11:24 pm - 01/15/2013

The I Got A Boy "Controversy" Examined by ‘My Daily’ Writer Lee Seungrok

To say the least, it’s clear that Girls’ Generation didn’t release a song that’s like every other song. There was no girl group before Girls’ Generation with such bitter controversy over one song. Controversies girl groups get caught up in are usually over “suggestivethings: suggestive dancing or outfits that expose too much skin. However, people are talking not about their choreography or outfits, but about Girls’ Generation’s song.

What kind of song is “I Got A Boy” to have people divided into either “liking” or “hating” it?


It’s not a song that you can’t listen to. There are already a lot of girl group songs that you can’t bear to listen to, that sound similar and have a similar feel, and they keep coming out. However, “I Got A Boy” is never a song that’s on the same level as those other songs. If it were something you can’t bear to listen to, it probably wouldn’t have become such a controversy because nobody would listen to it.

“I Got A Boy”, first of all, is unfamiliar. “Strange” may even be a better, more accurate expression. The changes in the song are frequent, and it’s not a pattern change that people are used to hearing in their ears. It’s difficult trying to predict that pattern as well. This song is clearly different from Girls’ Generation’s usual songs, and so people initially are repulsed by the song.

Also, when you place the image of “a girl group doing hip-hop” up front, it adds on to the repulsion. People laughed and passed over Girls’ Generation members rapping awkwardly on variety shows and going “Ayo”, but people become stern when the girls earnestly begin placing “Ayo GG” in a song when they say they plan on doing hip-hop. (translator’s note: the girls won’t take it seriously, because they joked about it using the same phrase) It makes people think, “Let’s see just how good you are.” It’s similar to the repulsion and stern feeling people get when male idols say they’re going to do rock music. But honestly, the introduction rap in “I Got A Boy” is awkward. It doesn’t give off a professional vibe.

However, putting this repulsion aside, you can only feel the true charm of “I Got A Boy” by continuing to listen to it. It’s an appeal that remains once the initial repulsion thins out.

“I Got A Boy” is largely composed of two parts. The loose and speedy rhythms of the two parts differ greatly. While it seems different, it also seems similar somehow. This is because after clearly contrasting the two parts, they skillfully mix the two at the end of the song. The sense of awareness of this difference is somewhat addictive.

As soon as the introduction rap ends, they quickly present the hook of the first part. The change into the hook of the second part, which is a lot faster, is made clear by saying, “Ayo! Stop! Let me put it another way.” Because they pour it all together without any gaps after that line, the change of speed feels extreme.

Tiffany’s part, which starts with “I’m so angry I could die”, suddenly erases the electronic sounds that created the fast rhythm. Unlike the first half of the song, where chattering voices could be heard, it captures the listener’s attention with particularly deep vocals, switching up the mood. They then say, “Don’t stop! Let’s bring it back to 140″, increase the speed once again, and they reach the last part, where they combine the two hooks, not giving you the time to catch your breath. The four minutes and 30 seconds are precisely filled up so it’s not boring, and the song livens up a lot more when you listen to it while watching Girls’ Generation’s choreography on music programs.


In the end, if you want to understand the fun of “I Got A Boy”, you need to have a fairly good understanding of the outline of change. The problem is that you can only see that outline when you continuously listen to it. As mentioned before, because of the repulsion of “girl group hip-hop”, it’s not easy to enjoy it repeatedly.

However, you don’t have to judge “I Got A Boy” while hanging onto “hip-hop” so much. Aside from the rap in the intro, it’s not a song that is classified as hip-hop, so you shouldn’t expect them to sing a hip-hop song well. It’s also a well-made song that’s worth listening to repeatedly. Also, if you think about why Girls’ Generation sang this song, there is a fairly important reason.

This meaning is that, through Girls’ Generation’s selection of “I Got A Boy”, they’ve broken away from limitations and the currently existing road of girl groups. This movement was seen to a certain extent through “The Boys”, and you can say that they’ve completely entered a new path with “I Got A Boy”. They’ve entered a path that will allow Girls’ Generation to be maintained for a longer time without regressing.

Before this, Girls’ Generation’s weakness was clear. A finite “girl” image. As the members get older and the farther they get from their debut year, the image will become one that they can’t put forth, and the “girl” image is bound to disappear little by little as time goes by. This isn’t a problem that applies to just Girls’ Generation, but to all girl groups.

And so this is why most girl groups seek the method of switching from an “innocent” image to a “mature” one. However, “sexy” is mistakenly used to show a “mature” image, creating a paradoxical “sexy girl group” image that people turn away from. Even fans are starting to leave newly debuted girl groups with “innocent” images, and many girl groups have been forgotten and have disappeared.

Girls’ Generation and SM Entertainment probably were aware of this girl group life cycle. And so they probably didn’t go for “sexy”, but true “maturity”, and not for their image, but “musical maturity”.

I think you can define Girls’ Generation and the new path they discovered as becoming “musically mature” and “a girl group that leads K-Pop”. The meaning of “The Boys” was that they would be separating from stale, fed up girl group-esque music. The maxi-single they released, carrying a remix of “The Boys” with lots of electronic sounds, showed their will regarding musical change. Of course, people’s reactions towards “The Boys” was not that good either. It wasn’t as bad as “I Got A Boy” now, but there were still complaints of “Why did they release a song like this?

Still, receiving a refreshing shock with songs like “The Boys” or “I Got A Boy” is a lot better than being shocked seeing Girls’ Generation doing “spread legs dancing” while wearing disconcerting miniskirts. I would think Girls’ Generation fans should be thankful that a sexy Girls’ Generation didn’t appear.

While there are some people who suggest that they should be singing another “Gee”-like song, it’s not like a “Gee” 2.0 syndrome is something that you can just throw together. Not only that, but looking at “Hoot” or “Oh!”, it’s been proven that it’s not easy reproducing another “Gee”.

No matter how much people say about this and that over “I Got A Boy”, Girls’ Generation is already going on their way. They’re going down a road that other girl groups couldn’t even think of, singing, “you’re such a show-off”.


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

Source: My Daily via Daum
Translated by: ch0sshi@soshified
Edited by: moonrise31@soshified, taengsoshi@soshified, MoonSoshi9@soshified

though its main focus is igab, it touches upon a lot about girl groups in general. i really like how the writer discerns "mature" from "sexy". a recommended read!

sobaek 16th-Jan-2013 08:06 am (UTC)
I like the choreography, I like the change in styling, and I like that they aren't just flailing their bare legs about like they usually did. Hell, I even like parts of the song, I just don't like ow it does together and anytime one of them says 'ayo' 'let me put it down another way' etc I cringe so hard. If it didn't slow down and speed up so erratically, if the different sections flowed together better instead of sounding like different songs just spliced together, it would work.
It's not like I have anything against irregular song structures. Totally different genre but a Dir en grey song titled 'yokusou ni dreambox aruiwa seijuku no rinen to tsumetai ame' similarly has sections where the tempo suddenly switched, from being pretty slow and regular through a majority of the song, to rapid blast beats, with the vocalist switching from smooth vocals to shrieks, roars and shouts. I love that song. Because they pull it off. They make that switch and it works. Partially to d with the actual music genre, partly just because it was done well.

This wasn't done well. It's messy in the wrong way, it doesn't suit the enre hey are working in and they've not pulled it off. In My humble opinion.
okadarei 16th-Jan-2013 11:24 am (UTC)
THIS +1

The idea of the song ain't bad. Some parts are even well matched (at the end mostly), but most of the transitions are horrid. Is not the first song with this type of changes but maybe the first that has those many different beats put into one track. And yes, they've shouldn't try to Grime, that's their weakest point on this song.
royu_kiyo 16th-Jan-2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
Woohoo Diru fan \o/

Anyways, I agree, if the tempo changes were handled better, the song as a whole would've worked better.
sobaek 16th-Jan-2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
I'm such a Dir fan but unfortunately the fandom is full of annoying pissweasles.
It tells you something when Kpop is an easier and more enjoyable fandom to be a part of.
achan123 17th-Jan-2013 04:11 am (UTC)
tbh, if u listen to the song a number of times, the songs finale (which combines the 'i got a boy' and 'street hip hop part') kinda brings the whole thing together. i guess the main problem is that the transitions happen suddenly without warning so people get put off...
mo_chan_tf 17th-Jan-2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
"Totally different genre but a Dir en grey song titled 'yokusou ni dreambox aruiwa seijuku no rinen to tsumetai ame' similarly has sections where the tempo suddenly switched, from being pretty slow and regular through a majority of the song, to rapid blast beats, with the vocalist switching from smooth vocals to shrieks, roars and shouts. I love that song. Because they pull it off. They make that switch and it works. Partially to d with the actual music genre, partly just because it was done well."

A+ for mentioning Dir en grey on Omona, my day is now complete
oh and I LOVE that song, too!
sobaek 17th-Jan-2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
DSS is a work of art as an album and I adore that song.
AND it's just as awesome live. I was made up when they performed it at the last gig I went to.
Yokusou Ni Dreambox is pretty much my favourite song by them. I've not loved a song so hard since Shokubeni.
mo_chan_tf 20th-Jan-2013 02:55 am (UTC)
sorry for taking so long to answer, only now I saw that you'd replied to me!!!

yesss DSS is awesome! one of my favorite albums for sure, not just by them but in general. ohhh and the live performances of those songs...! DREAMBOX had me amazed since the teasers came out, when I heard that part of the song I was already expecting something totally different and it turned out to be enthralling, haha. idk how they manage do make such beautiful, touching, gutwrenching music...!!!

Shokubeni has been one of my favorites by them for a long time. I just can't get enough, and then they re-recorded it in that 'shot in one take' and I just fell even more in love dmaiorMIUDOAS <333
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