What the return of Girls’ Generation means

By Kim Arin
  • Published : Aug 29, 2018 - 15:23
  • Updated : Aug 29, 2018 - 15:23

Girls’ Generation announced Monday that it is set to re-emerge on the fall music scene, just over a year after releasing its 10th anniversary album, “Holiday Night,” last August.

Though we won’t be seeing all eight members together this time, we will be treated to the next best thing: the subunit “OH! GG,” composed of Taeyeon, Yoona, Yuri, Hyoyeon and Sunny. The five are releasing a two-track album Sept. 5, and the lead single will be titled “Lil’ Touch.” 

Girls` Generation (S.M. Entertainment)

For a while now, fans of Girls’ Generation have been thirsting for a much-needed update. When three band members opted not to renew their contracts last year, prospects of group ventures seemed dim, so this latest announcement comes as a welcome surprise.

Sooyoung, Seohyun and Tiffany decided not to re-sign with S.M. Entertainment, one of South Korea’s big three music labels, which had handled the group since its debut. That decision, though disappointing for many fans, was certainly a brave one considering the success of “Holiday,” which topped Billboard’s World Albums chart and proved the band’s lasting star power as an eight-member team.

Girls’ Generation hasn’t officially “disbanded,” however. The three who left the label to pursue individual projects vowed loyalty to the band.

“I will do my best to be with Girls’ Generation whenever and wherever my presence is needed. I will always support and be with Girls’ Generation,” wrote Seohyun in an Instagram post following the news of her decision to part ways with her former label.

Tiffany, who is starting afresh in the US with a whole new show business career there, said in an Aug. 10 interview with Yonhap that she believes she can “return to Girls’ Generation anytime,” likening her bandmates to “friends and sisters” and the group to “family and home.”

Yoona, Hyoyeon, Taeyeon, Sunny and Yuri debut as a quintet on Sept. 5. (S.M. Entertainment)

To merely say Girls’ Generation is K-pop’s longest-running girl group vastly understates its extraordinary significance. Not only has the group managed to dodge the ephemerality that is the fate of most idol groups -- it has also succeeded in staying relevant throughout its 11-year-old existence, spending an exceptionally prolonged amount of time on top of its game. It is a rare feat in a young people's industry that Girls’ Generation has been synonymous with “South Korea’s No. 1 girl group” for as long as anyone of the same generation can remember.

After S.M. Entertainment confirmed the imminent debut of the Girls’ Generation quintet, Billboard followed up on the news immediately. The Facebook announcement on Girls’ Generation’s official page became one of its most engaged posts, scoring over 72,000 likes and 22,000 shares in approximately 24 hours.

Girls’ Generation is here to stay, as the Girls promised from the beginning.

By Kim Arin (arin@heraldcorp.com)