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As a resident hater of pretty much every piece of music existing, I'll be sharing my thots no one asked for on some random stuff xo.

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SNSD - All Night / Holiday

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2017 sees SNSD (more widely known as Girls' Generation) celebrating their tenth anniversary, an anomaly for a k-pop group, most of which disband as soon as their few-year-long contracts terminate. During the time the nine – or now eight – girls were together brought them countless hits, including Gee or Genie, tracks often mentioned among the genre's greatest work, success and earned them a „nation's girlgroup” title. Quite a legacy to live up to. Holiday Night, along with the two title tracks promoting it, is a record which more than anything tries to prove whether their previous success was justified or not. Does it succeed?

Starting off with the more successful song, Holiday does not leave SNSD's typical comfort zone. It's an upbeat bubblegum pop track which keeps up with the times but at the same time interpolates a lot of retro influences. Its main strength relies in its ho-ho-holiday hook which is ear-worm-y enough to instantly get stuck in listener's memory and not repetitive enough to get annoying quickly. Besides, the cute little rap part in the second verse seems fairly smooth, pleasant and doesn't come off as awkwardly put into the track which is not something one could say about many SM singles in recent memory. If I were to nitpick, I could definitely live without the over-the-top vocal show-off coming from the TTS trio but it's a disadvantage so minor that with repeated plays it becomes almost unnoticeable.

However, it's All Night which turned out to be the more complex and intriguing song in the longer run. It's much more electronic – with even slight nu-disco influences – and current-sounding than Holiday and has significantly more changes all the way through. I like how the chorus goes in a pretty unexpected direction: despite the obvious build-up in the verses, it doesn't explode instantly. Instead, it slows down for a bit and naturally progresses to its more lively second half. What initially striked me as jarring and misplaced was the dubstep-ish bridge, I thought it was an unnecessary addition ruining the overall mood. I've been warming up to it with every listen though and now I'd say it's a pretty clever nod to all the so-called „SM Sheep” who stan for every boring, Western-pandering, Britney Spears bonus track material which remains self-aware and actually has some personality enhancing it.

Quality-wise SNSD's discography is... questionable for me, to say the least. That's why I came to Holiday Night having zero expectations and that was probably for the better, apart from the title tracks, only one song raised any kind of interest. To focus on the positives though, both All Night and Holiday are both tracks which do make sense as something they'd release for their anniversary. They both paint a picture of a group which might reach their peak popularity anymore but is still a solid player in the music business, one which should not be ruled out.

 

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Blackpink are currently a phenomenon I do not necessarily understand. Being hyped by their CEO as a „pretty version of 2NE1” they quickly became every white gay and their mother's favourite k-pop girlgroup in spite of barely having any material out. Their sound have been a mixed bag so far, with their two debut songs genuinely sounding like a watered-down version of 2NE1, the next two being more low-key and feeling like a step in the right direction... which brings us to their latest work. Is As If It's Your Last be the track to convince me of their alleged greatness?

As sad as it is to constantly compare one act to another, with Blackpink it's inevitable, especially with this song which sounds exactly like something taken from a 2011 2NE1 album which is honestly a blessing and a curse at the same time. On the one hand, the influences of the arguably golden era of k-pop make it stand out among other girlgroups which either try to catch up to Western artists or are stuck with the cute concepts but on the other, there is definitely quite a dated to feeling to it, especially felt during the chorus. That said, it's still probably the best vocal melody they've ever served, the line distribution is on point and the first minute or so of the track sees the girls serving maybe not their most confident but certainly their most convincing performance to date. What happens afterwards is the point when things get messy.

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Lisa. Initially I used to think her lack of talent was a goofy addition which contrasted nicely with admittedly slightly faceless other members. On AIIIL she shows that she is just untalented and there is absolutely no reason for YG to still be keeping her in the group. Her parts on the chorus sound almost exactly like something that would come out of CL's mouth, quite possibly the most insufferable and embarrassing „musician” to have ever graced k-pop. But that is still nothing compared to what might be the most dreadful, brain-dead and jarring rap verse I've heard in 2017. From the unpleasant stretched out babe, through the awful, try-hard lyrics to the hilarious - and not in an enjoyable way - mumbling, I find it hard to believe that with so many people working on the song there was no one to stop her. And the worst part of it is how you can tell she actually believes that she's dropping some kind of edgy, hardcore lines. The reality is that she falls flat in every single aspect and as much as it's always been apparent with her, it's just never reached this ridiculous level.

All things considered, this is not a bad song. It proves that Jennie could easily find success even as a solo artist, that Jisoo improves with each release and that Rose's sweet voice serves as a really sweet way to compliment the other members' vocals (to keep the 2NE1 comparisons going, the modern day Park Bom?). It might still lack that special something that would make me forgive all the shade I gave those girls and the certain someone will obviously always prevent me from fully enjoying it but I'm positive. It unarguably has more personality than their last comeback and if they maintain this level of quality, I will definitely be checking for them in the future.

 

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