It’s been a long time coming, but they’re here now. And they’re about to set the roof on fire, baby!
Okay, I’ve been putting off my thoughts on the recent onslaught of girl groups in Kpopdom because there’s too much going on, so many groups debuting here and there, so many names and faces to remember—that words escape me. Plus with all the media attention on the girl-on-girl competition, it’s easy to get swept up in the hype.
So now that I’ve gotten the time to actually sit down and really listen to the music, here are my takes.
YG’s newest girl group had it all coming even before their debut. We’ve seen it all before: the Lolita-cute (SNSD), hot-sexy (After School), school girl (Kara) and a combination of these (Wondergirls) concepts. The promise of producing a new girl group that’s never been seen before has got netizens going into manic frenzy. The anticipation was long (5 years in the making!), their debut stage had a lot of pressure and now they’re finally here. The question is, was it worth the wait?
Bonus track: Lollipop
These girls had an advantage over other rookies with the fact that they were able to hit two birds with one stone—be in collaboration with Korea’s top boy band AND star in a huge cell phone endorsement. When I first saw the girls in this CF I was like, oh okay. So much for being different. They’re as colorful and fruity as ever. The song isn’t so mind-blowing either. At first listen, it can grate your nerves as the intro (Lolli-lolli, oh lollipop!) tends to get annoying. But the second, third listen, you get hooked. It was surprising to hear T.O.P. actually sing in the chorus, and not just violently rap like he used to. The girls blended in well with the boys, but of course they were bound to get overshadowed—by Taeyang for being too sexy for words and T.O.P., simply for being T.O.P. The outrageous outfits can be easily forgiven, since they fit the whole candy concept of the Lollipop phone. It was a catchy song, but it’s not one of those songs that can go on and on your playlist, it’s good enough for play retirement after a few days.
It’s time for the girls to stand on their own stage and bask in the limelight. Again at first listen it doesn’t appeal as much, but you can tell immediately that they’re on to something here. They’re definitely straying away from the easy, candy-coated pop songs and repetitive-addictive trend that was so hot at the time (Gee gee gee baby baby!). Throughout the whole mini-album you’ll get the first impression that some of their songs are not easy to catch on to at first listen. But their advantage is that their songs (‘cept Lollipop) get likeable for a long time. I love the strong African beats in the background and energetic rapping. It can’t be helped that they get likened to Big Bang’s style with 2ne1’s experimental sound and outfits—it was as if GDragon (who helped in styling 2ne1) was playing with fire! CL and Minzi are fierce as hell, Park Bom takes on the role of the sexy one while Dara is the cute and smiley member. (More on these girls later)
I Don’t Care
For rookies, the debut song is just as important as the second one. The second single proves that the debut wasn’t all mere hype, and that it should peak the fans’ interest. After a strong beginning, 2ne1 brought their song pace down a notch and took a page of Rihanna’s “Hating on the club.” If you listen to both songs, the theme (bad, bad playboys who run around while their good girlfriends wait at home) is slightly the same too. Though it was said that this track was reggae—hardly! But this is probably the one song that caught on after the first listen. I guess YG wanted to balance things by showing a softer side of the girls. Not very original, but with this song many girls will be able to relate to them and they will see that the girls are not just tough cookies.
I think this should have been their debut song. It’s got fierce I’m-gonna-punch-you-in-the-face vibe written all over it. The beginning has that strong, unforgettable beat ala Beyonce’s “Ring the alarm”—CL even read Beyonce’s lips as she sang in the verse “hey boy… to the left, to the left… pretty boy move to the left!” It almost feels too alarming. Like you’re watching some kind of thriller movie or something. They used the instrumental for their debut video, though. Love it! It makes me want to punch someone on the face real hard! There was massive use of synth here, especially during Dara’s parts. But somehow it fit the whole song. Bom’s strong vocal-adlibs sounded real good! Not a fan of the cheerleading part though.
In the club
A sort of “ballad” from the girls, this song is a mid-tempo R&B track. I’m surprised that Dara gets the most parts, as Bom is supposedly the main vocals. I don’t know… I’m having mixed reactions towards Dara. Her voice is okay, but not stellar. But I’m sure she’ll improve along the way, it’s just that her co-members are really strong. She adds a touch of girly-cuteness to the strong beats. I’m starting to really like this song, but it kind of reminds me of Rihanna’s “Live your life,” only 2ne1’s is a little slower. The beginning “oh-oh..ohhh…” is very Rihanna, like the “eh-eh…ehhh…” in “I don’t care.” Nevertheless, this song rocks! It’s beginning to be my favorite track so far.
Hmmm… this is an okay song. It’s a slower tune, with old school vibes reminiscent of RnB tracks in the early 90’s? I can’t say much about this song, I feel like it’s a bit mediocre. It’s one of those tracks you might want to skip.
Let’s go party
Pretty clever to begin the song with different ways of saying “Let’s go party!” I’m not too sure but I detected CL saying something in French (I heard the word “fete” which means partay), Minzi in Japanese “…Iko!” Dara in Filipino “… piyesta!” and Bom in Korean, “Party kaja!” It shows the marketing potential of these girls in different countries outside of Korea. Very funky song. Very slow Kylie Minogue-ish. The beat kinda puts you in a trance. “Let’s go party… Work that body… Now let your body work it…” —pretty catchy! Ironically, it’s a good song to play when the party is about to end, and when everyone’s all drunk and wasted LOL.
To listen to the tracks, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/YGladies
THE LOWDOWN: Honestly, for a Teddy and Kush work, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’ve heard the crazy beats and hot tracks these guys have done, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But for a mini-album, it’s got a lot of likeable songs and no filler tracks (Stay Together, maybe). Still, despite the slight letdown from Teddy-Kush power tandem, this rookie m.a. is damn good compared to the other artists who released mini-albums at the same time as they did. The only problem with 2ne1 is that they’re still trying to find a distinct style that would break them free from being “Big Bang” lady counterparts. GD, stop trying to make these girls into your own style Barbie dolls please! But 2ne1 has proved that they’re here to stay. Can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next! 4 out of 5 stars!
You better get yours, coz I’m getting mine!
Let’s meet the ladies!
Fiercest leader evarrr!!! I noticed that she always begins the song and sets up the mood.
“Hey boy.. you ain’t got nothing on me… hey ladies… let’s go!”
“Hey playboy… it’s about time, and your time is up. I had to do this one for my girls you know.. sometimes you gotta act like you don’t care…”
Let’s hope she doesn’t end up like YG’s rapper Lexy. That girl was fierce too, but got TOO fierce she lost her appeal. Or maybe YG just sucked at promoting her.
Ferocious maknae! Can’t believe she’s only 15? So there’s like 10 years difference between her and Dara! But by far she doesn’t seem like a rookie at all! Tremendous energy!
Can you believe this is her only 5 years ago?
Kinda opposite of Minzi in terms of energy. She’s such a doll. Literally. She looks like one too. She still needs to work on her stage presence and expressions. She’s got the pipes, she just has to work it more. Dammmn Bom working the short dresses!
Pretty girl who worked her way into Kpop from her fame in the Philippines. You gotta give the girl props for her determination. She just might be the key to expanding their music overseas (with her English skills and cute appeal). But like I said, she’s still got a lot to improve on.
What do you think? Could 2ne1 change the face of Kpop?
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