[An editorial of 'Who Would Have Guessed' 2012 series]
In every sense of the word, 2NE1 has mellowed in 2012, but for the YG Entertainment group, this evolution is a win/ loss situation. Gone seems to be the edgy electronic sound of their Fire debut and the provocative air of I Am The Best, 2NE1 has clearly put the emphasis on vocal prowess. As our reviewer noted, Minzy continues her interesting growth as a singer, Dara has found her range and CL truly glitters. But those rightful adjustments and maturation have been sadly balanced by the ever growing mangling of Park Bom‘s voice, which, if amongst the most powerful and beautiful of Korea, is more than ever ravaged by poor technique and nonchalance. So much that she has lost her place as the lead singer of the group to the profit of the dedicated youngsters: Minzy and CL.
And Park Bom isn’t the only one mellowing out, the whole dynamic of the group does too. Ever since 2NE1 went to Japan, something got broken. Or, more exactly, they gained something. Something that strongly contradicts with 2NE1′s earlier colors and which we would have never imagine them to permeate; a feeling of precariousness. On top of the Hallyu wave ever since their debut, delivering with each and every release, accumulating certified all-kills on digital charts, challenging the biggest boy groups on physical sales, 2NE1 hit a wall in the Land of the Rising Sun. From uninteresting releases to stagnating sales and a first disastrous tour where the YG group couldn’t fill their arenas even by giving away free tickets, 2NE1 is staggering in Japan.
I Love You
2NE1′s path has gone unbalanced over the course of the last year and their American debut under the guidance of Will.I.Am is still long overdue despite the first American performances of the group. Thankfully, the Korean release of I Love You temporary healed 2NE1′s damaged image as an unbreakable powerhouse. But even then, there are reasons to feel concerned. Though it can be noted that, unlike their six previous Korean releases, 2NE1 failed to achieve a certified all-kill with this comeback, this is nothing to be worried about, for they went head to head with the digital record setters of T-ara, and still managed to end up in first place for the month of July. What is truly unsatisfying, is how subdued 2NE1′s promotions have been. With about ten TV performances in the last twelve months, it seems a bit bland for the group that was once an exciting trend setter. Nevertheless, 2NE1′s music is still of the highest quality and is inventive, a rare feat in the idol world. Die-hard blackjack or curious Kpop lovers would probably just like to enjoy more of their stages.
It feels like 2NE1 is trying to move out of their idol status in order to be recognized a true artist while patiently preparing for their US debut. But they seem to be forgetting something; the key to their success in and outside Korea, lies in their home land promotions. If YG insists on 2NE1 only performing once a week for only a few months a year, then he needs to find more means to let the girls musicality express itself. If 2NE1 wants to remain true to their image of wilful females, then it’s up to them to take up the slack and follow their big brothers’ path, by venturing into solo acts while the group drifts away from Korea. Wonder Girls and BEAST‘s recent comeback offer vivid examples of the danger of neglecting the Korean market. Let’s hope such a resourceful group as 2NE1 won’t UPSET us anymore by making the wrong schedule decisions.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the individual and not of hellokpop as a whole.