Author’s Note: We know that the Japanese promotions are pretty far in the past now, and even though we started working on this review quite a few months ago, a number of circumstances led to the delay in publishing it. We hope to be quicker in the future when it comes to reviewing Soshi albums and merchandise and we hope to review more items besides just albums. Everyone here with the Soshified writing team will be working hard to improve upon the reviews in all aspects.



Japanese “Genie” and “Gee” MV review


It’s mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I fall into the category of liking how the choreography is the same between the Korean and Japanese versions of “Tell Me Your Wish”/”Genie” and “Gee”. I applaud the efforts of the producers trying to keep some semblance of the original Korean versions in the new Japanese versions of the music videos, whether it’s the costumes in “Genie”, or the set in “Gee”, or letting each girl sing the same parts that she did in the Korean version. The Korean “Gee” is my favorite Girls’ Generation song, and I quite like “Tell Me Your Wish” as well, so I have no complaints about the music, especially from a pop standpoint. The Japanese music videos actually look better and more professional than their Korean counterparts. But that’s where my unconditional compliments end.

When the girls first entered the Japanese market, I was a little hesitant to listen to the Japanese versions of their songs, because most of the time the re-make is not as good as the original. Unfortunately, that’s the case with both “Gee” and “Genie”. The Japanese lyrics don’t fit the music as well as the Korean lyrics. This is expected because the music was written for a different language, but it’s disappointing nonetheless. I’m also not a fan of changing the meanings of the lyrics from the original. Granted, not everybody knows both Korean and Japanese, so it does not affect people. And perhaps the change was because the writers couldn’t figure out how to translate the lyrics into Japanese in a way that would fit the music or the English parts. But it’s still a little disappointing, especially since both versions already have similar choreography, costumes, and/or sets.

While I like how the costumes were similar to each other in the Japanese and Korean versions, the Japanese versions were somehow still inferior. The “Genie” costumes they use during the group choreography are fine. And no matter what, the girls look gorgeous in “Genie”. However, I am not a fan of the costumes used in their individual shots in “Genie” or during the entire video in “Gee”. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like the style, which somehow is a different sort of cute and sexy than what Girls’ Generation has done before. For example, I was never a fan of tying up a buttoned shirt. If you’re going to show the midriff, wear a short tank top that’s not supposed to cover the belly. On a related note, don’t wear pants that go so high that it covers up most of the midriff if the shirt is short or tied up. As for the “Gee” costumes, the colors are incredibly bold, and are so different that they don’t match well with each other. This is the same with the girls’ accessories. They’re too ostentatious and don’t go well with anything, much less the girls’ styles. The “Gee” music video would’ve been better suited with a dance version featuring only the white T-shirts and jeans in my opinion (I will say I love the random transitions between sets in the dance version regardless of costumes, especially in the middle of a dance move to the corresponding part on the other set), or taken the original costumes off of the mannequins at the beginning and wore those (which I will add featuring those, especially with Yoona and Yuri next to their own Korean costumes at the beginning, was a nice touch).

I don’t have a problem with the singing in “Genie”. It took me a while to get used to the girls singing in Japanese initially, but they sound great nonetheless. “Gee”, however, is a different story. I was actually dreading having to re-watch the Japanese version of “Gee” for this review due to the mismatched clothes colors and the higher-than-normal singing voices, which sound contrived. There is one moment singing-wise that I did find pleasing though. In the Korean version, when Yuri starts her solo, you can hear a raspiness in her voice as she starts singing. I was never a fan of that, whether from Yuri or Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. So I give points to the Japanese version for getting rid of that. I wish they had left the “Matrix”-style camera pan in both “Genie” and “Gee” in the editing room, since I thought it was unnecessary and there just to be there.

It’s always hard for remakes to top original versions, and that’s the case with “Genie” and “Gee”. Now am I being harsh? Perhaps. Could it be because the Korean version of “Gee” is my favorite Girls’ Generation song and music video and “Tell Me Your Wish” is arguably the girls’ best music video to date? Maybe. But the point is, it doesn’t live up to the original. To those of you who think Girls’ Generation can do no wrong and only deserve 9/9 for everything, I regret that I burst your bubble. I’m harsh because I care. I think the girls and SM can do much better with their Japanese endeavors, and you can’t improve without knowing where to do so.





“Genie” song: 6/9
MV: 6/9
Overall: 6/9

“Gee” song: 4.5/9
MV: 5/9
Overall: 4.5/9


“Girls’ Generation: The 1st Japanese Album” Review


With an arena concert tour through Japan and Japanese product endorsement deals popping up left and right, Girls’ Generation is making a strong impact on the Land of the Rising Sun. But crucial to their success in Japan is their ability to produce original Japanese music that sells at a high rate. While the “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” single was the first step towards that goal, the next obvious move was to create a full-length album. “Girls’ Generation”, the self-titled first Japanese album by the girls, was released on June 1, held the number one spot on the famed Oricon music chart, and went on to break several records for sales by foreign artists in Japan. But beyond the sales numbers and records set by the album, were SONEs pleased with the album? Were the songs consistent with the level of quality that we’ve come to expect from Girls’ Generation? Was the high price of the deluxe and limited editions justified, considering what came along with them?


The Deluxe Edition box

The Limited Edition CD case

Unlike the “MR. TAXI/Run Devil Run” single, there’s a significant difference between the deluxe and limited editions, especially in terms of their packaging and included extras. The limited edition comes in a standard DVD-style case inside a plastic white sleeve. A clear section forms the words “Girls’ Generation” on the front so that the image of the girls can be seen. Group pictures of the girls occupy both the front and the back of the DVD case. In a persistent theme throughout the concept photos for both editions, the girls are all wearing white, and all of the photos present a light and airy feel, which I feel always suits the girls well. Inside the limited edition is the album itself, a DVD containing the original Japanese music videos for “MR. TAXI”, “Genie”, and “Gee”, and finally the photobook. The photobook contains two group photo of all the girls, two individual photos for each girl, and three photos of trios. The first trio photo is of Tiffany, Yoona, and Seohyun, while the second photo shows Jessica, Sunny, and Yuri, and the final trio is Taeyeon, Hyoyeon, and Sooyoung.

The deluxe edition comes in a sturdy box which has nine individual portraits surrounding the “Girls’ Generation” first Japanese album logo on both the front and the back of the box. The top of the box has a group picture which, upon closer inspection, is identical to the one on the back of the DVD case for the limited edition. Once the box is opened, three items are found inside: the DVD case containing the album itself as well as a music video DVD, the photobook, and a smaller box which holds the pink mini bag. The music video DVD for the deluxe edition is identical to the limited edition, but also includes the dance version of the “MR. TAXI”. While the total number of photos is nearly the same in both the deluxe and limited edition photobooks (the deluxe edition actually has one fewer group picture), the photos themselves are all different. Also, the deluxe edition photobook is slightly larger than the limited edition, and appears to have been printed on slightly thicker paper. While I can certainly see myself pulling out the photobooks from time to time to look at the beautiful pictures of the girls, I don’t quite have the same feeling about the mini bag. The bag is pretty enough (in the perspective of a male who doesn’t understand fashion on the highest level), but it’s not something I would ever see myself using for several reasons: it’s outrageously pink (and I’m not Tiffany), it’s very small, and it’s covered in glitter that apparently rubs off very easily. I say apparently, because I never took the mini bag out of the clear plastic wrap that it came in, and heard the glitter stories from others. Despite the fact that I kept the mini bag in the plastic wrap, I still managed to get some glitter on my hands.


The Deluxe Edition contents

The pink bag inside the Deluxe Edition

Regarding the music itself, there are five tracks which have an element of familiarity to them: “MR. TAXI” and the Japanese versions of “Genie”, “Run Devil Run”, “Gee”, and “Hoot”. While we’d heard the first four of those well before this album was ever released, the Japanese version of “Hoot” is new to SONEs, and in my opinion the weakest of the Korean-to-Japanese converted songs. The flow of the lyrics, especially during the chorus, never feels natural as compared to the original Korean version. The other Korean-to-Japanese songs, while not as strong as the original Korean versions, all manage to retain at least some of the original spirit, and the strong beat and addictive melodies of “MR. TAXI” make it one of my favorite songs on the album.

But what of the new and original Japanese songs? The first new song on the album, “You-aholic”, follows in the footsteps of “MR. TAXI” with a strong electronic sound and powerful drum beats. With the lead-in whispers of “pyscho sexy super magic” as well as lines like “you’re the gin inside my tonic” and “I’m like a you-aholic” in the chorus, the presence of English lyrics is clearly felt. But make no mistake, the girls’ improved skill with the Japanese language is obvious when the climax of the song is reached and the powerful background vocals shine through. “Bad Girl” is a song that shows off the strength and range of Girls’ Generation’s vocals. While the vocals in the verses tend to reach some fairly low and husky notes, the girls lead the chorus along with powerful high notes. I might not claim that it’s one of my favorite songs from the album, but every time I hear it I marvel at the girls’ vocal range. A heavy beat fills “Beautiful Stranger”, but somehow the song itself just never left much of an impression upon me. The background vocals towards the end of the song stand out to me, but in general “Beautiful Stranger” is a song that feels just good to me, and not great. “I’m in Love With the Hero” is another song that I would just call good, but it left a larger imprint on me than “Beautiful Stranger”. Aside from the music breakdown at the 1:08 mark, the pace in “I’m in Love With the Hero” is very steady, and the melody never goes too high or too low. Towards the end, I get the sense that the song is building up to a strong finish, but when it ends, I feel a bit of an anticlimactic letdown.

After a couple of what I considered to be the weaker songs in the album, we reach what is my favorite song in the entire album, “Let it Rain”. The brass intro and the subsequent addition of the beat work perfectly together. Also, the auto-tune that filtered through a number of songs on the album is nowhere to be found in “Let it Rain”, allowing the girls’ vocals to truly soar. I get the sense that their voices have matured a great deal, as the low notes during the verses are rich and smooth, and hearing the girls serenading us with “Just let it rain, let it rain, let it rain” is an absolute treasure. “The Great Escape” has taken a strange journey through my mind, going from a song I didn’t like at all, to a song that I wished they performed all the time, to a song that is legitimately growing on me. We all started wishing they would perform “The Great Escape” more often after seeing their performance on “Music Station”, but despite the sexy choreography I still didn’t find myself liking the song. However, the more I listen to it, the more I like it, and while it isn’t my favorite song on the album by any stretch, it’s definitely a song I take notice of now. Finally, “Born to be a Lady” is the perfect song to end the album. The slower pace and beautiful vocals are equal parts relaxing and teasing. Jessica’s final soft and melodious “lady” leaves me breathless and eager to repeat the album every time.

With so much ground to cover, from the physical contents of the albums as well as all the songs, it’s difficult to come up with final scores for “Girls’ Generation”. The album itself has a much more mature feel to it than any of Girls’ Generation’s previous albums. Most of the songs don’t carry the cutesy feel that we had become accustomed to with Girls’ Generation. It’s a new musical direction for the girls, and one that I would consider a success. But the story with the packaging is a little less clear. I was excited to see all the beautiful photos inside the deluxe and limited editions, but everything else seemed like collector’s items to me in two ways: I collected them just to have them, and they are merely sitting on a shelf collecting dust. The pink mini bag and deluxe edition box serve no real purpose for me and don’t seem worth the high price tag I paid for them. There are collectors out there who must own everything the girls produce, and the packaging is high quality and impressive, but the amount of items you get doesn’t really seem to justify the cost. If Girls’ Generation is all about the music and nothing else for you, the limited edition should be the upper limit of your consideration, though even that can’t be considered a value.

Packaging Rating: 3/9
Songs Rating: 7/9
Overall Rating: 6/9


Written by: [email protected], [email protected]
Video sources: [email protected], [email protected]

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Disclaimer: Views expressed are solely those of the author and are not representative of the Soshified community as a whole.