Music review: Bring it on 2ne1!

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.

Fire

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.

Pretty Boy

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.

Stay Together

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

Fierce. RAWR.

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!

CL

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.

Minzi

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?

 

 

Park Bom

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!

 

Dara

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?

Advertisements

8 Responses

  1. Words cannot describe how much i love these girls. The fact that they were promoted as the female Big Bang had me suspicious but then i saw the Fire video, and well, i became a total 2NE1 fan. I think out of the girl groups that have debuted this year, they are the most well rounded and have their game together, and i think their whole vibe is just awesome, and watching their improvement on the music shows has been quite entertaining.

    And yea, Minzy, i think she’s my fav member. But she’s proving to be TOTAL pedo-material lol. i get a total LOL out of what some of the guys say about her. It’s crazy she’s 15. She’s built like an adult woman already. And CL, I totally dig her voice. Probably the most effective leader these girls could’ve gotten and she stands out well, she’s got the ‘tude. Dara, i think does pale a little next to the likes of Minzy and CL (even YG talked about how he didn’t think she’d make it the other day) but shes definitely got something special of her own and it helps that she’s so positive. And Bom’s voice is totally on par. Girl is great, and i adore her baby face. I think she could probably let loose a little more, but she’s probably conscious of not screwing up her voice while live.

    I’ve gotta say, I tend to watch alot of the live radio performance clips and i think these girls bring it the best from the girls who’ve debuted this year. Their rendition of Chris Brown’s Say Goodbye was awesome. (I sat through 2 clips of 4Minute and started to cringe. Too much yelling over each other). Anyway, i have hopes for these girls.

    • OOOH we have the same sentiment about 4minute! they’re mostly hype! but can’t deny that their song hot issue is really catchy and when i first heard it, i actually thought they had potential. and they don’t really know what their concept is yet, they’re like a hodge podge of styles, or candy funk as they call it. whatever that is. i’ll have to wait for the rest of 4minute’s stuff though before i make out what they’re really made of. but i guess 2ne1 shows more potential in their live perfs. they kill it every time with their overall energy and it’s obvious that they’re passionate about what they’re doing. man, whenever minzy does the splits and chest pumps i’m like…. “is she even allowed to do that??!!” she’s real good though, but she should leave the sexy dance parts to bom if she can do it.

  2. ohhh if it weren’t for your post, i wouldn’t have realized that they spoke in different laguages on the first part of “let’s go party”! seriously! haha XD

    cl: “…fete!” (haha i dnt know french)
    minzi: “ne, asobi ni ikou”
    dara: “punta tayo sa fiesta”
    bom: “party kaja!”

    so cool~ i agree with you, the girls really have the potential to be promoting out of korea., (i hope they come to the philippines! dara come back here now! lmao~)

    anyway, im really loving their mini album., i really like their style, so fierce! haha
    “Pretty Boy” has got to be my favorite., i’ve loved the beat ever since they used it for their debut performance! the other songs are also really nice., 2ne1 fighting~! ^^

    • oooh so you know dara as an idol from the philippines? cool cool! thanks for the complete sentences on let’s go party. the beginning sounds a bit like they softened the volume so couldn’t hear properly. i just understood some parts of it. lol yayy for japanese speaking minzi!

  3. I really love 2ne1…especially Cl and Minzi. They may not be that beautiful compared to any members of snsd or anyone in kpop but hey….these girls is ferocious. At first I don’t like the idea of CL being the leader but after watching her in their performances…now I know why Yg chose her to be the leader and not Bom.And she rocks every performances. Cl defines the word FIERCE. I’m kinda disappointed about Bom though…I know this girl can sing but she really needs to work on her stage presence….and I know sandara is not much of a singer but she’s definitely a great entertainer. She has a very outgoing personality. There are no dull moments with her. and minzi, I really can’t believe this girl is only 8 months younger than I am, It makes me feels old and makes me think what I did in my 16 years of life..LOL!!!!About their songs…unlike you, i love fire from the very start but lollipop…i think everyone also got annoyed in the first time hearing it…and their new song I don’t care…I’m very happy rihhanna is one of their big influences…because I love rihanna haha!!!!..Hope to see more of this girls….!!!!

  4. I was a bit wary of 2ne1 when they came out with lollipop (I admit I made fun of their name way too much) but I’m really starting to like them. Fire is so much fun and Cl and Minzy are just too fierce to ignore. Now I’m starting to get hooked on I don’t care. I find myself in random moments where I just go “I don’t ca-e-e-e-e-ere.”

    I’m on 2ne1 Fire! (lol. sorry for the lameness)

    p.s. Oh and I’m pretty sure Cl says: “On y va a la fete” for Let’s go Party.

  5. With all look-alike and girl bands bombard in K-pop, they do have the potential to steal the spotlight.
    I mean, while other competitors just look-alike with their cute Lolita colorful style, they go with black leather and looking tough. Furthermore, while others just play cute, they chose to wear over the edge accessories and doesn’t care to look cute with smoky and dark make up. One thing that totally make them different: Fierce.
    Besides it (song genre).. not much different.

  6. dara said, tara! punta tayo sa fiesta!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: