by Fontina Battaglia
On August 4, 2007, a brand-new K-Pop girl group debuted. This group, Girls’ Generation (소녀시대, SNSD), with their debut song “Into the New World” would become one of the most impactful K-Pop groups for generations to come.
According to Allkpop, the eight (originally nine) membered girl group has released seven albums in South Korea and three in Japan and has sold over 5 million albums total according to Korean Sales. The girls are even successful K-Pop soloists and actors. The group has been given the title of “Nation’s Girl Group” in South Korea because of how successful they are.
But what impacts has Girls’ Generation had?
According to fan Mia Chon, Girls’ Generation represents nostalgia.
With their single “Gee”, they dominated the industry with the cute concept, and with their sixth studio album “I Got a Boy”, the concept of noise music was introduced and is still actively used to this day.
They also opened the Japanese music industry to K-Pop with their remakes of the songs “Genie” and “Gee” in Japanese, as well as with their first Japanese album, Girls’ Generation.
In their second studio album “Oh!”, they started producing photocards. Photocards are pieces of hard paper with a K-pop idol’s face on them and possibly a signature. Since their release, a whole market has bloomed from trading and selling them. The FanCams you see across Tiktok and Twitter? Member Yuri started them at a 2010 concert.
Their fans, known as Sone, completely agree.
“They’re literally the blueprint. I can name you so many groups that are carbon copies of Girls’ Generation… People are still trying to make the new Girls’ Generation. Every group nowadays is trying to emulate what they did. All their achievements are still being talked about,” said Sone Paris Anderson when asked about Girls’ Generation’s impact on K-Pop today.
While they have impacted K-Pop in a positive way, they have also affected it negatively. Having loads of popularity comes with loads of creepy fans, or sasaengs, as they’re called. The girls were known for their “perfect bodies”, an unhealthy standard the future women in K-Pop would be forced to fit into.
After their album “Holiday Night” in 2017, three members of Girls’ Generation decided to leave the company. This was the start of the group’s five-year hiatus. During it, members Taeyeon, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Yuri, and Yoona formed the subunit Oh! GG. All eight girls released solo albums and continued their acting careers.
In early 2022, speculation about the group’s return was released. On August 5, 2022, Girls’ Generation released their first album in five years, “Forever 1.”
In reviewing this album, Anderson said, “They served c*nt and left.”
As K-Pop gets bigger and the community grows, many things can be tied back to the second generation of K-Pop, specifically Girls’ Generation. (The second generation of K-Pop refers to any group debuting between 2004-2010.)