Released: October 2011, South Korea
Yes, yes, I know. As an album, "The Boys" was an epic failure, but that doesn't stop SM from sneaking in a decent, but still out of place, song or two. And that song was "Sunflower". Taking off from After School's "Play Ur Love", it's another one of those gentle-sounding songs.
The difference is that although I don't like the vocals on this, I like the instrumental a lot better, because it's a lot more raw. What with the real drums, and the guitar lines, laced with the barely-there harmonies throughout. And really, the singing during the verses was pretty spot-on, it's just that the chorus is really anticlimactic.
Basically, "Sunflower" sounds like an SNSD-fied rock ballad, ala "It's Only My World" and the likes. What makes it SNSD-fied are the really bland, and ever so slightly cutesy vocals. Of course I would've personally liked it if the song had a lot more punch, but that's just not SNSD. Actually, looking at it objectively, it's actually a good thing that they did the appropriate adjustments to suit the SNSD album track sound more.
That and as a whole, the song actually sounds really gentle, even with these somewhat "hardcore" elements. Pretty good. And something I'd listen to in the morning when my ears can't take too much noise.