Legendary Song

Legendary Song: Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – Into The New World

I’ve always considered Into The New World (다시 만난 세계) as the unofficial dawn of K-pop’s second generation. Yes, there were plenty of second-gen stalwarts who debuted earlier (TVXQ, Wonder Girls, Bigbang, Super Junior, etc), but World just feels like the turning of a page.

Back in 2007, K-pop had a much stronger Japanese influence than it does today, and that can be heard in both World’s robust melody and the phrasing of its individual performances. Sadly, a song like this would have no place in 2019’s K-pop industry. It’s too single-minded. Too old-fashioned in its structure. In fact, everything about Into The New World is disarmingly timeless. I don’t imagine that it sounded trendy in 2007, and it certainly doesn’t today.

But, don’t mistake trendless for generic, because Into The New World packs a wallop that’s all its own. It’s no fluke that the song has soundtracked everything from protests to pride marches. As important as K-pop is to modern Korean culture, it rarely delves deeply into societal commentary. Into The New World doesn’t either, but its lyrics are vague enough to support any cause that strives for something bigger and better. In this way, it’s enjoyed a surprisingly subversive life as a pop song, which has only added to its appeal throughout the years.

World’s opening synth riff is one of K-pop’s most iconic — instantly recognizable and anthemic all on its own. The rest of the instrumental plays things pretty straightforward, enlisting a polished pop beat that roughs up for a brief, retro breakdown before verse two. The chorus is bolstered by just the right amount of electric guitar as the vocals layer in sweeping fashion. The entire track has the feeling of ascension. It just makes you feel powerful.

However, this isn’t some clichéd version of swagger-filled, “girl crush” power. The sentiment comes from a deeper place, rooted in strong melody and unaffected performance. Into The New World doesn’t throw all the bells and whistles on top of it because it doesn’t have to. It’s a brilliant pop song, unadorned.

Upon Girls’ Generations’ debut, the K-pop industry hadn’t seen a female group with such a large number of members. Nine seems almost tame by today’s standards, but such massive configurations can sometimes feel unwieldy. Into The New World Knows how to use this as an asset for its riveting choruses, but pulls back during the verses to shine spotlight on individual voices. This gives the track a necessary sense of personality. The arrangement cuts straight to the heart. If vocal processing is present, you certainly can’t hear it. The performance is clear as a bell all the way through, which supports the song’s fresh, vibrant aesthetic.

Like all legendary songs, Into The New World steadily builds toward a rewarding climax. Fans were reminded of this when the track was performed during 2016’s initial season of Produce 101, highlighting Taeyeon’s blistering high note as the pinnacle of competition show moments. The song bottles up everything its got for a final punch, and the result is nothing short of a knockout. You’re left wanting to cycle back and play the whole thing again just to experience that climax again.

And that’s what makes Into The New World a Legendary Song.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10
 RATING 10

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3 thoughts on “Legendary Song: Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – Into The New World

  1. I always thought the shift from 1st gen to 2nd gen was a bit of a sham. 1st gen K-Pop was sexy and street, then the Hallyu wave hit and everyone was suppose to forget all that and embrace K-Pop as wholesome and pure. Gold and glitter were out; pastel and paisley were in. Maybe that was needed to get the entire country to accept this genre, but it seemed a little hypocritical.

    My official intro to K-Pop was SNSD’s “Run Devil Run”. I was completely in love with the song before the end of my first viewing. I was agog for all things K-Pop after that. I scoured YouTube for everything I could find. I remember coming across “Into The New World” and thinking to myself, “Meh?”. I was looking for songs like BEG “Abracadabra”, Secret “Madonna”, 4minute “HUH”, and After School, “Bang!”, not this “let’s bake cookies” stuff.

    Yeah, I was an idiot. I was only viewing K-Pop through a fixed lens. The same groups I listed also gave us: BEG “Cleansing Cream”, Secret “Starlight Moonlight”, 4minute “Badly”, and After School “Because of You” which are just as incredible as their higher BPM offerings.

    If I was asked to rate ITNW when I first discovered it, I would’ve gave it a 4 or 5. After dislodging my hat full of hollow out of my tuchus, it’s a solid 9. Sorry, 10 is a bit much for me.

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  2. This is a famous song that I never listen to. Not inherently knowing the meaning and translation of the lyrics without lyric videos, all the inspirational yet vague stuff, is definitely a barrier. It is also too girly for my taste.

    In theory, the musical theme is borrowed from Dvorak’s 9th symphony “The New World”, from the main theme in the 4th movement. The buuum bum bum buuuuum ba-bum part. (oh sure, yeah, that one) The melodic progression is the first line that Taeyeon sings. It is almost a different rhythm, so it is really hard to pick out unless you are listening deliberately for it. The SNSD version is also considerably happier – the orchestral version is all gloom and impending doom during that theme. The melody is then repeated for the third line of the verse. The 2nd and fourth lines may also mimic the 4th movement but the rhythm is more dissimilar. I am sure someone somewhere has done the side by side comparison.

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