I had pretty much given up on Girls’ Generation in Korea after Oh!/Run Devil Run before the release of Lion Heart, and I was surprised to find that the group decided to drop an album that not only managed to not rip apart at seams, but held itself together as a cohesive idea that respected the where the ladies were in life. Yeah, there were serious missteps like “Party” (though I would implore you, again, to listen to the remix) and “Sign,” and smaller fumbles like “You Think” and “Show Girls,” but the rest was really pleasant. Lion Heart is not album of the year material–frankly we all knew that before it even came out–yet there’s genuine soul in there, and that’s more than I could have ever expected from the Korean Soshi.
“Paradise” is, in my opinion, among the best examples of this sincerity and elegance, and like equally great “Check,” “Talk Talk,” “One Afternoon” (a highly underrated track), and “Lion Heart,” “Paradise” doesn’t try to drag by its claws into the cutesy affair (minus Sunny‘s strange vocal intonation) that has marred post-“Gee” SNSD in the worst way possible. What makes “Paradise” stand out though is the balance between hook, meaningful verse, instrumental, and transitional melodies. “Pa-Pa-Pa-Paradise” might be the hook on paper, but it’s Seohyun‘s “And tonight…,” the “좋아…” ad-lib, and the middle 8, that make me catch my breath and revel in the small beauties that the song carries. Nothing feels out of place and each portion of the song cleanly connects into the next with grace. One would think that “connectivity” and “maturity” should be a given, but spatial synergy in a song is surprisingly rare around these parts.