Since its formation in 2007, Girls’ Generation has made swapping musical genres, changing concepts, and adopting trends look effortless. Yet throughout its varied musical history, the group still managed to hold on to what has made them enduringly popular — impressive vocal talent, incredible dancing, stunning beauty, and enchanting charisma. On August 5, Girls’ Generation returned from a five-year hiatus with Forever 1, and it’s overflowing with all those qualities.
However, the length of the hiatus means K-pop newcomers may only know the legend of Girls’ Generation and now, intoxicated by the high-energy Forever 1, they are looking for more. There’s an extensive back catalog to explore, so to get you started, here are six Girls Generation songs to enjoy after Forever 1 — and two of them even have a fun tech twist.
Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)
Released in 2009, this electropop song is my personal favorite. What makes it so addictive are the complex structure of the vocals and the beautiful harmonization — mainly between three members, Sunny, Seohyun, and Taeyeon — particularly when the song reaches its crescendo. The controversial-but-cute military-inspired marine uniforms don’t exactly fit the song, but they look amazing in the iconic music video shot on a rooftop helipad.
In an example of the group’s incredible versatility, the Japanese-language version of Genie’s lyrics were changed up, along with parts of the choreography, to give it a different feel that’s somehow more assertive, despite being essentially the same song just sung in a different language.
We’re not claiming originality by including Gee in this list, as it’s probably one of the most famous songs from the group, but it unquestionably belongs here. It was also released in 2009, but it’s almost completely the opposite of Tell Me Your Wish (Genie). Gone are the military-inspired uniforms and helipads, and in come sugary sweet lyrics, costumes in bright primary colors, and cute expressions and gestures. But the beautiful harmonization remains, and the super catchy chorus makes Gee the song many will immediately associate with Girls’ Generation, even if only vaguely familiar with the group.
Echo is one of the group’s most “traditional” idol songs. Apart from the lyrics about a bad boy fooling a girl, the music video doesn’t have a strict, polished choreography and instead gives all the members plenty of screen time as individuals or as a group having fun together, complete with a lot of cute gestures and a beachside location. Part of the 2010 album Run Devil Run, it was completely different from the polished eponymous title track, again helping to show the group’s range.
Into the New World
Groups dream of a debut like Into the New World. Representations of all the qualities we mentioned above are here: super vocals, perfectly in-sync dancing, and sparkling smiles. Released at the beginning of August 2007, the memorable intro to the song was used for the first Forever 1 teaser, which premiered at the beginning of August this year. It’s the perfect companion song too, as listening to it today is a wonderful way to see how the members’ talents have evolved over the past 15 years.
Several of the best Girls’ Generation’s Japanese releases are ballads, and while All My Love is For You is sweeter, Time Machine’s more poignant and heartfelt lyrics and always-breathtaking harmonies give it the edge. The music video lets us see the members differently too, where instead of hyper-real visuals and frantic camera work, the muted, wintry colors and lingering static shots let their beauty shine through in a rarely seen way.
Digital Trends is a tech site, so why not close out our introduction to Girls’ Generation with two tech-related songs from the group. Chocolate Love is a standout idol pop song on its own, but notice the members are often seen with a phone in their hand? That’s the LG BL40 New Chocolate, or Cyon Chocolate as it was known in South Korea, and the song was used in the commercial when it was released in 2009.
If you’re wondering why the music video is presented in such a tight 21:9 aspect ratio, it’s because the BL40’s 4-inch screen shared that same ratio. The group was also featured in promotional images for the device, predating anything LG did with other K-pop groups including Mamamoo and BTS.
If Chocolate Love is Girls’ Generation with a tech twist done right, Visual Love is an opportunity missed. Advertisements for computer processors are rarely memorable, but this is the exception to the rule, as this song was used to advertise the Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips in 2011. While the song itself progresses well and only gets better the more you hear it, sadly, the choreography doesn’t exploit the group’s talents at all.
However, it’s completely worth sticking around to the very end of the video to hear the members harmonize Intel’s famous five-note sound signature, and then take a look at this glorious promo video where Taeyeon, Yoona, and Seohyun show off the capabilities of a 2011 computer processor. It’s nostalgic and cute.
Forever 1 release details
Forever 1 is the title track and name of the 10th album from Girls’ Generation, and it was released digitally on August 5, with a physical release on August 8. It’s available from online stores including Global Interpark, which has a reliable international shipping system.
One final note before you head off and find even more Girls’ Generation music is that you may sometimes see the group referred to as SNSD. This is a shortening of the group’s name in Korean, Sonyeo Sidae, which means Girls’ Generation, so don’t worry, it’s all the same group.