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!

dapo322 16th-Jan-2013 08:09 am (UTC)
"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."

Now I don't hate IGAB, but cmon. SNSD, a top girl group, released a single. People are going to listen to see what it sounds like and if anything there are 9 girls in a mv with a bunch of colorful sets. People are going to watch the video and hear the song. Plus there are people who will listen to song a bunch of times just because it's their bias group/artist.

The strong image I guess that they are trying to go for with the clothes and "hip hop" style to make it seem more mature doesn't really go with the lyrics.

"Ah, my prince! When are you gonna come save me?
Will you lift me in your arms and fly, like a white dream?"

"I’m like, surprised, mental collapse!
He wants to see my face without makeup.
I really like him, would it be okay to show it to him?
Oh! Never! Right? Right?
Let’s keep what needs to be kept, right! right!
Don’t ever forget this until you take all of his heart!"

I'll end on a positive that at least they look like they are enjoying themselves and I like parts of the choreo. Also, with the way that the music shows cutout TaeNY's unnecessary bridge the song is better. I still would take out the Ayo as well as Yoona and Hyoyeon's rap. I think overall the song would be better w/out those parts and some better lyrics.

Edited at 2013-01-16 08:13 am (UTC)
heartsolid 16th-Jan-2013 08:15 am (UTC)
those lyrics...
cottonowl 16th-Jan-2013 08:22 am (UTC)
I just remembered why I never check kpop lyrics.
dapo322 16th-Jan-2013 08:25 am (UTC)
lol. Most of the time I don't look up the lyrics, but someone actually posted a link to a site analyzing the lyrics and how problematic they were so I ended up reading them. I have to try to get the link.


I found it. It's analyzes the song + mv

Edited at 2013-01-16 08:45 am (UTC)
cottonowl 16th-Jan-2013 09:14 am (UTC)
Thanks, sounds interesting! I can already say there are many things wrong with the small bits you posted (makeup is mandatory, only show your true self after you've secured the guy, I mean wtf).
nemo_011 16th-Jan-2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
yeah.. that bit bugged me a whole lot. im not suprised though
boba_holic 16th-Jan-2013 08:23 am (UTC)
yeah..those lyrics arent saying "mature" to me at all

Edited at 2013-01-16 08:23 am (UTC)
angela_derp_otp 16th-Jan-2013 08:37 am (UTC)
gurl those lyrics omg they are awful, and shallow and horrible.

I especially hate the beginning where they are basically trash talking some other girl. That's such a nice stereotypical caricature 'girl talk' i mean seriously. :|
shocko_o 16th-Jan-2013 09:09 am (UTC)
yeah, i'm glad i don't understand the language when i listen to the song. i think the image and song would have been more cohesive with the lyrics had they expressed or performed the lyrics in a more sarcastic tone.
fantaesticbaby 16th-Jan-2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
yeah when i found out what the lyrics were it made me glad i don't speak Korean or i'd not be able to listen to the song.
gabucha26 16th-Jan-2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
To be honest their title songs have always been like this (just look at Oh!) and while I understand why it's annoying and it only increases the steryotype towards girls in Korea, I don't particularly have a problem with Yoona's and Hyo's lines.

Maybe I'm just looking at it too deep (and yes I am aware th e composer must likely is talking about just showing your face without make up...nothing deeper than that XD ), but I just thing this "non-makeup face" can applied to just anything. For example when starting a new relationship I won't just go and show my real self until I know the person doesn't just see me as just another girl Im taking out on a date. Is not that I will fake a personality or anything like that, but I will never ever mention my SNSD adoration for example, until I know the other person won't be all "wtf is wrong with you". Heck it doesn't even have to be about boys in specific, just as you are building up a friendship with anyone, it does take time for the other person to see the real you.

But as I said I know the composer was probably talking about bare faces hahah but hey lets pretend there was something more meaningful in there lolol. But yes I agree the rest of the lyrics are kinda roll eye worthy
dapo322 16th-Jan-2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
The reason I said I'd get rid of the rap part is caz I just don't like Yoona and Hyoyeon's rap part that much. I didn't like it much before even reading the lyrics. I keep laughing when Hyo says goo caz I feel like she is making a baby noise even tho I know she isn't doing that. I'm glad Hyo at least has lines and gets to be in the front even for a little bit. Also, I'm just not here for Yoona rapping.

I just felt like if SME is supposedly going for a more mature image like this article is saying, then the lyrics aren't really matching. It's more of the same like you said with Oh! lyrics. I hope I don't sound like I'm hating caz I still listen to IGAB, mostly a version off of youtube that omitted some parts of the song. The song isn't that bad after the 1st listen, there were just some parts that I felt would make it sound better to me.
gabucha26 17th-Jan-2013 02:59 am (UTC)
I really hope I didn't come across like I was blindly defending the song/lyrics hahaha. I had had wanted to share this for a while when reading what other people had been saying about the lyrics since the song came out. I suppose your comment gave me the outlet to finally put my two cents XD.

Honestly I didn't care for this song when it first came out, in fact I hated it and was super disappointed with this comeback (to the point I didnt even want to listen to the rest of the album). But the girls are right...the more you listen to it the more it grows on you, and now I find myself jamming to it lol (which reminds me how I hated Oh when it first came out yet it is now my #1 most played song on itunes lol). I still think SM could have done a better job at making the transitions and delivering the whole thing in a much better way. Hyo's and Yoona's rap doesnt bother me as much though, maybe it's because Sooyoung and Yuri rapped at the beginning that it doesnt feel as out of place. That Taeny bridge can peace its way out though....same as the little part after "lets bring it back to 140" where Jess reaches that high note.

But going back to the lyrics, one of the reasons why the song started to grow on me was because someone explained that it was a bunch of girl talk thats why the tempo changes. Not saying it makes the song to be a masterpiece bc the lyrics are still all sort of blah, but it was nice to finally make sense out of that hot mess XD.
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