There's no denying Girls' Generation are one of South Korea's most beloved girl groups.
Like any superstar act it's difficult to dissect what took them to such dizzying heights of fame, but it could be SNSD's willingness to constantly reinvent their sound, their style and just about anything else about the group. For any longtime fan like myself, it's been quite a journey.
That's why it's inspiring to see Girls' Generation channeling their years onstage and into the studio to make the kind of deeper sound that only comes with experience on their new single "Lion Heart," released on Aug. 18, along with six of the 12 songs on the band's new album of the same name. The remaining six tracks were released the next day.
With a focus on their vocals and a stripped down production style that puts the electric guitar front and center, Girls' Generation have found a fresh approach to their music one more time.
And though "Lion Heart" picks up the retro trend that their label SM Entertainment has featured in songs by other veteran K-pop acts like TVXQ, the amount of heart and raw vocal talent this group has, makes the sound on this single truly all their own.
Starting with strings, snaps and claps, "Lion Heart" takes no time setting up the soulful sweetness that makes the Girls' Generation vocalists so special. Tinkling bells and horns in the background get overwhelmed by the front and center beats, but add the complex sounds we expect from one of K-pop's most experienced groups.
Girls' Generation has always had so many members that it's occasionally possible to lose sight of which member's voice you're actually hearing, but "Lion Heart" offers surprisingly egalitarian vocal distribution. Perhap's vocalist Jessica Jung's high-profile departure from the group in 2014 left some musical openings for the other members, like Yuri's spot-on performance on the chorus. Tiffany's ad-libs may seem a bit out of place at the end of this masterfully constructed tune, but serve as the perfect setup for the end of the song.
"Lion Heart" comes in with a video concept we've seen before from Girls' Generation--the members watching their own music video on television is reminiscent of the 2010 clip for their song "Oh." But considering the members have never looked better in their vintage outfits, I'd say they deserve a pass.
Watch the music video for the new Girls' Generation single "Lion Heart" RIGHT HERE