As one of the most popular girl groups leading K-pop's international expansion—and arguably one of the biggest girl groups in the world—Girls' Generation's new set of songs is cause for global celebration. In fact, the nine-member act's new EP Mr.Mr. is doing just that, going No. 1 on 11 country's iTunes Albums charts so far.
Since the January 2013 release of their fourth full-length K-pop album I Got a Boy, GG have proven themselves a formidable global act, most notably at the debut YouTube Music Awards. Their fanbase triumphed over Beliebers, Directioners and Little Monsters to snag the girls the Video of the Year award. Meanwhile, the album's title track was 2013's most-watched K-pop video (other than Psy's "Gentleman" of course) and the biggest-selling K-pop track (again, other than Psy) here in America.
On their latest, Girls' Generation prove they can break international lines. Whether you're a longtime GG fan or a casual listener, here are the nine reasons to love these six shiny new tracks.
1. Lead Single "Mr.Mr."
Produced by American hitmakers the Underdogs—who have worked with Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears—"Mr.Mr." is a delicious slice of electro-pop with a few more genres cooked inside. There's a crunchy hip hop beat, while EDM gets a nod with the chorus' build-up and beat drop, and some silvery disco strings are slipped into the song. While "I Got a Boy" was brilliant for its bold genre and tempo shifts, "Mr.Mr." has just as many aural elements, but is blended more smoothly.
2. The Quentin Tarantino-Esque Cover
Sure, we're a little bummed about the girls not being on the EP's cover art, but we're loving the concept! It's giving us strong Quentin Tarantino movie poster flashbacks.
3. A Promising Dance Break in "Mr.Mr."
At the 2:37 mark of "Mr.Mr.," a monotone female voices counts down for an instrumental breakdown that we're dying to see the girls get down to in concert. GG's chief dancer Hyoyeon should get her rightful spotlight to shine here during the performances.
UPDATE: We were right! Watch the girls get down on the dance break and play sophisticated surgeons in the dazzling "Mr.Mr." video below.
4. Potential to Chart High
Girls' Generation scored the highest-charting K-pop album on the Billboard 200 to date when their Twinkle EP hit No. 126. Despite no American promo, Mr.Mr. hit the Top 10 of the U.S. iTunes Albums Chart and remains in the Top 40 its third day out. While its iTunes position will certainly go down with no Stateside appearances planned, if the interest can stay high enough digitally, could the gals break their own record?
5. The Funk Elements
Fans may not hear it on first listen, but Mr.Mr. sees GG channeling their inner soul divas more than ever. "Goodbye" is a throwback-inspired R&B-pop track with the slightest bit of Pharrell's "Blurred Lines" production in there. Toward the end of "Waiting a Minute," listen for Tiffany's soulful humming, plus the group's jazzy scat singing. Even synthy dance track "Europa" closes out with a funky guitar improv section.
6. Further Establishes Them as Vocalists
K-pop videos are undoubtedly entertaining, known for high-budget, glossy treatments. But Mr.Mr.'s strongest point is the emphasis on the group's vocals, most obviously on the title track—aka, the song people will listen to the most. "Mr.Mr." sees GG belting vocals that grow stronger as it modulates to higher (and more difficult-to-sing) keys.
8. The Adorable "Back Hug"
While six songs might limit the amount of material you can cover, the ladies still include a heartwarming track about back hugs! Not sure what a "back hug" is? It's that way-too-cute moment when you're significant other surprises and squeezes you from behind—let Yoona demonstrate for you here. As if we weren't falling in love with these girls already, they end the song with a request: "Please cover my heart." Awww.
7. "Soul" in Korean
GG fans will instantly recognize the set's closer, "Soul," as the Korean version of the band's first-ever Chinese song "Find Your Soul," released last November. While it's always a treat to hear the group conquer in different languages—who remembers 2012 English single "The Boys"?!?—it's fun to hear them record those international bops for the K-pop community.
9. Short, Sweet, But Strong
Admittedly, six songs might not seem like much—but can one really complain when the six are this strong? While last year's I Got a Boy ambitiously included songs dabbling in EDM, jazz-pop, minimal R&B and more, Mr.Mr. feels tighter. It certainly makes a case that Girls' Generation is more musically focused than ever.