SNSD is back with another album for their 10th anniversary, and given how much I enjoyed their upgraded sound on their ‘Lion Heart‘ album, I was looking forward to ‘Holiday Night‘ in the hopes of hearing some classic SNSD mixed with some modern SNSD and what I got was just that.
1. “Girls Are Back”
“Girls Are Back” is a funk driven song with some disco elements, similar to “All Night” but also vastly different. The chorus is a pure 70s chorus with them singing along in harmony. The verses are reserved for drums with that awesome 70s guitar plucking, while the chorus remains more whimsical. The bridge isn’t that much of a highlight, but it doesn’t break the song either. Sunny really stands out on this track as she’s singing in a normal tone. Overall, “Girls Are Back” served as a good start for the album.
2. “All Night”
I’ve reviewed this song already, but basically I dig the mixture of retro disco with the more modern house trend a lot and it’s one of SNSD’s best songs.
This has also already been reviewed, and basically it’s a great show-tune number, my personal favorite of the two title tracks and one of my favorite 2017 tracks overall.
“Fan” serves anime vibes, which isn’t a bad thing for me at all. In fact it reminds me a bit of a KARA track with how dramatic it sounds; it’s sort of like a distant cousin of “Pandora“, and it also sounds like a song that would have made it onto their ‘The Boys‘ album, which had other similar tracks like “Vitamin“. Tiffany and Taeyeon‘s voices stand out the most here. “Fan” is one of those songs that you have to have an acquired taste for, and in my position as a ‘Sailor Moon‘ fan, it’s spot on.
5. “Only One”
I can’t hate this. It sounds like something from their debut album which holds a very near and dear place in my heart, so I’m naturally biased for this. It’s a pretty sounding acoustic driven song, not quite a ballad though. Think along the lines of “Honey“, or “Baby Baby“ but just a bit slower. In fact I don’t even doubt that this was first recorded in 2007 and then re-recorded here. Their voices all mix together as if it’s that time too. If you’re not into old school SNSD then you understandable might not like this one, but for me, it’s a keeper.
6. “One Last Time”
The first real ballad on the album, and as someone who isn’t usually crazy for SNSD’s ballads, I wasn’t expecting to love this, but it’s just so different from their other ballads and it’s better because of it. For one, it actually has a beat, and two, it isn’t the same snippet of music repeated for four-plus minutes. It keeps the emotion within their voices as their other ballads, but it winds up having a greater impact due to the changes. Seohyun‘s work during the bridge is great and Taeyeon’s belting works in favor of the song seeing as it’s reserved for the choruses and they don’t over-process her vocals. Overall, if I could recommend an SNSD ballad, “One Last Time” would be that ballad.
7. “Sweet Talk”
“Sweet Talk” is one of SNSD’s best B-sides in general. In terms of their past stuff think of the more mature dance tracks form their Japanese releases (i.e. “T.O.P“ , “Lips“) mixed with the bops on their ‘I Got A Boy‘ album (i.e. “Look At Me“) and you pretty much have “Sweet Talk.” It’s very much an early-to-mid-2000s Blaque song, which is what makes it so great. It’s driven by synths and horns carried by sexy lyrics and more sensual singing. The chorus is a really killer and in a surprise twist, Yuri starts off the song and sounds better than ever. In fact, those that normally don’t get recognized for their singing (Yuri, Sooyoung, YoonA, Hyoyeon, and Sunny) all sound so good on this song that part of me wishes it was just them on the song. Also, Tiffany fully admits to being a “good girl turned bad”, so you heard it here, folks.
8. “Love Is Bitter”
“Love Is Bitter” is my second favorite track, but I can understand that it won’t be everyone’s favorite. It’s one of those smooth jazz songs that they’d play over the intercom at Macy’s or Carson’s, but I tend to rather enjoy those types of tunes. It’s rather lush and something that keeps my foot tapping and overall pleasant to my ears. Big shout out to Hyoyeon and Yuri, who SM has finally allowed to carry the chorus, and Seohyun and Taeyeon who sound great on the verses; as well as Tiffany who ends the song on a good note. It’s some pretty big role reversal, but the outcome was fantastic.
9. “It’s You”
It’s not great and is the most boring track on the album. It’s not even technically a ballad, it’s just bland and the chorus isn’t that great enough to make up for the fact that the song is beige. It’s one of those acoustic songs, but it’s not very reminiscent of their debut days as much as it is just a blank slate acoustic song. It’s not a song I’d necessarily skip, but outside of when I’m listening to the album as a whole, I don’t see myself going for this song on it’s own.
10. “Light Up The Sky”
This basically a modern version of one of their early-days upbeat/inspirational ballads. It starts off sounding like it will be just average before the huge chorus kicks in and it becomes one of SNSD’s greatest ballads ever. It does have that 90s kick to it as their 2007-08 stuff did, but more modern with the edition of what I swear are trap kicks thrown into the bridge around YoonA and Taeyeon’s parts. Everyone stands out here, and it’s a great way to end this album. There’s also another Jessica cameo towards the end.
SNSD are a group that is without a doubt one of K-pop’s most legendary groups and nothing can take that away from them. It honestly bugs me how their fans think of their position as so fickle within the industry, with their defensiveness and complaining about everything. ‘Holiday Night’ doesn’t feel like a rushed job, rather every song reminds you of some era of SNSD, whether that’s their fresh-faced 2007 selves, matured 2011 selves, or their new and improved grown-ass women selves.
It’s an album that is just as new as it is nostalgic, which is highly suitable for a group celebrating their 10th anniversary. Believe it or not, there was a time where SNSD was not known for their B-sides, as they were always more known for their catchy upbeat singles and girly but cool concepts, but that’s really changed (at least with me) since the quality of their albums stepped up in 2013. I’m torn as to rather I like this more than ‘Lion Heart’, but as far as SNSD albums go, it definitely packs a punch.