2NE1 Crush
There’s a misconception about me (especially among the Filipino community — y’all know who you are) that I hate 2NE1, but it’s simply not true. Do I think 2NE1’s the most over-hyped and overrated girl group in K-pop today? Sure. Do I enjoy upsetting the Blackjacks, who are the worst fandom in Asia because they so closely mirror humourless low IQ American stans? Of course. Do I think CL is the Diana Ross and Beyonce of our generation who’s being held back from a glittering solo career by a bunch of useless dead weight who could never possibly survive without her spectacular swag? Well, that goes without saying.

But that doesn’t mean that I hate 2NE1! They’re a’ight, and I’ll always be indebted to them for turning me into a full-time K-popper with their To Anyone album. You just have to accept their flaws, and understand that almost everything they do musically is usually going to be some generic rehash of something they already did before. They’re like the Katy Perry of K-pop in that way.

The quartet’s new album, Crush, provided the expected instant gratification that comes with watery radio-friendly electro-pop, but it’s all starting to wear thin now following a few days of dedicated play. Still, it’s pretty stong by K-pop album standards (which are almost always more filler than killer), and there’s a few good bops in there that I’ll probably listen to sporadically for the rest of the year.

Here’s my top four, in no particular order.

Crush

My initial fave Crush electro slush was “Gotta Be You” because of that superb opening synth riff, but it quickly lost its impact after a few days. I’ve now moved on to the album’s title track, which works so well because it’s essentially just a remix of one of 2NE1’s finest moments, “I Am The Best.” It’s definitely not single material, but it’s a fun nod back to 2NE1’s glory days.

Baby I Miss You

After the atrocious “Falling In Love” and the guilty pleasure that was “Do You Love Me,” it was a huge surprise when 2NE1 dropped one of last year’s best ballads, “Missing You.” The foursome stay winning with the slow jams on Crush, with the melancholy “Baby I Miss You” reigning as the best of the bunch (narrowly edging out the also very good “If I Were You).” It’s plaintive and vulnerable, without sacrificing too much of 2NE1’s trademark ‘tude in the process.

MTBD (CL Solo)

“MTBD” is “The Baddest Female” on steroids with a dose of “Doom Dada” and Major Lazer’s “Bubble Butt.” It’s more proof that CL is the fiercest, flyest, most fucking flawless pop tart around who should be occupying the spot that Nicki Minaj somehow currently holds.

Happy

I’m so confused as to what the actual singles from Crush are supposed to be. I thought they were “Gotta Be You” and that “Come Back Home” trash, but then I see that a “Happy” music video is out. What? Anyway, “Happy” is the song that should be leading Crush as the main single — it’s typically radio-friendly and hooky like all of 2NE1’s hits, but avoids the 2NE1 trap of trying too hard to be different (and failing) like their ‘reggae’ music, or descending into the stale American electro that makes up the bulk of the group’s discography. The sunny pop-rock production is middling on its own, but is incredibly potent when underlining the song’s self-pitying lyrics. It’s uncomfortably touching and poignant, expertly tapping into everybody’s lowest ‘poor me’ moment and then hiding it all underneath a painted smile. Definitely one of 2NE1’s strongest singles yet.

P.S. “Scream” is obviously the best thing since sliced bread, but it doesn’t count since it’s a Japanese single from two years ago. I can’t with them adding “Scream” but ignoring their last four Korean digital singles, but whatever.

  • UncleFan

    “Do I think CL is the Diana Ross and Beyonce of our generation…”

    Please tell me you threw in Beyonce because you figured no one under the age of 30 would know who Diana Ross is?!

    • Well obviously Beyawnce is total trash and can’t stack up to Queen Diana or CL, but she and Diana are considered the two main girl group stars who were better than their groups and went on to eclipse them with huge solo careers, so that’s why I referenced it lol .

  • leesigh3

    Thanks for the review! Glad you liked the album. On a side note, I liked how YG mixed the unplugged version of “Come Back Home” into the MV.

  • 364Leinad

    2NE1 has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve been listening to them even before I started listening to the divine nine and SLAY-ARA. They kind of lost me with those pieces of garbage I Love You and Missing You and I wanted to avoid their venomous fanbase at all costs but they’ve climbed their way back to the number ten spot on my girl group bias list with this album. Fuck! There’s so much shit I have to buy! Both Crush and Mister Mister, and After School have a new album coming out to! And I STILL haven’t bought SNSD’s 2nd Japanese album yet which is the most high quality musical album to ever grace the unworthy music industry!

    • dumbass

      SNSDs Japan releases >>>>>> everything

      • fuckuimacat

        You sound like a complete dumbass.

        • dumbass

          at least I’m not a cat

          • fuckuimacat

            Cats > dumbasses

            that comeback of yours is so lame.

          • dumbass

            I smell a troll

    • Vanderwaal

      Afterschool’s Heaven and SHH >>>>>>>>>>>>> anything released by a Korean artist, ever.

  • byoing~byoing.

    If we follow the Bom plastic surgery timeline, you can tell that the video for Happy was filmed sometime in 2012 before the infamous chin implant incident. (here’s a picture if you can’t remember how your fave who can’t sing for shit looks like):
    http://cdn.popdust.com//wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2NE1-Park-Bom-Feature.jpg
    (forever laughing)

    So I think that 2NE1 were hoping to use that as a breakthrough single to the U.S. before will.can.u.not fucked them over royally by sticking them on a B-Side Black Eyed Peas single, hence why the video was already kinda done and dusted – so why not just spit it out.

    I must say, I agree with you for the song choices you picked except for Crush. That should of just been a Minzy/CL thing imho. Dara’s ‘vocals’ are way too weak and Bom’s high “note” about 25/30 seconds just ruins it. Also the Come Back Home video is either a homage/rip of All The Things She Said and Spice Up Your Life. Can the “most original” K-Pop group please stop ripping other music videos off that the average K-Pop fan would of forgotten about because they would of been 3 years old when these iconic pop releases were on the radio. Thanks.

    Oh and like we’ve already talked about and agreed with thoroughly, Scream is iconic. *replays Japanese M/V forever*

    • Come Back Home is so god awful. Rivals Falling In Love as 2NE1’s worst.

      • byoing~byoing.

        Yerp, pretty much. That annoying twangy dubstep thing just is way too bleh. It’s gonna be interesting see them ‘dance’ during that during their stages considering (again) Minzy and CL are the only ones who can dance relatively well.

        I must say though, I do like the acoustic version/unplugged version. In a controlled setting where they can think about their vocals, 2NE1’s unique blend of nasal and poor breathing technique kinda dissipates and they all sound like competent singers. They did a cover like that for ‘Ugly’ back in 2011 and again, that’s one of my favourite 2NE1 songs.

        Also, for anyone who doesn’t know about ‘Spice Up Your Life’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wfpXI5PKlw

        Before you start, just… just don’t kid yourself.

        • ‘cept that spice up your life is FUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

          YG/2NE1’s desire to always look so tense and serious is oh so annoying that i’m 100% of the time hoping that a bird as big as a vulture comes along and craps on one of them so we can at least have a crass laugh over the whole thing.

        • afhäofhä

          They’re both set in dystopic cities. Aside from the setting the storylines have nothing to do with each other. Not that the “wake up!” message of Come Back Home is particularly original, but it doesn’t come from ATTSS or SUYL.

          The song kicks, I will pray for you all.

  • Egbutts Egbust

    Come back home unplugged >>>>> all these other shit songs tbh.

  • dumbass

    if 2ne1 would do more stuff like Happy and ditch the wannabe swag, I would actually stan them so hard

  • Mel R

    You did not just shade Minzy. She is the most talented member of the group, and pretty much carries them during their live performances.

    • Girl no. Minzy is talented and slays Bom and Dara but she is no CL.

      • Mel R

        You’re right, because she can actually sing her parts live without having her voice grate on you like CLs. The only thing CL has over minzy is star quality.

        • Egbutts Egbust

          CL has swegg. Minjee don’t got shit, she’s like the Michelle of 2ne1. Bom gets press because of her surgeries and her general attention seeking attitude. Dara gets press because she’s kawaiiiiiiiiii~ and CL gets the most press because she has a foreigner attitude and most of her scandals blow up i.e: sitting on Jeremy Scotts lap. Besides, it was CL Hyori had with her to rock her stage, not Minjee.

        • Yeah but Minzy can’t rap like CL, doesn’t have the style of CL, doesn’t have the face of CL…

          And CL can sing. Even though Minzy is less nasal CL still has a million other things over her. Even songwriting now.

          • Mel R

            CL’s lyrics are weak. CLs style is wack. With Minzys new nose job her face is better than CLs. Minzy actually has range and the ability to replicate studio vocals live. CLs delivery/flow while rapping and swag are the only things she had over minzy. Also, who’s to say minzy won’t/ can’t write songs. She just hasn’t been given a chance because Yg has been focusing all of his attention on CL’s flop solo career, even though she Isn’t well received with the general public.

          • Honestly I don’t want to pick on someone’s looks but Minzy is even uglier after her nose job. She was always ugly but at least before her nose suited her face and balanced it out. Post nose job she’s the ugliest idol in K-pop right now, at least out of the known groups.

            And CL’s style is hardly wack when she’s a style icon who gets more and more press for her fashion as time goes by. 2NE1 is basically a group built around CL’s swag and style. Talent wise Minzy is the Kelly Rowland to CL’s Beyonce, but with the visuals of Michelle.

          • Mel R

            I always thought CL held the title for “ugliest idol”. I honestly don’t agree with that, and can name several idols that I find uglier than both CL and Minzy, like plastic surgery nightmare bom or Lim from the Wonder Girls.

          • Lim is definitely down there with the worst lmfao, but she’s kind of cute sometimes in an ugly way, like a pug. And I’ve started finding Bom hot ever since someone said to me she’s like a Real Doll come to life, which is so true. CL is actually pretty hot when she’s done up. She wouldn’t have got the Maybelline contract if she wasn’t somewhat attractive.

            http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l6792f86hs1qzozj1.png

          • kimilee

            LOL! Don’t you think a true blackjack would support all the members and won’t compare one member with the other?! XD THIS IS SO FUNNY!!

          • Yuuhkie

            I will completely disagree with you with this one. Just because minzy isn’t given a chance doesn’t mean she can’t rap. And you have guts to call her ugly. Shall I save you the trouble of giving you an actual definition of “UGLY” tbh i really hate that word. at the end of the day we are all going to get old and get soggy and crap uggh. i seriously can;t take mean people like you

      • Laura Cruz

        CL might bring the charisma and style to the group but Minzy brings QUALITY. They NEED her to actually be taken seriously by critics and not be absolutely murdered by their reviews.

  • ICONI3

    Worst nightmare…EVER. I thought “Gotta be you” was getting a mv? WTH “Happy” is my least favorite on the album.

    Anyways, was slayed on first listen..after a few days “gotta be you” remains the only song I keep in heavy rotation(the rest I’m kinda over). The album is still pretty solid though.

    I’ve always liked 2NE1..it’s their fans I can’t stand. I was even harassed and had racial slurs thrown at me the other day. Hateful creatures.

  • JammySmoochie

    I’m a Filipino and a Blackjack. And I love your blog. Just don’t mind my crybaby countrymen. lol

    Anyways, I really like this album. Best cuts for me are Come Back Home (Unplugged version), Gotta Be You and all the ballads. Pretty happy with this album.

  • Michael Curd

    My favs are:
    1. Gotta Be You
    2. Baby I Miss You
    3. Good To You
    4. Come Back Home

    Don’t understand why they didn’t include I Love You, Falling In Love & Missing You on the album to beef it up!! Take out the unplugged Come Back Home and chuck those in and it would been a truly great record *goes ahead and makes own version of Crush album*

  • Sunny

    I really liked Happy tbh. I’m not a 2NE1 Fan but that song is solid.

  • TerriDesu

    ugh this era is so damn overhyped

  • Lady

    Love your review, as usual. Personally I only love ‘Baby I Miss You’ and CL’s Solo. And I also kinda like ‘Scream'(but only the chorus). The album as a whole is just underwhelming for me.

  • well, “come back home” is sort of growing on me now, but it only happens when i suddenly listen to it.

    as you know i measure my like for a standard pop album when it makes me wanna shake my booty on the treadmill while running. for that matter i surely tested “CRUSH” and when i prefer to lift weight listening to HAIM’s pseudo-1980’s masterpiece, you’re pretty much deadweight on my iphone’s music capacity.

    but back to focusing on the album, i’m liking “comeback home” as i said, and also “gotta be you” is the best thing there. i hate “crush” because it’s simply immitative and apart from CL and the I AM THE BEST-like percussion, all of them sound like shit.

    the other track i liked from start is “baby i miss you”‘s motel-meets-pole dancing-trashy american bar production. but i always imagine miss a secretly listening to it and laughing their asses off with the total lack of sensuality.

  • Nicole Naeun

    My top 4 are Gotta Be You, Crush, Baby I Miss You, and Come Back Home (Unplugged Ver.)

  • After reading this something frightening occured to me… you like the new 2NE1 stuff more than I do.

    • I’ve actually stopped listening to it minus Happy which is awesome. Objectively it has some good songs like I pointed out, but I have no desire or interest to play them. It’s all kinda throwaway

  • Zoi

    “Do I enjoy upsetting the Blackjacks, who are the worst fandom in
    Asia because they so closely mirror humourless low IQ American stans?”

    OK Woah woah woah…
    No one who has ever met me would say that I am in the least bit patriotic. Im not proud to be American even a little. I hate everything about our politics and foreign policy and, for the most part, think that fact that we are the most hated nation in the world, is completely justified.

    That being said, ummmm OUCH!
    You smearing an entire Country’s fandom is completely uncalled for. Not to mention really childish and low.

    Guess what… You can be a Blackjack, and be American and not be, wait for it, a moronic mouth-breathing asshole. I know right? Shocking!

    I’m not sure who this post is really supposed to be for, but I was actually thoroughly enjoying the content on this blog before seeing something completely uncalled for and offensive like that. Not cool my friend. Not cool.

    Not to mention the fact that to call American fans stupid is completely ridiculous given that half of K-pop is the cultural appropriation of African-American music and style. (Yeah I went there)

    I’m honestly not trying to start a fight, but I just wanted to let you know that K-pop has a significant North American (and South American for that matter) following, and insulting a huge group of people like that is super unnecessary and almost never justified.

    Much Love,
    A “low IQ, humorless” American Blackjack/ Student

    P.S. You spelled Humorless incorrectly in your original post (well this is awkward/ who’s stupid now?)

  • Vanderwaal

    Why does everybody (seeing at the comments) praise on the unplugged version of Come Bach Home? It’s so freaking dull. Crush is obviously the second part of I AM THE BEST, but it just comes 2 years late. This should have been released in November 2012 instead of I Love You (or as a 2nd single of the album they should have released back then) instead of waiting 3 years and countless irrelevant singles until this. -.-
    At least the album as a whole is way better than Mr.Mr., and it’s on To Anyone’s level for me (so far), let’s see what they do when they come back in 2018. :3

  • Yuuhkie

    I really feel that this whole album had a CL feel to it. Not a 2ne1 album at all but GZB’s will protect their bias while bringing down my other girls saying the other 3 are not talented enough. Unless YG sorts our his line distribution on the four girls fairly arguments between the blackjack fandoms will continue. There are only 1 or 2 songs because it’s too much CL and hated the fact people commenting the minzy ain’t a rapper and they call me fake blackjack, tsss.

  • Cyril Ebarvia

    hmn another wannabe expert, if you just had said “i dont like the music of this group” then it would be okay but talking as if you are a hit maker producer or a genius with 100% great analysis is pathetic, no matter what numbers you use music is not like sports wherein if someone performs bad then they will lose, in the former even if one is performing bad (cant sing, dance well) that person/group can still be popular and whether that popularity is deserved/undeserved, overrated/underrated is a useless topic to ponder upon because it really wont affect our daily lives. honestly both extreme fans and anti fans are 2 sides of the same coin: one is obsess by their love for the group while the other is obsessed by hate, different emotions but same base useless obsession.

  • Dillan Brown

    I found this post very informative but also very insulting and kind of dumb in a sense. If you think that you can compare Diana Ross and Cl in the same breath, it shows me I probably shouldn’t have continued to read. Diana is legend, she is the pinnacle along with Whitney, Michael, Beyonce, and soooo many others that we all know and love, CL is in a league of her own as well but for you to make that kind of comparison is ludicrous. Absolute insanity is more like it. Also, do you think you can get away with your completely degrading comment about America stans? How dare you. How dare that you think that you can just write something so insulting about American fans AND BJ’s when its not even true. Here is the difference and read this closely. It is not the fandom that is bad, its the people. The majority of Blackjacks don’t act like that, personally, I think we are kind of a lazy fandom if you asked me. But it shows me that this was an ignorant comment posted by an equally ignorant and rude person, if you were a Blackjack you would know this. Sones and ESPECIALLY Exo-L’s do the same crap, so don’t act like you can write intelligent sounding but extremely offensive material because you feel like it. I stan YG and 2NE1 but I do it in a non offensive, and polite way. This post for me beside your particular taste of music was very abrasive, rude, degrading, and just plain wrong.