Buried Treasure: Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – You Better Run

Girls' Generation - You Better RunA K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.

I’m still processing the fact that, in the year 2022, we have an entire album’s worth of new Girls’ Generation material. Say what you will about SM Entertainment, but they retain their artists in a way no other agency has managed. Reunion comebacks like this are so fun, harnessing nostalgia while letting veteran acts explore new sounds. I’ve seen many fans calling Forever 1 the best Girls’ Generation album ever. I’m not sure I hear that, but it definitely has its share of highlights.

For me, the instant standout was You Better Run. This song exemplifies SM’s ability to feel experimental without simply shouting over a track. They don’t dabble in this style as often as they used to, but they still excel at it. Immediately, you’ll be caught off guard by Run’s verses, which play with tempo and phrasing for a super-dynamic sound. It’s so satisfying to hear this impish, SM-style vocal make a return. There’s a theatricality to the arrangement that really brings the song to life. It’s campy, but performed with such panache.

Not to be outdone, You Better Run’s chorus goes for the jugular with an equally-interesting mélange of elements. It has a halting energy, interrupted with a flurry of guitar that gives this segment a palpable sense of push and pull. It’s warped in the best way. And, kudos to Girls’ Generation for making the song’s conceit compelling for over two-and-a-half minutes. You Better Run is largely one musical idea stretched across an entire song, but it never loses its punch. A soaring, climactic bridge helps create space that opens up the otherwise claustrophobic energy. It’s a mini marvel, and a fun callback to the group’s indelible 2010 hit Run Devil Run.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9


19 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – You Better Run

  1. That keyboard belongs in 70s jazz-fusion or program, but it’s distilled to under three minutes and given a fresh SNSD facelift. Absolutely bracing and unique. I love it.


    • Haha I mention a lot of things, don’t I? To be honest, I should probably go back and reappraise that song.

      I don’t think I can say which one I like better because RDR has been out for over a decade and YBR has been out for… a little over a day. Plus, the former has much more weight to it simply because it was a title track (and a concept-shifting title track, at that!).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This album is probably my fifth favorite snsd album. I like “run devil run”, “I got a boy”, “love and peace”, and “girls and peace” albums better.

    I see these songs having more longevity with me than the latter half of holiday night


  3. I wished I liked this more than I do, to be honest. It’s something I respect, but the sudden speeding up in the verses struck me at first as just gimmicky, then annoying.

    Also, I can swear I hear some clipping on the vocals. I don’t know if it’s my audio setup or I’m imagining things, but I definitely hear distortion and don’t find it pleasant.

    The instrumentation is fun, though, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Low 8s for me.


    • The descending line on the verses are definitely edited to clip off a fraction of a second of the vocal on each note, for style, to mimic the clipped keyboard in the chorus (or vice versa). Its sounds like mega-robotic-staccato.


      • That’s not quite what I meant by clipping (though that’s a great observation!); I mean that there’s some distortion/fuzz (kind of like an overdriven guitar) that is probably the product of dynamic range compression or something. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. In any case, the vocal processing on this and the title track have kept me from fully falling in love with either.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very much into this and Villain at the moment. Echoing your sentiments about being in disbelief that there’s new soshi songs in 2022!


  5. A day or two later, I still find the song refreshing, but more as a novelty.

    I agree with Scalyyyy above, it sounds very Prog rock influenced, like a 3 minute segment out of some long form ELP or Yes album.

    Also agree with Orbiting- that is sounds like it may have been intended for aespa, but landed with GG for whatever reason.

    What I think elevates it is that in the chorus, they let the vocals go full voice, if only for certain lines. So the song has a tension, tightened in the verse then released in the chorus. But taken as a whole, the verse is ordinary except for the clipped descending line, the prechorus and break are average, and chorus has some really nice moments.


  6. I must mention that the song “Closer” has an instrumental piano(?) riff which sounds very familiar but I can’t seem to pin it down. Perhaps someone here can identify where it came from. You can hear it at the start of the song and in the chorus and in some of the verses too:


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