Review Summary: Put on your brightest clothes and floppiest accessories, because you and your bubbliest attitude are about to sing like you know Korean for the next 44 minutes.
When talking about K-pop, there are a few standards that are always going to apply. It is going to be upbeat, it is going to be catchy, and it is going to be happy. As expected, Oh!
is all of these, but not much else. There is hardly any diversity to be found, and aside from songs like “Coffee Caramel (Talk To Me)” and “Star Star Star”, the album’s contents boil down to little more than generic cute and catchy K-pop. Luckily, Girls’ Generation manages to pull off cute and catchy better than almost any other group in the industry when they are on top of their game, and so the tedium of the tracklist is at least somewhat counterbalanced by its consistency. Though it features twelve tracks and nine different voices, Oh!
offers relatively scarce variety.
While the girls have never had trouble sounding modern, on Oh!
there is a confounding blend of retro sounding bubblegum pop beats and overbearing electronic dance hooks. This rarely proves to be worthwhile, and causes many songs to sound more confused than contemporary. Introducing this odd mixture does provide a fairly distinguishable sound compared to other releases by the group, but when applied to almost every song on the album, it undermines most of the uniqueness that it would otherwise carry. Despite the beats feeling uninspired at times such as on “Boys & Girls”, the girls never cease to demonstrate their mature vocal talent even if masqueraded by a youthful bubbliness. “Thinking Only of Good Things (Day By Day)” is perhaps the best example of the vocal talent on Oh!
, rotating through each of the members and showcasing each of their individual voices to a comparably minimalistic beat. What may be the most atypical track of the dozen, “Coffee Caramel (Talk To Me)”, is one of the highlights of the album if only based on the fact that it is so unlike any other song on the tracklist. Making effective use of a jazzy, lounge-esque ambience complete with a harmonica, it successfully creates a relaxing atmosphere that is enormously refreshing and wholeheartedly enjoyable.
Regardless of its consistently energetic songs, Oh!
cannot help but be an ultimately bland listening experience. Rather than sounding like a complete package and a cohesive release, Oh!
sounds more like a collection of singles. Production value and quality of the songs are nothing to complain about for the most part, but the uniformity of the album undermines the individual merits of each track and causes what could have been a great album to be overall underwhelming. Oh!
establishes little reason to be listened to as a whole, but due to its relatively short length and lighthearted tone, it still manages to be entertaining and enjoyable.