By Shim Sun-ah
SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- Girls' Generation, one of the longest-running K-pop girl groups, made a highly anticipated comeback Friday, the anniversary of the day of its debut in 2007, with "Forever 1."
"Forever 1," the group's seventh full-length album, marks its first group project since its previous LP "Holiday Night" five years ago.
"Today is the birthday of Girls' Generation," member Sooyoung said during a press conference at a hotel in southern Seoul to promote the upcoming album. "Actually, we had been discussing the comeback since we celebrated the 14th anniversary. But we felt we would like to roll out the album properly on the 15th anniversary."
The bandmates then asked the group's agency SM Entertainment to give them more time to work on the new release, which the company agreed to, she recalled.
The resulting studio album, which is set for digital release at 6 p.m. Friday, has a total of 10 tracks, including the title single "Forever 1." Among other tracks are "Seventeen" and "Villain," for which members Tiffany and Sooyoung participated in the writing, as well as "Lucky Like That," "You Better Run," "Closer" and "Mood Lamp."
The title track is an upbeat pop-dance number with a festive mood about eternal love for the people who are precious to them.
It was composed by Kenzie, a longtime South Korean producer and songwriter with SM Entertainment who made many of the band's songs, ranging from "Into The New World" (2007) to the band's last comeback lead single "All Night." She also produced the whole upcoming album.
Band leader Taeyeon described "Forever 1" as "a song tailored to the band."
"We asked her to make it in celebration of the group's 15th anniversary. The song has lyrics about eternal love for the people who are precious to us and says 'Let us be forever.' I think the song is a perfect match for us because it contains what the Girls' Generation can say at this time."
Girls' Generation is an iconic K-pop girl group that stood on the forefront of the global boom of Korean pop culture, known as "hallyu," during its prime. It has churned out hit after hit, such as "Into The New World," "Kissing You," "Gee," "Genie," "OH!," The Boys," "I Got a Boy," "Mr.Mr.," "Party" and "Lion Heart."
The band, however, began a hiatus after members Tiffany, Sooyoung and Seohyun left SM Entertainment in October 2017. The bandmates have since focused on various individual activities, including careers as an actor and a K-pop soloist.
Friday's comeback will be remembered as an important event in K-pop history as it marks the end of the band's extended hiatus.
Singer-actor YoonA said she was overwhelmed with emotion when recording one of the album's songs.
"'Lucky Like That' was the first song we recorded for this album, and I was the last member to record it. As I listened to the voices of my bandmates after a long time, I suddenly got emotional," she recounted.
She appreciated fans for loving the band and waiting for its return.
Sooyoung said she didn't realize how precious the time she has with her bandmates is, before the reunion.
"Before, we all belonged to the same agency, so we had a lot of time to play together whenever we wanted. But now, since we're focusing on individual activities, the time we gather together feels so precious," she said.
When asked about the secret to the band's longevity, Taeyeon said, "To tell the truth, it was not easy to gather the opinions of eight women, but what the bandmates have in common in their minds is that they love the band. I think having the same goal is what brought us this far."
Will the band continue to pursue group projects after the 15th anniversary?
Taeyeon said nothing has yet been decided regarding the band's future.
"We didn't have enough time to think about our past and future because we have just gotten together after five years of individual activities and the present is the most important. So please watch us through our activities for this album. We will decide on the future path based on what we felt and learned through them."
The new album will get a physical release on Monday.