Sep 7, 2015
SNSD Comes Back In Doubles: "Lion Heart" VS "You Think"
A couple of months ago Girls' Generation made their awaited comeback with "Party", and I was less than excited. It was a fun, upbeat summer song with a pretty video but I honestly thought it was a bit bland and definitely a bit too boring for a SNSD title track. Although they've had some pretty distinct title tracks in the past ("I Got A Boy" anyone?) they've at least been interesting in one way or another. I simply wasn't feeling it with "Party", but now they've come back with two new MV's. Hopefully at least one of them will manage to excite me.
"Lion Heart" was the first to be released out of the two, and based on fans expectations this was the one that would be the least impressive. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but I found that after listening to it and watching the MV I couldn't understand why people weren't hyped about this. "Lion Heart" is, in my opinion, classic SNSD. It's feminine, sweet and catchy and all the members get to sing almost equally long parts. It's a miracle! Many people might find the song boring but I absolutely love it. I think the chorus is lovely and they all sound wonderful. It does remind me a bit of their Japanese single "My Oh My", which I also loved, but it's distinct enough not to feel like a rehash.
As for the MV itself it's pretty much "I Got A Boy" Part 2, but with more plot and more depth. "I Got A Boy" had one of the most confusing song structures ever and the video wasn't making it any better either. I don't mind the "girl-meets-boy-and-falls-in-love" concept but in their 2013 comeback video it was portrayed in an insanely shallow and childish way, and watching the girls fawn with their eyes and mouth wide open over literally nothing made my head hurt. "Lion Heart" does have some of those scenes as well, as the members all meet their mysterious man with the lion heart and go crazy over him for no real reason, but it doesn't end there.
The man, who appropriately has the head of a lion, are meeting with all the girls at different time and woes them, and unlike most K-pop videos he actually gets to face the consequences. After inviting them all to the same place at the same time, which is quite stupid but maybe he's just forgetful, they all start raging and beating him for playing with them. That's how I like these "girl-meets-boy" stories to end. You go girls!
The story is divided into three chapters, and the first one is the meeting between the lion man and the girls. They all have different sets in which they meet him, whether it be on a train, in an art studio or on the road with a broken down car. He effortlessly manages to seduce them by helping them out or showing off his charms, and they all fall head over heels in love. In chapter two they discover his playboy ways and his untamable "lion heart", and they part ways after the girls join forces to make him regret his decisions. Or at least they try to. The actual MV is over by then but an epilogue in black and white shows us the third chapter, as the last chorus of the song replays, and here we see the man trying to beg for forgiveness and try to get them back. The members ignore him, as they should be doing, and it results in some pretty funny scenes.
While the plot is fun and the girls seem to enjoy letting loose and playing around with it the main highlight for me with the MV is the styling and the aesthetics. The song itself is slightly retro-sounding, but it's the video that truly sends us back a few decades. For the most part it's very 60's, and I love all the clothes they're wearing to match the fashion worn at that time, but there's also a bit of the 20's thrown in with the flapper dresses they also wear. All the sets are made to look old-fashioned and retro as well, and the colors are bright and popping. They definitely went a bit out of their way by shooting a video that wasn't as box-based and instead used different sets and props, which I really appreciate.
From fans' speculations I never would have thought I'd enjoy this video as much as I did, but I definitely don't feel embarrassed by admitting that I really like it. I think the song is lovely with a great and catchy hook, the plot is fun and sweet and the girls look better than ever before. I love the clothes and I love their hair and makeup, and although some parts of it are a bit cheesy it's still one of this group's better MV's in recent days.
"You Think" was released only a day after, and I was honestly very excited towards seeing what all fans had been raging about since the teaser video was released. From said video it did sound promising, but I wasn't really buying into all the hype because this is a territory that SNSD is less experienced in. They've down sexier concepts before, such as "The Boys" and even "Mr.Mr", but they've leveled up for this second half of the comeback. I get that this kind of fierce, bad-ass concept is what many fans (international ones especially) have been craving for a long time, and I do understand the appeal. Seeing girls take commando and showing themselves in a confident, self-aware light is important and necessary, but with this comeback I have realized something that all Sones should realize too; this isn't SNSD's forte.
I also wonder what happened to the fantastically even line distribution, as this song seems to be TTS plus Sunny because none of the others vocals are featured at all, basically. Sooyoung and Hyoyeon get a rap portion each at the end though, but they both sound quite bad and definitely add to the cringe if anything. Sunny however sounds flawless singing in her lower register with a more powerful voice, and it makes me angry that she doesn't always get to sing like this.
I could get more into how I like the song but I'm thinking about saving that for the album review, but let me tell you one thing: it's not as good as many make it out to be. No, this is not slayage and this is definitely not SNSD's best song in years so stop trying to make it more special than what it is. I will say though that I like the powerful lyrics, but they definitely sounded better in English on the demo.
As for the MV I can't say I enjoyed it much better either. If "Lion Heart" took the girls out of the box "You Think" shoves them right back into it. There are two main sets; one dark, gritty one and one sparkly, colorful one with an overuse of shiny items. There's not much more to it, as the video consists of solo shots and group shots where they either lip sync, dance or do both. The MV "You Think" is clearly emphasized on the visuals and the choreography, which doesn't make it bad per se, but this one happens to be very boring. Neither of the two sets are very attractive or pleasing to look at, and the colorful one especially is embarrassingly tacky as well. It's so painfully obvious how much SM has tried to make this the "dark, sexy and bad" video of the bunch, and of SNSD's career in Korea in general, and that's where it falls for me. Everything from the clothes to the sets to the song is very predictable for a group that decides to switch from a lighter to a darker concept, and although I see why fans enjoy SNSD trying out this type of concept this is not how it should have been done to flatter them the most.
Although the styling is fine for the most part and all the girls look gorgeous, which they would have done no matter what, it all comes off a bit lackluster to me. Maybe the hype got the better of me and now I'm making out this video to be way worse than it is, but I am genuinely disappointed. I wanted this song and video to be what other fans wanted as well; a chance for SNSD to show off their sexier, tougher selves and bring out the real power, but it fell a bit short.
I can't seem take most them very seriously as the sexy bad girls they pretend to be in this video, and if anything their awkwardness is only highlighted more which really shouldn't be the outcome. I will say that I have seen the live performances and liked them a bit better, but I'm still not feeling this comeback. It's a shame, really.
Despite what I thought and despite what many fans had made this double title track comeback out to be, I actually enjoyed "Lion Heart" far more than "You Think". I literally liked everything better with the former; from the song to the video to the styling. Although I'm all for girl power and sexy SNSD it just wasn't done very well with "You Think", as the video was low-budget basic and the song lacked that something extra.
It seems the Korean public agree with me as it has fallen quickly on the charts whereas "Lion Heart" still sits at a pretty high position. I applaud them for trying another route and maybe they'll do better next time, but for now I'm very happy with them releasing a song like "Lion Heart", and I can't wait to hear the rest of the album.