The Boys is the third Korean-language studio album and the fourth overall by South Korean girl group Girls' Generation. Lee Soo-man, former chairman of the group's agency S.M. Entertainment, served as the executive producer of the album. The record saw the contribution of the group's previous collaborator Hitchhiker, who produced the tracks "Telepathy" and "Sunflower". The title track "The Boys" was a result of experimenting with new producers, including American Grammy Award-winning producer Teddy Riley. Musically, The Boys mostly contains uptempo dance tracks and occasionally empowerment ballads.
The album was released on October 19, 2011 by S.M. Entertainment, and was distributed in South Korea by KMP Holdings. A reissue titled Mr. Taxi, which featured a Korean-language version of the group's 2011 Japanese-language single "Mr. Taxi" and an English-language version of "The Boys", was released on December 9, 2011. An international version featuring the English-language version of "The Boys" was released in January 2012 by Interscope and Polydor Records, which are affiliated with Universal Music Group, in order to expand the group's endeavor to the global music scene.
To promote The Boys domestically, Girls' Generation appeared and performed on several music programs including Music Bank, Inkigayo, and M Countdown. To further promote the record to international audiences, the group performed on US television shows Late Show with David Letterman and Live! with Kelly and Michael, and French televised program Le Grand Journal. The title track "The Boys" was released as the album's lead single on October 18, 2011, and claimed the top spot on South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart.
Upon its release, The Boys received mixed reviews from music critics. Commercially, the album was a success in the group's native country South Korea, peaking atop the Gaon Album Chart and was the best-selling album of 2011 in the country. The project won the Digital Daesang Awards at both the 26th Golden Disk Awards and 21st Seoul Music Awards. It also achieved success in other Asian countries, including Japan (reaching number 2 on the Oricon Albums Chart) and Taiwan (reaching number 3 on the G-Music chart). The record additionally charted at numbers 64 and 130 in Spain and France, respectively. In the United States, The Boys reached number 2 on the World Albums and number 17 on the Top Heatseekers.
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