Say what you want about Girls’ Generation, but there’s no denying that they are one of the girl groups to pave the way for K-Pop to become the force it is today.
They are certified icons in the K-Pop industry, inspiring a generation of girls (pun unintended) to become their very best selves and to follow their dreams. Despite critics saying that the girl group didn’t empower women, several songs in the group’s discography would like to prove otherwise.
Let’s take a listen to how Taeyeon, Jessica (she’s still a member in our hearts), Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun have encouraged their fans to become braver, bolder, and better.
1. Into the New World
“Into the New World” is a song about people’s hopes and dreams for a better future, which is a fitting start for any girl group’s career. When they released this in 2007, none of them ever expected it to have the cultural impact it has today. Into the New World has become a cultural icon and a song for protests.
It experienced a resurgence in 2016 when Ewha Women’s University students sang it during part of their peaceful protest against the university while facing 1,600 police officers. The song was frequently sung during the 2016-2017 peaceful protests against former President Park Geun Hye. It was also sung during the Me Too protests in Korea back in 2018.
2. Way to Go
It’s Korean title means to “Have strength” or “Cheer Up”. It’s not surprising that this is used for events that require a lot of cheering and motivation. Sure, the song is about a young girl telling her lover that he has changed her in the best way possible. However with lyrics like “But have strength, we’ve made it this far / This is really nothing at all / Let’s change this world”, how could you not feel empowered?
3. Run Devil Run
In what was Girls’ Generation’s darkest concept at the time, “Run Devil Run” is the ultimate anthem for anyone getting over an asshole ex. The song shows that the girls aren’t just going to let that misbehavior fly, and that they are going to make their cheating exes pay. Girls’ Generation gave us all that angry, sassy, “I will kick your ass” anthem we all need in our lives.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and “Hoot” proves this to be true. Just like the song before this one, “Hoot” isn’t for those who will just let those who have hurt them get away with it. Singing about being stronger, more careful, and guarded while looking (and feeling) fabulous? No one does it like Girls’ Generation does.
5. The Boys
In all versions of the song, the lyrics scream “girl boss” without any doubt. The song encourages the listener, telling us to stop wasting opportunities and to fight for our dreams. However, the English version just has the confidence and sass we need to feel ready to take over the world. With words like “We’re born to win, better tell all your friends”, who wouldn’t be a little more empowered to make it through the day?
6. Lazy Girl
This B-side is one of the most relatable songs ever. Seriously. There are some days wherein we don’t want to get up, look good, and be our usual productive selves. It takes a lot of self-awareness and self-assurance to willingly take a break when life seems to be a productivity contest these days. If some of K-Pop’s queens sing about needing a break, then you can afford to chill a little more often.
7. Bad Girl
Moving on to some of their Japanese singles, “Bad Girl” is pretty much self-explanatory. The song is about a girl who is confident in her charms and knows that she can hold anyone prisoner. This one is for those who need a little confidence boost when it comes to talking to their crush. *wink* Take inspiration for the members of Girls’ Generation who look totally badass.
8. Love & Girls
The Japanese single encourages people, girls in particular, to step forward in their own way. With lots of clapping, cheering, and the girls of Girls’ Generation singing encouraging phrases, it’s impossible not to feel a bit more confident.
9. Karma Butterfly
This song is for those who long to confidently express themselves. The lyrics talk about someone who has been acting like someone else for so long and is now ready to come out of their shells to be their real self. A song that has both a feel-good beat and lyrics that talk about self-acceptance and finally being your authentic self? It can’t get more empowering than that.
10. Mr. Mr.
As a strong and confident person, you need a partner who is just as empowered as you are. It takes a level of confidence to tell your crush to man up and make a move. It is especially challenging here due to cultural and societal norms. (Alam niyo na ‘yan, girls.) Watching the members dance in smart-looking suits and encouraging anyone with a crush to make a move is very empowering and satisfying in a way.
Sometimes, the best form of empowerment you can get is just partying with your girls. After all, your friends are the best support system you’ll ever get. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with partying all night long without a care in the world once in a while. The song’s happy vibes are enough to give you that necessary serotonin boost, especially while partying IRL isn’t an option just yet.
12. You Think
This one goes for all those with horrible exes. Here, Girls’ Generation calls out an ex who’s acting hurt on social media after their break up despite not caring when they were together. The song is sassy and empowering for all the single ladies out there. Besides, how can you sing “You ain’t cooler than me” in a manner that’s less than confident?
As one of the two songs offered for the group’s 10th debut anniversary, “Holiday” is that song that empowers you to throw all your worries away and take a break. It’s that upbeat song you need to keep you going, especially on days you’re feeling down and out. This is for those days wherein you just want to let loose, have fun, and feel like your very best self.
Tell Me Your Wish
We are aware that the song’s lyrics are a far-cry from women empowerment. However, it is undeniably the song to show that Girls’ Generation were no longer children but mature adults. It was also one of the songs the South Korean soldiers blasted across the border back in 2015 as part of their psychological warfare against their northern neighbors.
If that’s not the power move of the century, I don’t know what is.
Happy 13th anniversary, Girls’ Generation! Sone, which Girls’ Generation song empowered you the most?