Fifteen years into their careers, Girls’ Generation continue to defy industry odds with their latest effort offering a definitive statement.
Forever 1 is the K-pop girl group’s new album and single of the same name that celebrates their 15th anniversary. After entering the scene in August 2007, Girls’ Generation became one of K-pop’s most prominent acts (setting chart records with singles and albums while crowning lists like Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40 for multiple years) and earliest crossover stars in the west (performing on late-night and morning TV shows before K-pop acts were regularly featured).
All superstars in their own right, members Taeyeon, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Tiffany Young, Yoona, Sooyoung, Yuri and Seohyun last released music together in 2017 for a 10th-anniversary album, Holiday Night, that hit No. 1 on the World Albums chart. Then, three of eight members left longtime agency SM Entertainment for separate management homes. Despite the complicated internal situation, one that can sideline even the biggest of K-pop acts, the group has returned for a full-length album of new music led by a single that captures what always made the girl group so loved.
“Forever 1” delivers the high-energy turbo-pop that the girl group became famous for with modern-day touches like the surging synth lines. Harmony has been a cornerstone of the GG sound, and there’s a concerted focus on different vocal textures, with the members layering with one another across verses while coming together to sing on the chorus as eight.
The accompanying music video feels like no time has passed as the gang rock fashion-forward frocks and sailing-ready summer looks for group choreography inside a slew of shimmering sets. The concept for “Forever 1” feels age appropriate for a 15-year-old girl group while also being refreshing enough to compete with the slew of new-generation girl groups on the scene.
Released digitally ahead of its physical release on Aug. 8, Forever 1 boasts 10 new tracks that include songwriting work from Tiffany and Sooyoung, with Tiffany also acting as a producer on LP standout “Villain.”
Forever 1 is the latest example of how K-pop groups defy industry odds and stay together even if they depart the label that initially created them. In May, boy band GOT7 released a new EP together after all seven of its members left JYP Entertainment and dispersed across new agencies. It all points to the growing health in this unprecedented stage in the K-pop industry, where label politics get brushed aside to continue legendary legacies and create comebacks for fans.