because otherwise there’s no inkling of taxis anywhere. However, they didn’t work. The outfits contrasted too much with the black background, the material was cut at weird angles on some of the girls and the short shorts that some of the girls wore didn’t go with the overall outfit. The drivers’ hats didn’t help either, and they looked awkward on the girls. I would’ve been fine with yellow if it was used well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It may have had to do with the “Tron”-like effects on the screen behind the girls. The screen itself was unnecessary, but when they appeared in the video itself, it became frankly unsettling. The solo shots also seem to be thrown in there just for the sake of having them. In the beginning, these shots appeared suddenly and during the interlude the shots faded in and out, showing the girls randomly modeling and out of place. The sunglasses were not needed and made me go “Why is that even there?” I prefer Sooyoung in shorter hair, but she pulled off the long locks in this music video, perhaps because she had more volume as opposed to earlier in her career. I also liked Tiffany’s cornrows. I did not care for the high ponytails on Tiffany and Seohyun when they were wearing the black outfits, nor did I care for Yoona’s hair piled on top of her head or Hyoyeon’s bushy hair when they were wearing their yellow outfits. Therefore, hairstyle is a wash.

Overall, how I feel about the regular “MR. TAXI” music video can be summed up like this: they may as well have made the dance version the actual music video, and it would have been better, especially since most of the music video was made up of the dancing anyway. The additions to the actual MV did nothing, and in fact may have subtracted from the quality of the video. I liked how the dance version alternated between the the different sets and costume colors. Except for the flashing screen, I didn’t have much of a problem with the sets. Some of the choreography I could have done without, such as near the end when they put their hands in front of them with their palms facing out and then make a circle (at 3:10), as I found it awkward. Overall though, the choreography was okay. I liked the car elements, including the steering wheel and the gear shift dances. In fact, the dance video saved the overall music video score from receiving a much lower grade, though the rating is pretty low as it is.

Song: 5/9
MV (not including song): 4/9
Overall MV: 4.5/9

Links to purchase “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run”:

[BUY] MR.TAXI Deluxe First Press Edition cdjapan l YesAsia l HMV

[BUY] MR.TAXI Limited Period Edition cdjapan l YesAsia l HMV

[BUY] MR.TAXI Regular Edition cdjapan l YesAsia l HMV

Sources: [email protected], [email protected]
Written by: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Pictures by: [email protected], [email protected]
Graphic by: [email protected]

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