Girl group 2NE1 has just released their single “I Love You” on the 5th, which is currently dominating music charts. 2NE1 will also be releasing a new single within the next three weeks and the English and Japanese versions are also expected to hit the global market. All the songs from the mini-album that they released last year were at the top of the charts and more than 100 000 copies of the album have been sold. Also their debut tour in Japan last year saw the largest number of attendees, 70 000 people, which has spurred them to become the first girl group in the nation to be going on a world tour. In the coming 28th-29th, they will be performing at the Seoul Olympic Stadium. Thereafter, starting with the United States, they will perform in 10 cities within 7 countries such as those inEurope and Asia. We met leader CL and members Park Bom, Gong Minji and Sandara Park for an interview on the 6th.
▶”I Love You” is unique in its melody
“While hip-hop is based on a mix of genres such as electronic, reggae, R&B, this time around we’re doing a trot melody with electronic sounds. This is done so to enhance it’s popularity. Trot appeals to a wide range of ages, (we did it) so the fans can all relate to it. Although it’s not a song that the fans are expecting from us, the members’ reactions to it were explosive(T/N: They really loved it).” (CL)
“(I) thought it was a joke when we first heard that it’ll be trot. “No way” I thought, how is this going to work. However the potential of making this song a big hit was so good. It’s a mix of trot as well as genres such as rock and rap. It delivers both a sense of freshness and familarity at the same time.” (Bom)
▶There also seems to have been a change in lyrics & style
“The emphasis is on “women who want to be loved”. Although lyrics like “Please only be good to me”
“Please only ever smile for me” are somewhat childish, they are stalker-like lyrics that bluntly express the feelings of women. This somehow eases the sexy concept.” (CL)
“I was ‘half-cut’ for this music video (the hair on one half of her hair was cut short). Although it was a little awkward but it’s awesome that my hair dries really quickly (after washing) now. I felt that I was lacking in charisma in comparison with the other members so I shaved (my hair off) like that and gained more confidence for performances.” (Sandara Park)
▶Scheduled to release new music both at home and abroad
“‘I LOVE YOU’ Japanese Version & English Version will be both released at the same time through iTunes in the United States. In Japan, due to the existence of the ‘enka’ genre of songs, there would be common ground in accepting trot songs. As there isn’t a genre like trot in the United States, (the song) may feel rather new.” (Bom)
“The second single will be released 3 weeks from now. It’ll be a “2NE1-esque” hip-hop song.” (CL)
▶Why do you think foreigners like 2NE1 & Kpop?
“The passion for music that Korea has cannot be easily found anywhere else. As compared to singers in Japan and USA, our (Korean) singers are more passionate. 2NE1 has been mixing eastern and western genres of music. The trot melody (that I Love You has) is one of those efforts.” (CL)
▶How is the first world tour being carried out?
“We’ll be going to Los Angeles in America right after our Seoul concert, and one month later we’ll be doing performances in Japan before going to Europe. As we’re doing quite a few performances overseas, expectations to be able to see lots of fans are growing. It was really fun when we tried out doing a concert for the first time last year. The feeling of meeting with the audience on stage is unforgettable. Even though it was very tiring, I want to stand on stage again. The performances this time around will be spectacular. There will be new arrangements for old songs specially for the performances. The staff lineup is also amazing; in particular we have Beyonce’s choreographer and Michael Jackson’s stage director on the team.” (Sandara Park)
▶What is the point that differentiates 2NE1 from others?
“Dazzling and extraordinary members. All four members do not possess ordinary dispositions. On stage, we always let go of ourselves and perform freely. Our songs are always exciting and the atmosphere is always a fun one.” (Gong Minji)
2NE1, however, is not even slightly interested in composing. If they were to compose, their own personal colours (i.e. their own personal styles) would tend to cause them to ‘get stuck’ whilst composing. They explain that they would rather focus on expressing themselves with the perfectly blank slates that new songs provide. They mentioned that singer Madonna, is the best representation of this idea.