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K-Pop Korner: Back in Black

May 17, 2010

Girl’s Generation, or Soh Nyeo Shidae as they are known in their native tongue, were my inaugural choice for K-Pop Korner, and I had intended to revisit them roughly one year after I had first started exploring the mindfuck realm of Korean pop music. Alas, circumstances dictated otherwise, I was called out on my bias toward the fairer K-sex and had to balance the Korner out with a mention of some pop stars (barely) in possession of Y chromosomes.

Girl’s Generation released their second album in January of this year. The name of the album, “Oh!”, was also the name of the first single, a hideous ultra-saccharine tune that took the cute image/concept favoured by many Korean girl groups and really cranked it up, delivering a cringe-worthy ditty with squeaky vocals and an accompanying video of the SNSD girls dressed as cheerleaders. Watching the video is akin to watching hyperactive young women perform in a children’s pantomime, every gesture and action by the girls is extraordinarily childish and the imagery will rot the teeth in your skull. For their second single, however, Girl’s Generation unveiled a radical shift in image and direction so dramatic and thrilling that it was built up with online teaser trailers. The coup de grâce of the second album was the “Black Soshi” concept, essentially the idea to dress all the girl’s in tight black clothes and have them sing a more mature and sultry song, the second single, “Run Devil Run”. “Soshi” is simply a nickname and contraction of Soh Nyeo Shidae and is used commonly by their fanbase. As well as the obvious benefit of making them look like adult women, the “Black Soshi” concept was intended to convey a more dangerous side to the popular girl group. Descriptions of the new look claim that the black-clothed versions of the girls are in fact their malevolent alter-egos, despite the one song and video in which this concept is explored being completely bereft of any malevolent themes, ideas or actions.

“Run Devil Run” is a song about a girl telling a guy that she is wise to his habitual philandering, she’s on to him, knows all his tricks and is telling him to fuck off. This is a recurrent theme amongst girl group acts in Korea, the more “mature” songs tending to involve young women informing their cheating men that they won’t tolerate the deceit and humiliation they are being subjected to. They are perhaps emancipatory songs aimed at empowering a young generation of Korean women with a tougher attitude to counter the lingering chauvinism of Korean men. “Run Devil Run” is another guilty pleasure of mine, easily the group’s best single since the smash hit “Gee”.

Here is the video (with English subtitles).

Girl’s Generation – “Run Devil Run”

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2 comments

  1. I love the song and I think Yuri, Tiffany and Seohyun look amazing.


  2. See, I should really know who is who in the group, but I don’t. In my defense, there are nine of them.

    Jessica is the one with the blonde hair, right?



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