Mar 14, 2014

Kpop Queens SNSD Return With "Mr.Mr."

So, this is going to be a joint mini album + music video review because I'm kind of short on time and I'm also feeling really lazy today. Deal with it.
I can't believe it's been over a year since goddesses Girls' Generation hit the charts with I Got A Boy, and what a comeback that was. They had been promoting like crazy in Japan and have released some excellent material, and then came their 2013 Korean comeback and I just felt like giving up on the world. I think you can understand why.
No matter the song though, it did pave way for some great, fun and energetic performances from these 9 flawless ladies. Now, another year has passed, and expectations were immensely high.

First and foremost, the title track Mr.Mr. and its accompanying video. Also, just to point out for anyone without eyes, that is my baby Hyoyeon is taking the center spot in the image teaser. God must have answered my prayers. 
There was this whole story before the video release about data corruption and supposedly some footage being lost, which I felt highly skeptical of. Such a big, well established company surely should not fall victims to data corruption? And more importantly, don't they have backup files of their video footage? 

Anyways, on to the song and video. I didn't instantly like Mr.Mr. when I first heard it (this was before the video release) but it was heaps better than both of their two latest Korean title tracks, so I wasted no time and swallowed it almost immediately. It is more reminiscent of their Japanese stuff (which I prefer anyway) and starts with a heavy dance beat that transcends into a more poppy, retro type of sound. However, it manages to keep it's pace and feels like a unified, complete song rather than a bunch of completely different one mashed in to one big mess of confusion. Is it on par with their most iconic tracks like Gee, Genie or Oh!? Clearly not. But it's a nice song nonetheless, and I have been listening to it more than once since it came out, so that must be a good sign. 

The video, however, leaves me with a sour aftertaste. I don't really understand it, you see. Like, it's just so filled with strange effects and filters, and there's pretty much no dancing and no clear plot either. I'm sure there was actually one planned in there, but the editing is bad, really bad. The consequences are that it's hard to follow along in what's happening because the scenes change so quickly and all the effects also make it difficult to actually see what's going on.

Maybe SM did loose some material after all, because the feeling I get after watching this is that it felt incomplete. People have been speculating all over the place about the hidden meanings in this video, but for someone like me who prefers some subtle levels of depth but not so much that I have to actively search for it to find it, it seems a bit too stretched out.
The lyrics of this song encourages a guy to take control and leap forward in their somewhat ambiguous relationship. There are lines such as "I want someone to take the lead" and "You have the key to open the future" implies that maybe he's a little doubtful and she wants him to make up his mind and open up to her. The video kind of represents that, I guess. At least from a non depth-digging point of view, it seems like they try to fix him, they try to change his heart quite literally as the scary, but stunning, nurses they portray. Of course, this is all figuratively, because what they're actually trying to do is what the lyrics imply. They want him to accept them, and so they have to go to extreme measures to assure that. They have total control over him, as shown in the video where he his either on the operation table or posing lifelessly next to them. There's lots of needles, gas masks, knives and scissors as well as pills and medical solutions, and the actual operating room looks somewhat believable too, so kudos to SM for not only putting them in a box.
The massive dose of hot pink (did Tiffany have a hand in this?) is not too bad, actually. It fits surprisingly well with the song and concept, and the flashy nurse outfits look great on the girls.

The problems however, and yes there are quite a few, really overshadow the positive elements of the video. I mentioned the editing and the filters, but there is more than that unfortunately. For instance, there's the car park scene. My guess is that this was one of the scenes the had to reshoot afterwards, because it has no relevance or connection to the rest of the video. The setting seems strange, the clothes don't match and it does look a bit like it was just thrown in there to fill out some empty space.
Also, where on earth is the choreography? There are barely any dancing in this, and the dance break that do exist is almost entirely cut out. I also really do like the suits though, so I'm sad they weren't shown more. 

In conclusion, the overall feeling I had after watching this video was disappointment. The song is not bad at all and the girls have never looked better, but this video was a mess. Honestly, they deserve so much better. It does neither the song nor them any justice, and that just sucks. No matter what though, Sones will make sure they at least win some trophies and top the charts like the always do. Like netizens have been saying; SNSD is a wall you simply cannot climb over. 

MV: 3,2/5 

Moving on with the rest of the mini album, the song following the title track is quite different from the heavy sound of Mr.Mr. The sound of Goodbye is sassy and confident, and it's a nice uptempo track with a bit of attitude. Without seeing the translation of the lyrics, you kind of understand what the song is about- saying goodbye to an unappreciative boyfriend. It's not a sad song, it's a happy realization of discovering how much better you deserve and that no more time should be wasted on someone who treats you wrong.

Next up is Europa, which leans more towards the cutesy side of the spectrum- an area this group is well familiar with. The song is catchy enough, but it seems a bit out of place with the stronger, more powerful concept this comeback has. I still like the song, but it's not something I would put on my playlist. Wait A Minute is slightly similar to the previous track, but this is far more interesting. It could be interpreted as cute, but it feels more mature and not nearly as aegyo-filled. I took me some listens to really like the song, but now I absolutely do.

We get the unavoidable ballad in Backhug, and it baffles me why companies find it necessary to put a ballad on every single album, even when it sometimes doesn't fit at all. I personally find this song very boring. It's sweet, but it's so quiet and harmless that it becomes unidentifiable. This is a good example of a song that lacks its own character and personality, and I think the album definitely could have done without it.

The same thing can't be said about Soul, a song that wakens some early childhood memories for me. It really sounds like something that could have been taken from the late 90's/ early 20's, with the electronic beat on top of some strumming guitars. Finally there's some energy brought back to close the album, and it's an up-tempo track with lots of attitude and personality. I think everyone sounds great, the vocals are strong and filled with determination, suitable for the lyrics.

To conclude this mini album, it's not perfect nor is it a huge step forward in their musical development, but it's still pretty solid with a majority of the songs being worth listening to more than once. It sounds very SNSD, so to speak, because they do have a very specific sound.

Album Score: 3,5/5

As for this entire comeback- I enjoyed it, but as a whole it did not have the same impact as their previous comebacks. Not that the actual quality of this one is worse, it's actually a lot better, but the overall feeling is that not as much effort was put into this by SM. Such a shame, because the girls are working what they're given as much as they can. Is it a bit underwhelming? Yes, unfortunately. Maybe the hype was just too high and those expectations were not fully met. However, does this make this a bad comeback? Definitely not, but then again, is it even possible for SNSD to have a bad comeback?

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