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[Album Review] 2NE1 “Crush” (HELLOKAY)

 

February is heating up once again with top girl group 2NE1’s return with their 2nd full album! This is 2NE1’s second full album after four years and includes a variety of 10 different tracks, including three tracks which were written and composed by leader CL. While music videos have yet to be released, I just couldn’t resist writing this review – so, it’ll be solely based on content. Speaking of music videos, we can expect a total of four music videos for this album. There will be two versions of their title track “Come Back Home”, a music video for “Gotta Be You” as well as “Happy”. Aside from that, Blackjacks have waited years for an album from the four ladies of 2NE1. Congratulations on standing this long after YG’s constant trolling!

 

2NE1 – Crush

First up, we have “Crush” which was written and composed by CL. Now, to be honest, upon first listen, I wasn’t really feeling this song. The first 15 seconds got me hyped of course as I was expecting another banger like “I Am The Best” or “Can’t Nobody” to drop, but that wasn’t the case. Since it’s the first song, I was getting worried that this streak would continue upon the other tracks, but thankfully it didn’t. “Crush” may take a couple listens to warm up to for a lot of people. It’s different, but I found this song to be complicated. As I listen to it more, I find some of it’s charms like the slight, playful wittiness in the breakdown (“I got 21 big brothers, but to me you ain’t big, brother“) and 2NE1’s signature confidence in the lyrics. Overall, for the beginning of the album, this was definitely a risk. But luckily CL’s work gets better on other tracks.

“I’m the hot crush of all girls
Giving you the rush that makes your heart pound
Pretty unnis like me
Because they get prettier if they like me”

 

2NE1 – Come Back Home

“Come Back Home” is one of the title tracks for this album and is the work of producer Teddy, Masta Wu, and PK. This is a reggae song mixed with some dubstep elements and is one of my favourite tracks on this album. I’ve always been a fan of 2NE1’s reggae mixes and this does not disappoint. After “Crush”, this track definitely builds up the hype of this album. Bom sounds wonderful in the chorus and I love the shift with CL in the dubstep parts. Minzy has always suited reggae in particular since she has a strong and solid voice which doesn’t falter. She really has the feeling of an islander. Dara’s voice in parts like 2:10 right before Bom in the chorus is the best of her parts in the song and makes the song sound more lively despite it being a break up song.

“Come back home
Can you come back home
Don’t leave me at the end of the cold world but come back to my side”

 

2NE1 – Gotta Be You

“Gotta Be You” is an R&B pop song about not being over someone after a breakup. The ladies of 2NE1 sing about wanting to get back together with their love despite how painful it can be. This is obviously a change in attitude from 2NE1’s usual “I-can-do-me-by-myself” type of songs but not surprising after all the love songs they’ve been singing lately like “Missing You” or “Do You Love Me?”. What I love about 2NE1 though is that they illustrate a variety of emotions experienced by a woman. They can be confident, but also take it back and show the vulnerable heart of women as well. It makes them all the more relatable. CL’s rap in the beginning of the song carries a lot of feel and I love her flow. My favourite part of the song has to be Bom in the chorus. She makes the song fun and all the more catchy. “Gotta Be You” is one of those songs you sing along to when it comes on the radio and have a mini-party in the car or perhaps sing along with rage because of that ex who hurt you in the past.

 

“Our encounter was like destiny
But now we’ve turned from lovers to strangers
You left me but your scent still lingers
We used to be all turnt up
We’ve grown farther apart, more and more”

“I hate seeing myself still not over you
I try to forget but I can’t, every day
It’s gotta be you
It can’t be over”

2NE1 – If I Were You

This is another song written by CL. The ladies of 2NE1 all transform into soulful songstresses in this one. “If I Were You” is an R&B song with a bit of a classy jazz feel to it. This is one of CL’s better works and I love the emotions portrayed in this song. The vocals mix so well with the instrumentals and ultimately create a memorable love song reminiscent of “It Hurts”. We get to hear more of Dara’s charming and light voice which I think is something to pay attention in this song. The ending soft whispers from CL at the end of the song are really beautiful and carry a very sad feeling. As it stands, “If I Were You” really shows off 2NE1’s vocals and reminds listeners that they are multi-talented and can handle ballads as well.

 

“I wore the clothes that you liked the best
I should look beautiful in the mirror
But I just look miserable
The tactless night sky is so beautiful

I wish you could be me
I wish I could be you
I wish you could feel it for just a day
Your heart
My heart”

 

2NE1 – Good to You

“Good to You” is a special song because G-Dragon wrote the lyrics along with Teddy. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time he has written for a girl group. Anyways, this is another one of my favourite songs on this album. While I do get GD vibes from this song, 2NE1 still holds their own and adds their own flavour to it. I think they really interpreted the song well. Bom’s voice sounds very mature in this song and I loved hearing her sing the English lines. It brought me back to her earlier days which I missed so much. Another thing I loved about this song was how Dara pronounced each word carefully with this sort of subtle smoky voice. “Good To You” has a romantic melody and is one of those songs that any music lover could appreciate as it puts you in a sort of trance. I really liked the lyrics of the song and thought they really reflected the thoughts of many women. I have to hand it to GD because he’s strengthening his abilities and showing an understanding of what women could relate to and it’s not lyrically childish either. The girls contemplate the reason why both men and women seem to fall for the “bad type” when they could be comfortable and share the love with someone who is already good to them.

“Can you feel the heart pounding feeling that you longed for
From the girl who is in your eyes right now?

That beautiful girl
Won’t have any tears for you
She won’t even wait for you like this

Why do good girls like bad boys?
Why do bad boys like bad girls?”

 

From start to finish, this song is really good and I liked the addition of the English parts throughout the song. 2NE1’s English is always good so none of it sounded awkward. The highlight of this song for me has to be CL’s rap at the end of the song. I was surprised to hear the softer side of her rapping. I loved that side to her and realized that she is able to switch up her flow to suit the feel of the song. I really liked this improvement.

 

“I believed it when you said you loved me
I wanted to believe that you were different from other guys
Like a fool, I gave you my heart
Because of you I’m locked in a deep sadness”

“You sweetly melted me
You lightly deceived me
You hotly drenched me
You coldly left me”

 

CL (solo) – Mental Breakdown

THIS SONG IS SO BAD. Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good y’know?

After revealing the tracklist for this album, a lot of people anticipated another solo track from CL. “Mental Breakdown” has a different feel from “The Baddest Female” as her pronunciation is less playful but the lyrics in this track are more witty and I think this track shows more of CL’s abilities as a rapper. Of course, the song is a hip-hop track and has a hard-hitting bass line. The song is consistent and pretty addictive. While this song doesn’t have much references or disses in particular, it’s still a hip hop track that can be loved by hip-hop lovers. Who says those are necessary anyways? There’s so much one can do with hip-hop; so wishing for more of these things is pretty useless in my view. Moving on, “Mental Breakdown” is a more chill hip-hop track which portrays CL’s confidence. If you’re reading this without having listened to the album yet, I would say you would enjoy this song if you liked T.O.P’s “Doom Dada”. That kind of feel? Minus the explosive speedy rap towards the end of his song though. “Mental Breakdown” personally makes me want to jam and get excited. If you weren’t a fan of “The Baddest Female”, perhaps this song will be more to your liking.

“Watch over the power of this vibration
This feeling that rides down your spine
A single flower will bloom
Fire, fire, everyone be careful
This is like yoga with words
I’ll melt down all the stiff ones at once
If your tail is long, you’ll definitely get caught
The world has come to this, fakers are rising”

 

2NE1 – Happy

“Happy” is a more upbeat song compared to the string of slower ballads before it. After calling it quits, the girls wish for their ex-lovers to be happy without them. While the lyrics may be interpreted as sad, the feel of the song makes it seem more like they’re being sarcastic about being sad and instead are more carefree. The cheery beat with the simple drums and acoustic guitar makes it seem like the girls are happy about being freed from the relationship. The meaning of the song is a bit tricky and probably different for everyone. I loved Bom’s voice in this song during the chorus. Bom has this incredible ability to make songs significantly more catchy when she sings choruses. I think these type of bright songs also suit Dara well. After listening to this song, I can see why Minzy had less parts on this track. While she isn’t problematic at all, I think the tone of the song is less suited for her and gives Dara more of the spotlight for once. Some of CL’s parts sounded a tad bit awkward, but I think overall the song is still pretty fun and reminds me of “Go Away”.

 

“If I was a burden to you
If I was a baggage
I should’ve left you earlier, I’m sorry”

“If at least you’re happy, it’s a happy ending
I’m not being sarcastic, I hope you know I mean it”

 

2NE1 – Scream

As I’m sure many Blackjacks would know, “Scream” is originally a song from the girls’ Japanese debut. CL wrote the lyrics for this Korean version. After “Happy”, we’re getting back into the party vibe from 2NE1 as the song is of the electro-pop genre. With the lyrics for “Scream”, we see the return of confident and fierce 2NE1 who sing about not needing a man when all they want to do is have fun in the club and be free. There aren’t many differences in the two versions of the song so there isn’t anything in particular to look out for in this song. My favourite part of this song has to be the change in tempo in the song where it’s slowed down and CL & Bom sing one after the other. It has impact and I prefer that type of style which showed their vocal ability even if it was for a short time.

“You wanted to leave me before and now you’re coming back to me?
What do you want from me
Why you keep callin’ me honey
I can’t hear you
Stop butting in
I take care of my own thing, I’m in control”

2NE1 – Baby I Miss You

“Baby I Miss You” is another R&B pop song which has a more sexy feel to it. The meaning of the song is straightforward and simple. This song is decent, but I feel like it had much more potential. The flow of this song gets a bit misplaced with the slowed pronunciation of some words which was unexpected. For example, I wouldn’t have had Bom sing “Hajiman….I don’t care” so slowly. It was awkward for me. On a brighter note, I liked the way Dara would sing the line “Baby I miss you”. As usual, Minzy sounds great on this track and I think CL’s raps were fine. It’s a bit frustrating though because I see so much more potential in this song! Anyways, we’re seeing more of CL’s potential as a composer with this one. The composition was good and I’d give this song a 6.8/10 or a B for effort.

“I want to walk on this street with you
I want to look into your eyes someday
And tell you that I love you
I want to tell you that I trust you”

 

2NE1 – Come Back Home (Unplugged Version)

After already loving “Come Back Home” so much, 2NE1 decided to hit me again with this unplugged version. Have you no heart? This unplugged version is so soothing and lovely. Obviously, it showcases 2NE1’s vocal abilities more. I don’t know how they did it, but they made this song so much sadder and emotional like “Missing You”. Again, I’ve always loved 2NE1’s more laid-back songs and more chill vibes. They show you that high notes are not always necessary. They can easily charm you without doing so. Their acoustic versions are so beautiful and make you sway along to the rhythm. This unplugged version could remind one of “Lonely” as we can hear the desperation and emotion in the girls’ voices. It’s amazing how Minzy is still able to keep some reggae vibes in this version as well. I must say, all the members sounded absolutely flawless in this version. CL’s rap was on point and her flow had me in admiration. There’s nothing I could point out that’s negative about this track and I challenge anyone to find its flaw.

 

 

Album Lyrics Credit: http://popgasa.com/tag/2ne1-lyrics/

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Overall Album Rating: 4.3/5

Well, it’s been a long time comin’, but they’re here now. I’m proud of 2NE1 for coming back with a strong and more mature album this time around. They showed a variety of different colours on this album which is something I always look out for. CL’s work on this album receives a passing grade from me and I’d love to see her work more on her lyrics and compositions in the future. She has some ways to go, but she has potential. I’ve loved her solos so far and I can’t wait to see what the girls have in store for their next album! Apparently, we’ll get to see more solos from the other members  (looking forward to Minzy’s)!

 

 

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  1. ChessPoweryellow
    chesspower

    Awesome awesome review!
    So detailed and well explained :D
    I really fell in love with this album, really one of the best I heard. Come Back Home was my only song ever which I loved from the first listen. Of course it was bit weird to me, because the little breakdowns in the song, but damn, it’s so unique as whole this album.
    Each song has its own style, genre, and unique theme. I can easily say it’s the best album of the year so far, and as much I love Mr. Mr. and had it on repeat for the last few days… 2NE1’s new album crushed this song, and all the other comebacks.
    I will save some words for my own review tomorrow when the MVs will be released, but in one word, perfection~

    1. hellokayyellow
      hellokay

      Thank you so much! YES! I loved how they used themes in this album and experimented. It shows their growth and they weren’t afraid of the public view of “Crush”. While I didn’t like the song “Crush” as much, they tried something new. Regardless, looks like many Korean netizens are loving it. All the more success for 2NE1. In terms of title tracks, I think I prefer SNSD’s “Mr.Mr”. But in terms of album content, 2NE1 takes the cake for me. They both have different charms but I think 2NE1 showed how hard they worked on this album.

      Looking forward to your own review! ^-^

  2. vivi

    big and big thanks
    once again Thanks for the awesome review,
    I like the whole album but the breakdown rap didn’t really fit my taste, love the unplugged ver of come back home but i still can’t get the rap part,
    Love the beat of crush but i don’t feel i get what the lyrics truly means, that’s too braggy for me, i can’t imagine said that in english, sorry i just can’t help feeling that way
    I come to like gotta be you then the repeatedly of it ain’t over till it’s over ruined a bit of the song for me
    sometimes i just want hear them sing, not really fierce or breakdown rap
    but they sure give one of the best album this year so far, and the songs is great
    my final score is 4,

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