Certain girl groups shape a generation, and few have had as much impact on the current state of K-pop as Girls’ Generation.
Ten years since releasing the anthemic “Into the New World” on Aug. 2, 2007, the Girls commemorated their anniversary Friday (Aug. 4) with the celebratory release of brand-new music for the first time in two years.
The Girls' sixth studio album Holiday Night contains 10 tracks, including the singles “Holiday” and “All Night.” Vibrant in their bubblegum pop styling, the two songs revel in the Girls and their long-lasting career through retro-tinged party music.
The timelessly peppy “Holiday” is a brassy summer song overflowing with bright funk elements and quirky synths, while “All Night," with its Auto-Tuned cutesy opening line of “I like to party,” is a lively nu-disco tune that feels like it was pulled straight from the ‘80s with thumping bass and twinkly electronic melody.
Like their best hits, the energetic, titular hooks of each single -- “Ho-Ho-Holiday” and “All night” repeated three times in soaring unison -- offer a taste of the earworm-style choruses that the Girls are best known for. The pair also offer an impressive display of the group's diverse vocal colors, with the high notes and ad-libs of “Holiday” and the tempo changes of “All Night” allowing each woman a chance to shine.
Both “All Night” and “Holiday” are devoted testaments to Girls’ Generation's longevity and bond with their fans: "I'm feeling good, I've been waiting for this day/ We meet again like that first time we met," Taeyeon sings at the beginning of “Holiday,” a nod to the early days of their decade-spanning career, which is atypical for Korean girl groups. “Today is our holiday/ A wonderful day came that we’ve been waiting for a long time,” the Girls belt during the chorus.
Meanwhile, the group released a special documentary-style video for “All Night,” featuring the current eight members of Girls Generation -- former member Jessica Jung departed the act in 2014 -- reflecting on their career in mini-interviews. It ends with clips from the Girls' early days, offering up a quick trip down memory lane of what is now one of K-pop's most legendary acts.
Like their first single “Into the New World,” “All Night” was crafted by SM Entertainment in-house producer Kenzie, while “Holiday” features lyrics co-written by Girls’ Generation’s youngest member, Seohyun. She also wrote the lyrics for the sultry funk track "Sweet Talk," while Yuri served as the lyricist for “It's You,” or “Long-time Wish/Sone” in Korean, a mellow pop song with a sweet melody that recalls the Girls’ early sonic style and is dedicated to their loyal Sone fan army.
Holiday Night as a whole stands as a festive anniversary album that kicks off with the opening funk track “Girls Are Back,” announcing the return of the act two years after the release of their last album, 2015’s Lion Heart. The dramatic journey of “Fan,” also courtesy of Kenzie, rests beside the saccharine pop rock of “Only One,” which in turn leads into “One Last Time,” an evocative, R&B-inspired tune that features the Girls at their most expressive. “Love Is Bitter,” a jazzy song that would suit many a Broadway musical, and “Light Up the Sky,” a sweeping ballad, complete the track list.
Girls’ Generation was formed in 2007 by SM Entertainment and the then-nine-member act became the leaders of the industry in 2009 when “Gee” became the best-selling single in Korea that year. Over the years, they've flourished into one of the most prominent girl groups in Asia, and set genre trends with their flirty pop styling. A fan favorite throughout the globe, their 2013 electropop/hip-hop hybrid hit "I Got a Boy," easily one of the most ingenious songs to come out of a girl group in the past decade, won the top honors at that year's YouTube Music Awards.
Girls' Generation is one of the few girl groups in K-pop history to reach the 10-year mark.
The digital version of Holiday NIght dropped on Friday, while the physical release will take place on Monday. Girls' Generation will also hold a special "Holiday to Remember" concert in Seoul on Saturday to celebrate their anniversary with their fans.