K-pop Artist of the Week: 2NE1

Introducing the ladies of 2NE1. L to R: Minzy, CL, Dara, Bom

~~I’ve noticed from my stats that I’m getting a ton of visitors to my blog because of this post – specifically, people searching Google Images for 2NE1. Welcome! I’m sorry that this post is probably not exactly what you were looking for, but I hope you enjoy it nevertheless.^^ If you’re so inclined, stick around and check out some of my other posts about living and teaching in Korea!~~

Group Name: 2NE1 (투애니원)

Members: CL, Minzy, Dara, Park Bom

Company: YG Entertainment

Profile: Debuted in 2009. The members were significantly older than the average debut K-pop group – all of them 18 years or older. The group name can be pronounced “To anyone” or “Twenty-one.” Their style is decidedly hip-hop and edgy, not cutesy in the least. They’re not my favorite by any means, but they are one of the better known names in K-pop, so I wanted to introduce them this week.

Music Videos

“I Am the Best” (2011). Arguably one of the best known K-pop songs of all time, and certainly in the Top 10 in terms of views on YouTube – and I think you’ll understand why once you listen. For someone who enjoys this genre of music, it has everything you want – danceable beat, catchy hook, plenty of sing-alongable parts even if you don’t know Korean. It’s a conceited song, yes – they are singing “내가 제일 잘 나가,” which means “I am the best.” But it’s fun. Also, if you search “nega che chalaga” on Google, this song pops up immediately.

“Ugly” (2011). As if to counteract the conceitedness of “I Am the Best,” this song is about… well, being ugly. Self-esteem issues. I enjoy it because the message is so different from what you’d expect in a pop song. “I think I’m ugly / and nobody wants to love me / Just like her, I wanna be pretty, I wanna be pretty / Don’t lie to my face / tellin’ me I’m pretty.” It’s both self-derogatory and empowering at the same time. Embrace your non-mold-fitting appearance. It’s a powerful message in a country like Korea, where there is definitely a narrow and cookie cutter mold for what is considered “pretty.”

“Come Back Home” (2014). Some Reggae influence for this one, but with a futuristic twist (both in the music and the music video). I really like this song. I only discovered it while researching 2NE1 for this post, but it’s been playing almost nonstop in my apartment this weekend.

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