2NE1's To Anyone Review

9/09/2010 03:06:00 PM


*Author's note: This is my first time reviewing an album, so please comment in the cbox with constructive criticism. i'm no music expert, and i won't act like i have credentials beyond the 3 years of chorus and 1 year of self study. i will only touch on the album itself because as of writing this, I have not seen the videos in their entirety (if at all).*


LaurenLCD here, bringing the Asian pop we love and ripping the Asian pop we hate.

End Intro.

It has been quite the busy year for the Big 3.

In SME: SNSD is thankfully (to an extent) away in Japan promoting Genie while still wearing stripper shorts and acting like airheads. SHINee released Lucifer, their 2nd full length album that doesn't consist of a bunch of remakes and the title track of the same name, blowing us away with their vocals and their ever changing concept as they grow into the sexy (Well, not Taemin. He's a minor and if I called him 'sexy' I'd be a pedobear *cough* since I'm 19 *cough*)  young men we see today. JYJ (Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu/JaeYooSu) from DBSK has signed onto Prian and East Asia Entertainment (if allkpop is to be believed) and has topped the Oricon charts with their single Itsu Datte Kimi Ni. There are plans for them to make their comeback to Korea. It is not known at the moment if the boys will reunite with HoMin (although I highly doubt it since SM is a douche to their runaways).

Wonder Girls from JYPE are promoting here in the US market while their more 'adult' hoobaes Miss A from JYPE's subsidiary Cube Ent. dominate their competition of rookie groups such as 9 Muses, Sistar, B.Dolls, and GP Basic with their non-autotuned vocals, style, and dance. 4Minute is with SNSD, Brown Eyed Girls, and Kara in Japan battling it out for their place on the Oricon charts their Japanese versions of previous singles.

YG's Big Bang (also in Japan) has released their mouth watering, sexy, OMG I so want to be the girl with GD-


Where was I? Oh yes, Big Bang released their Japanese single Beautiful Hangover.

Jiyong oppa, please stop being so sexy. I don't want to make you cheat on Mandoo with me. T^T

Today, YG's golden girls 2NE1 have released their self titled full length album, with not one, not two, but THREE singles simultaneously, starting with their first of three MVs Clap Your Hands.

[ Download ]

Such a feat is daring in the Kpop industry when the norm is that an artist releases a maximum of 2 tracks from a single piece of work. This is YG's proverbial middle finger to the status quo.

But, does this anticipated album hold up?

1. Can't Nobody
2. Go Away
3. Clap Your Hands
4. I'm Busy
5. It Hurts (Slow)
6. Love Is Ouch
7. You & I (Park Bom Solo)
8. Please Don't Go (CL & Minzy duet) 
9. Kiss (Sandara solo)
10. Try To Follow Me
11. I Don't Care (Reggae remix)
12. Can't Nobody (English)

The album consists of five (six if you count the English version of Can't Nobody) new tracks to add to the girls' repertoire, previous solo singles from Bom and Sandara, Minzy and CL's duet, their previous single prior to this album, and a remix of their second single off their first mini album that was never officially released but often sung live. i.e: They did with this album, what 90% of the Japanese music industry does. A few new tracks and a ton of old ones that were singles one could buy separate, including a bazillion remixes with each.

How to describe this album...

With the exception of tracks 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11, the album feels like a long ring tone that never ends complete with as much autotune as they can possibly use, stutters, monotonous melodies with the exception of the choruses  delivered by Bom and/or Dara (the one time autotune is put to a minimum on the new tracks), synths, blips, and bleeps that make up the instrumentals along with annoying sound effects such as sirens and phone rings that don't make me want to get up and dance, but instead make me want to grab an Advil or Aleve.

To be honest, if it weren't for the 1 second of silence between tracks, I would have thought the first four tracks were all one song. The only time I hear anything remotely distinct is in Clap Your Hands at 2:21 when the blips and bleeps give way to a reggae rhythm during CL and Minzy's raps and then to an Indian snake charmer rhythm at 2:41 when Dara (FINALLY) gets a solo to herself consisting of chants of  'I want to rock your body. I want to make some noise. [insert Korean lyrics]', ending in chants of  Eh, eh, eh...'s. The track I detest most of these first five is I'm Busy. It's not appealing in any way, shape, or form. That's all I will say about that.

The song I actually like out of the three singles? None, with the mild exception of Go Away. The only saving grace for the others is the choruses, but that's not enough. The entire album? Anything that's not 1-4 (minus 3. Sort of) and 10.

I can tolerate autotune to an extent. I will openly admit to liking GP Basic (guilty pleasure), G-Dragon's Shine A Light (though I prefer his live album to the studio album since it is, well... live), and TOP's Turn It Up. I can also admit to having a very, very slight love-hate relationship to BoA's Hurricane Venus and Best Of USA (at least the autotune is used tastefully). But these new 2ne1 songs are intolerable. I think even more so than Se7en's Digital Bounce (and I hate that album). This is because with their vocals and track record, I expect so much more from them.

Speaking of vocals!

With the exception of It Hurts, Love Is Ouch and the old songs, CL's voice is even more annoying and nasal. People think that Janey's chipmunk voice is ear bleeding (She heightens her pitch from her natural husky contralto into a falsetto she does not know how to control well. It's what I call the 'Sohee effect'. The maknae/'aegyo one' should be "cute" and cute is supposed to = soubrette soprano [think Janet Jackson]. This vocal treatment is evident in f(x)' Sulli) but CL's voice is just painful. Her vocal timbre is already naturally brassy/reedy (to the casual listener: nasal). Her voice is perfect for mid tempo ballads and is the kind one is likely to hear in Jazz. Autotune makes that voice of hers sound like she has a cold and can't breathe. As usual, her raps (if one were to listen to them all without breaks in between) sound the same. No matter the tempo, CL does not change how she flows her words and keeps a consistent rhythm scheme. No surprises there. Oh, and now she curses. Wonderful. Just when I thought I could avoid profanity in Korean rap, here she comes to bring her Engrish profanity since no one understands and can't call her out on it.

Dara is the resident "Sohee/Sulli". The difference is that her voice is naturally light and she doesn't disguise it. Like in their other singles, Dara doesn't get many parts aside from the occasional bridge and chorus. It's rare to hear her voice when it's not backed up by Bom or CL. That said, her voice with autotune sounds exactly like CL, or at least very very similar. In Try To Follow Me, I didn't even know where she ended and CL began. Her voice is as annoying as CL's autotuned -if not more- because everything Dara sings is higher in pitch than everyone else.

If you mix Seungri and TOP, add Taemin's aegyo,  Daesung's angelic smile and make them a 16 year old girl, you get Minzy.

 Minzy's voice isn't as manipulated as CL and Dara's and it shouldn't be. Minzy is the resident contralto/mezzo of the group, lead dancer, and second rapper. Her low vocals are needed to balance CL's nasality and give better contrast to Dara's voice. During It Hurts, she increases the power that CL and Dara came in with and when Bom comes in with her extra punch, Minzy comes back in to mellow the tone, giving Dara a chance to give transition to CL again in a pattern of crescendos and decrescendos that are expertly executed. No one overpowers (for once CL shuts up and gives me a reprieve) or becomes overbearing.

Bom delivers well as usual. Not even in the dance tracks is her voice too heavily processed. She gives each song a bit more "umph" than CL or Minzy could, and like Minzy she bridges the gaps between each girl's highs and lows. If I had to associate her with a Big Bang member, it would probably be Daesung. As usual, I have few complaints for her. My only nitpick is that she be given more parts than the chorus and bridge. She's supposed to be the lead vocalist so why do I hear 60% CL, 20% Minzy, 15% Bom, and 5% Dara? There are 4 members. Everything should be split 25%.

Dance Tracks: / ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
Mid Tempos: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
Ballads: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ / ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

Overall score: 5/10
It Hurts, Love Is Ouch and the old tracks (except  Try to Follow Me) are the only tracks worth getting this album for if you don't already have the singles.



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