2NE1 has always been a daring group. Whether it be their visual aesthetics to their musical colors, the four ladies have been unstoppable when it comes to pushing boundaries, meriting fashion and music to produce their own style.
Just over three years ago, the girls were introduced to the music scene at a time where the cute and sexy concepts were set as marketing trends by many agencies. However, 2NE1 stood out and begged to differ.
The girls strived to show that girl groups don’t always have to cater to male listeners, that the message of independence and empowerment can and should be delivered to the mainstream audience. But most importantly, they wanted to show that a girl group is more than capable of stepping out of the usual girl group mold of K-Pop: they wanted to stand out.
Taking hip-hop as the main core, 2NE1‘s music has changed throughout the years. Whether it be the minimal, gothic ballad number “It Hurts,” to the club-banger “I Am the Best,” the girls are back once again with the challenge to reinvent themselves with a new look and a new style of music.
The release of “I Love You” is a brand new step for the girls. Producer Teddy Park tells that the song went through a long process of tweaking until it was deemed fit for the mainstream audience.
“The song, at first, had a very heavy “trot” feeling. If you compare the song to what it sounded like at the very start, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it was the same song,” says leader CL, “We had to keep on changing it to make it a little more radio friendly.”
However the song, to the girls, still sounds foreign. “Well, we call it a hybrid of electropop,” continued CL, “The song might be a little more familiar to our Japanese listeners because it takes the mold of the traditional “enka” genre. Our international fans may find the sound on the song as something new and refresing.”
For 2NE1, their new single holds another important motive that steps off the territory of musical innovation and fashion. The girls stated that they wanted to give their international fans a little taste of the Korean culture. From the modernized hanbok to the Samgomu dance (traditional Korean drum dance) in “I Am the Best,” the girls continue their attempt to incorporate little elements of Korea into their performance and videos.
For 2NE1, the look is just as important as the music. A new single means a complete make over for the girls, and as expected, 2NE1 has brought forth a newer, exciting and, of course, shocking look. MemberDara showcased her “half-shaven” hair do, a rather uncommon choice of style, especially for a girl group member. Dara has always been credited as the experimental member having gone through a wide selection of wacky hairstyles in the past.
“I think I keep going for different looks because, to be quite frank, I think I lack the charisma and individual charm that the other members have,” confesses Dara, “I gain a lot more confidence as a performer when I go for more experimental styles.”
“I don’t know if this half-shaven look is shocking enough,” continues Dara with a laugh, “I think I should have gone for something a little more stronger!”
Much like 2NE1’s promotion cycles in the past, they will yet again be promoting various songs, one by one, to support the record. “I Love You” will serve as their single for the pop lovers, while they will be releasing an urban single to satisfy the cravings of their more hip-hop inclined fans.
For 2NE1, 2012 will be a fresh new start. They will not just be promoting in their home turf, but overseas as well. The girls recently announced their world tour, a first for a girl group in the history of Korean pop music. Kicking off at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium, the tour will make stops at 7 countries. The show is the end product of collaborating with various choreographers and directors: Travis Payne, famed for working with Michael Jackson, and Beyonce’s tour director of music Divinity Roxx are just to name a few. “The most exciting time for a artist is when going on tour,” says CL, “Now I know why artists crave to be on stage; it’s just such an amazing experience.”
Meanwhile, 2NE1 will be releasing an English version of “I Love You,” especially made for their international fans. They have also shown interest in returning to the Japanese industry once more. “We feel as if we haven’t had a proper chance to get to know our international fans that well,” says 2NE1, “Hopefully we will be able to change that with the start of our tour.”
“There is no such thing as the ’2NE1 style.’ We’re not a group that will stick to one color,” concludes CL, “Predictability and normalcy; it’s all so boring, isn’t it? We will never stop reinventing ourselves; we’ll always be the group with no boundaries, no limits and no answers.”
Source & Image: Kyunghang via Naver via allkpop