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.