Random Shuffle Review: Miss A – Bad Girl, Good Girl

With over 2,600 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.

The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!

Year Released: 2010

Long before Twice and ITZY, JYP Entertainment captured the girl group market with Wonder Girls and Miss A. These two acts had some crossover in sound, but Miss A leaned a little more contemporary in their influences, bringing a polished dance pop style enhanced with a healthy dose of attitude. Bad Girl, Good Girl is the rarest of K-pop debuts — a song that perfectly crystallized the girls’ musical mantra in a taut three-and-a-half minutes.

Bad Girl, Good Girl was an instant success, and with good reason. It carries the classic JYP sound, composed and produced by Park Jinyoung himself. Its instrumental has an agility to it, bouncy and limber but never overstuffed or unfocused. Nearly the entire track is delivered in a sing-song style, perched halfway between singing and rap. On paper, this sounds absolutely dreadful. But, in reality, it draws upon the girls’ personalities to craft an idiosyncratic arrangement that sticks from the very first moment. Like most K-pop of its era, there’s a simplicity to the performance that seems almost amateur in execution, but it’s propped up by an utter devotion to catchiness and accessibility. This is a song that anyone could enjoy singing at karaoke, and that kind of populist approach is important when it comes to crafting a durable pop hit. Miss A may no longer exist as a group, but Bad Girl, Good Girl will always be their first — and most ubiquitous — calling card.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 10
 Bias 9

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


13 thoughts on “Random Shuffle Review: Miss A – Bad Girl, Good Girl

  1. I miss the simplicity kpop songs had before. They stick to one structure and make the most out of it. Nowadays they would try to fit as many hooks and genres as possible that its hard to focus the song in its entirity.


  2. Ah, great memories of falling in love with K-Pop. Also reminds me of my girlfriend at the time who was a Fei doppleganger.

    I sure wish JYP would write and produce more songs these days. He is such an important and trendsetting musician. I gather he’s kinda busy now, but he’s still go it!


  3. Always love the song tho, I’m in love with Fei since beginining. Just want to know, do you watch Queendom? If you do, maybe you can do the review and ranking for each of the performances so far


  4. I’m surprised you rated the production lower on this one! For me it’s what makes the song.

    The vocals on early JYPE girl group songs are constantly a tad undercooked and thin for some reason (and not because k-pop didn’t have the tech to make a polished studio vocal – just compare SNSD or 2ne1’s songs from the same period). I suspect this might have actually been intentional, because JYP is reaaaaally partial to sounding retro, and I sort of agree with him? SME would probably never allow Taeyeon to sound like this, and it’s quite refreshing.

    Besides that, the instrumental itself is also kind of genius, eschewing the ultra dense euro-trash layering that defined 2011 k-pop in favor of those haunting keyboard textures and leaving behind an intricate instrumental with loads of breathing room so that you can actually hear the detail.

    It’s been 8 years and no one in k-pop has recreated the textures that defined “Bad Girl Good Girl”. (IMO) it’s not even the best song JYP wrote for Miss A, but there’s just nothing else that sounds quite like it. Legendary.


    • The vocal is a competent vocal. It isnt a rangy song anyway. I think, for me at least, in the US there would be throatier vocalists singing this. But kpop just doesnt have or select for that sound. There is only one Kim Boa (spica). But no equivalent to Pat Benatar or the Wilson sisters. I dont know if snsd or the like would have been better, only maybe SM might have doubled the vocal lines to thicken it up a bit.
      For the song, JYP knows that less or more in pop. It is actually a cheesy song, in a fantastic perfectly toasted melted cheesy sandwich way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I don’t know if SNSD or the like would have been better, only maybe SM might have doubled the vocal lines to thicken it up a bit.”

        Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. I’m not saying Miss A are worse vocalists than SNSD, and it’s not really a comment on technical capability at all. What I’m talking about is the studio treatment of the vocals in the final mix. At the time, SME was very very consciously as polished as possible, while JYPE’s early gg tracks (I’m talking Bad Girl Good Girl, Tell Me, Good-Bye Baby, So Hot) were often very consciously nostalgic. SME would never release something that wasn’t layered, beefed up, and shined to perfection, and I think JYP intentionally countered this with his slightly undercooked, aggressively retro productions. I’m not criticizing either strategy, and not questioning competence either – I just find the difference in production choices to be really interesting. Not to be too controversial, but I think if SM produced Bad Girl, Good Girl, it would sound quite different and even be worse for wear. If Taeyeon, Kim Boa, and Ailee hopped on this track I think it would probably also be worse.
        As you said, JYP really understands pop music, and that’s why “Bad Girl, Good Girl” sounds the way it does. Again, legendary.


  5. Me, the first time I watched this video…

    – Ooooh, I like this song.
    – Jia is my bias.
    – No, Min is my bias.
    – Wait, no, Suzy is my bias.
    – No, it’s Fei. Definitely Fei
    – Nope, it’s Min
    – On second thought, Suzy.. ..maybe..
    – Umm..’s Jia.
    – I mean..’s Fei
    – Min?
    – Fei?
    – Suzy!
    – No.. ..wait.. ..Jia!
    – Muzy?
    – Sei?
    – Jin?
    – {mind shuts down}
    – …


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