Girls' Generation
The Gold Standard

Currently the Gold Standard of Korean Girl Groups, SNSD, as they are commonly known (by the abbreviation of the romanized spelling of the Korean translation of their name), or Soshi (from So-Nyuh Shi-Dae, "era of girls"), are so universally adored in Korea that they have been dubbed South Korea's "National Girl Group" sort of like a national tree or national bird. Their music is usually a bright mix of R&B and infectious bubblegum pop. They are the hottest property of South Korea's largest music entertainment company, SM Entertainment, founded by one of the world's real pop culture visionaries, "President of Culture" Lee Soo Man. Lee and SNSD didn't invent KPop, but they certainly set a standard and a model that hundreds of other aspiring performers and music CEOs have embraced.

Westerners new to K-Pop would be instantly startled by the sheer number of them: historically nine members, but currently eight after American Jessica Jung was unceremoniously dumped somewhere between their releases of "Mr. Mr." and "Catch Me If You Can" for starting and spending too much time running her own fashion line. They're hardly trendy or cool and perhaps entertain the same rabid (seriously rabid) adoration of teenagers that someone like the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber might enjoy. Just the same, their combination of good looks, long legs, great singing voices, charisma, split-second choreography and catchy songs are truly impressive. When they take the stage there may not be a larger collection of star power in one spot anywhere else in the world.

Even though they'd probably be considered kind of cheesy for most of the jaded American ear, when they combine their all of their voices into an angelic chorus, while lead singer and vocal powerhouse Kim Taeyeon, belts a few solo riffs over the top of it, it's a unique and remarkable effect. A good example of this is their cheery, saccharine bubblegum classic "Gee" or the anthematic "Genie." They definitely have their moments. There really is no American equivalent to Girls' Generation. Too bad, really.

Girl Group