The Asia 24/7 Fan-mily Talks: SM, and The ‘SNSD Crisis’

The Asia 24:7 Fan-mily Talks

Introducing Asia 24/7 latest feature, ‘The 24/7 Fan-mily Talks,’ where everyone here at Asia 24/7 gets together and share our opinions on Korean Entertainment current events. For our first ever debate, we’re talking about the alledged SNSD Crisis.’

Due to a pretty miserable loss to relative rookies 2ne1 in the “Girl Group War” back in March, relationship revelations, disbandment rumors, and general controversy, there has been a question whether the group is facing a downfall. We’re here to discuss whether we believe hard times are ahead for SNSD, why SM artists seem to hit a brick wall after a certain time, and how changes in the industry are effecting SM, and it’s artists.

**this topic was discussed prior to the Taeyeon/Baekhyun ‘controversy’**

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La Shauna:

Hard times have hit SNSD since the release of “The Boys,” and that whole attempt to make an American debut. I feel like at this point every agency in Korea, especially the ‘Big 3,’ should have learned a big ol’ lesson from Psy, and an even bigger lesson from JYP. As the GBW Panel discussed in depth, a big reason for JYP’s position in the industry today is because they tried to force an American debut. YOU CAN’T DO IT! Wait for the public to call for you. When an artists/group is away from their main fan base for extended periods of time, SOMEONE will come in a give them what they wanted rendering the original useless in a sense. This can of course be prevented if your music is top notch. Now, SNSD was not away in the US for too long, but from that point onward they’ve been spending 90% of their year in Japan releasing new music constantly, and 10% in Korea releasing just one less than okay albums, and that, is a a big part of why they suddenly seem to be in crisis. Their music isn’t what it used to be. While I’ve always been a fan of Girls’ Generation, to an extent, I’ve never LOVED an album by them. They are constantly failing to release cohesive albums, but it was always overlooked because their promotional songs were so dang catchy. Now that they’ve been missing the mark with their title songs (The Boys, I Got A Boy, and Mr.Mr), they have nothing to cover the cracks.

I hate to bring up 2ne1, but seeing as the Girl Group War did happened, I must. There’s a reason they didn’t perform nearly as well as 2ne1 did. They spent a year away, and their album was so disjointed, and dull with barely two songs to be remembered by. Rather than come to us fans with something fresh, but still in touch with the reasons we loved them in the first place, “Mr.Mr” was every bit the SNSD we heard 3-4 years ago. 2ne1 spent 3 years away and it was worth every bit of the wait, with major revamps on what is becoming their signature song.

Ciara:

I don’t think that this is the end of GG. Is this the end of an era? Most likely. To be honest, I not that big of a GG fan. The first video I saw from them was “Run Devil Run” and I was hooked. I thought that all of their videos were going to be like that – fierce and fun – and then I heard “Gee” and “Oh!”. I lost interest – quick. Although cutesy videos make me cringe (although as not as much as before), I think it’s one of SNSD’s charms that has helped bring them to this point. Even today, I heard that people became a fan of them because of those two videos.

The fact of the matter is that when SNSD first started most (if not all) of them were teenagers. They could sing and pull of cute concepts quite easily. Now that they are more mature, they have to do one of two things 1) Straddle the line – meaning that they have to do just the right amount of cute concepts while they still can or 2) Turn Into Grown Woman – doing more mature concepts, which is not to be confused with just doing sexier concepts. Sexy ≠ Mature. It also means leaving the cuteness behind – for good.

And to be honest, I’m not sure if SNSD is ready to or if they can afford to do that.

La Shauna:

I totally agree. It is not the end of Girls’ Generation, and that they desperately need a revamp. SNSD has been singing virtually the same song for 3 years now, and that’s it. They need to evolve their music beyond bringing all the boys to the yard. A good chunk of the members are in relationships, it wouldn’t hurt them to channel that. In fact, it might make fans more comfortable with the idea that, they’ve got love (and marriage) on their brains.

June:

As a SNSD fan, I certainly was annoyed with all the articles coming about a disbandment. I never got why Korea is so against idols dating freely. I mean heck even stars like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber are allowed to date freely (but how that went down is a whole other story.) So to me, I’m all for the girls openly dating. (Whew I had to get that off of my chest!) Moving on, I’ll be the first to admit it but I did enjoy their new mini and I’m probably in the minority for that. I thought it was an easy listen and I love listening to it while working on my internship or just driving in the car. While I did enjoy it, I know others didn’t. I read some comments how SNSD should make a song like Gee again but even the girls have said how they didn’t like that concept. I think as fans we should accept that and know that they most likely won’t have a song or concept like that again. In regards of the “Girl Group War,” which I wish the media would always pitting women against each other, wasn’t new to me. I remember in 2009 when 2ne1 beat them when they were promoting “Genie.” It’s nothing new and I know the girls aren’t going to win everything. I know I’m in the minority but I did not enjoy 2ne1’s album and I felt like it sounded like the generic pop music on the radio these days and the same thing YG releases all the time.  But different tastes for different people. SNSD has accomplished so much and they are the top girl group and it just makes me wonder if and when there will be a girl group who can surpass them. In the end, only time can tell what will happen to SNSD.

Rachel:

June, I was also pretty annoyed by those articles about SNSD’s “downfall” because of dating scandals, but I think a majority of them were written just to generate attention. In fact, I agree with La Shauna in that these so-called “scandals” may actually help with SNSD’s growth into a mature-sounding group.

It’s hard to say if this lackluster comeback is the sign of SNSD’s decline because we have yet to see a girl group that can surpass the amount of popularity SNSD has generated. The fact is that no matter how many low-quality singles SM churns out, there will always be a huge amount of fans to buy physical CDs and a lot of people who may buy the song digitally just because its SNSD. You could say the same thing for American Pop stars like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. The average consumer probably doesn’t think their music is the greatest in the world, but they buy it anyways.

However, if the girls continue to release songs that are just average, I think they’ll probably fall into a rut similar to that of Super Junior, supported mainly by their vast fanbase, but ignored by many others. I still think its too early to tell whether SNSD will be heading down that path or not.

I also agree with June in that the whole “Girl Group War” thing shouldn’t really be addressed that much because the two groups have such different musical styles and shouldn’t really be compared. I think it should be noted that while there were a lot of people who didn’t like SNSD’s mini, there were also a lot of people who didn’t like 2ne1’s release either. I believe that the main reason why people believe 2ne1 “won” this war is because they delayed their comeback for a long amount of time. In fact, I think it might be best if SNSD does the same. They should take a break and focus on other activities, which a lot of them already do, like acting, mcing, and even solo debuts/subunits. Perhaps if they come back after taking a well-deserved break, they might be able to bring themselves back from the rut they are in danger of falling into.

La Shauna:

Let’s be honest here, all good things come to an end, however, the end can be put off if handled correctly. SNSD is still a young group, with none of the members too close to 30. That being said, being young doesn’t mean being girls. I wasn’t aware there was a backlash for their public dating, obviously I figured some delulu fans would have a hissy fit, but I agree with June and Rachel that dating is no reason to turn on the girls. However, as I’ve said SNSD is moving on to a new stage in their lives and fans can’t expect them to stay asexual mannequins for the rest of their lives. Let me see some growth for crying out loud! Let me see that you’re not just in a relationship for show, and that you know what goes into one.

SNSD’s problems really aren’t their fault. The problem lies with SM. SM produces these idol groups that are supposed to be perceived as so perfect, that they’re doll-like. And while their visuals and sound are pleasing and catchy, dolls don’t grow, or mature or change. You can’t make dolls out of human beings, which is where SM’s greatest plot hole lies. And this is reflected in many of their groups and why they all seem to hit a “wall” after a certain point in their lifespan. When your perfect puppets become real boys and girls your system fails. And yes, you can replace them with new puppets, but that doesn’t stop history from repeating itself.

To bring up 2ne1 one last time,YG and it’s artists, like 2ne1, have mastered this. 2ne1 sings about insecurities with their looks, self confidence, not needing a man, wanting a man, loneliness, being an outcast, being rejected. They grow with their fans. They may have started off with 16 year old fans, but those 16 years old are gonna grow up be in relationships, feel bad about about themselves, and will be able to relate. How many listeners can relate to being so perfect that every guy that sees them do back flips to get with them? Not me!

Ciara:

I do agree with the comments above. I mean, I still think that dating, be it among idols, actors, whoever, shouldn’t be a scandal. As a fan, I don’t think it’s necessarily our business. Granted, celebs are in the public eye so things will get published even when they aren’t meant to, but personal details aren’t our business. That’s a different topic for a different day.

“Scandal” aside, I honestly think that GG could make a comeback. I don’t see why they couldn’t – I just think that they need to step their game up and bring a change. They are getting older, after all.

I don’t know that much about how SM and how they’re managing their other artists, but I will say that whatever they are doing, they need to go back to the drawing board. I feel like some of these scandals happen because of SM. I’m sure that there are other agency’s that do this, but I always hear about SM leaking things and then denying it in the end. I’m not sure if the dating scandals were because of SM, but I feel that as a company they could probably take better measures to protect their artists.

Also, could we have some better songs please? I mean, “Mr.Mr” is now a jam, but when I first heard the song and saw the music video, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I thought that a song like “Goodbye” would have been an excellent title track. I think this all goes back to a maturity level. SNSD is in a place right now where they are able to choose – to either grow or be stifled. The only way that they can grow is if they have a company that backs them.

I hate to compare, but I have to agree with La Shauna. 2ne1 might take a long time (a long ass time YG) to release an album, but I can sense their maturity. I can sense their growth. I can relate with their music.

I think that maybe SNSD needs to take a break. A break from music in general and just live for about a year or so and then come out with an album.

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We want to hear from you! Weight in on ‘SNSD Crisis’ in the comments below.

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