Hallyu stars Girls’ Generation has released Dancing Queen, its first official release in almost a year, with the album officially dropping today, January 1. I’ve actually been trying to squeak this one in so I can have a blog entry for January 1 – I made another blog entry, but I’ve been unsuccessful at uploading images for it since my Internet connection here at the hotel I’m currently in, seems to be sketchy – so I trust all y’all SONEs will forgive me if there isn’t any image right now showing up on your screen.
Clearly Dancing Queen will be wildly successful. It is already number one across all the K-pop sales and airplay charts, and will no doubt be Girls’ Generation’s latest chart-topper. This is actually the first Girls’ Generation carrier single in a while that I liked at first listen. Sure, it was originally Mercy by British singer Duffy, continuing a tradition of SNSD picking up songs from other artists that doesn’t appear to be abating anytime soon, but they chose a good pop song to rehash, and I like what they’ve done with it.
On the con’s side, I am not a fan of the dance moves. Girls’ Generation has always had terrific dance moves, but the dance moves on Dancing Queen – oh, the irony of that title – left me a little cold. The only two standout moves in the MV were the John Travolta in Grease-ish “point to the sky” move, and the kitty-cat hand gesture thing so distinctly comparable to T-ara’s Bo Peep. I’ve read enough defenses from my fellow SONEs online that say Girls’ Generation came first, but at this point, what difference does it make? It isn’t particularly fresh.
IMHO, 2012 was a horrible year for many SM Entertainment artists. Despite the brilliance of BoA’s The Only One and f(x)’s Electric Shock, SME sure released some stinkers, including Super Junior’s Sexy Free and Single, its weakest carrier single ever, SHINee’s bizarre Sherlock, EXO’s underwhelming Mama, and TVXQ’s incomprehensible Catch Me and Humanoids.
Clearly, SM Entertainment needs to step their game up this 2013. I think they’re starting off in the right direction with Girls’ Generation’s Dancing Queen, because it’s catchy, but the freshness that Lee Soo Man was famous for, that sound that helped make Hallyu huge the past few years, needs to be returned asap. For starters, stop purchasing songs from overseas. (Please, taking songs from Kesha needs to stop.) Return to that winning K-Pop sound that SME is famous for creating. Stop shooting videos in studio sets or darkly lit rooms – tip o’ the hat to Simon and Martina – and consider a decent storyboard. YG Entertainment is kicking SME’s butt, and other labels like TS Entertainment, Starship Entertainment, and Cube Entertainment are starting to gain momentum. SME needs to get back in the game.