There are so many reasons to love 2NE1, and I barely even get into them in this Japan Times review. The main thing is just how utterly, infectiously happy these brash, loud, utterly silly pop nuggets with their loopy, over-the-top production, swaggering spoken word intros, sassy asides and curious penchant for 1980s U.S. pop references make me.
One memory of my recent trip to Europe that will stick with me is watching a packed crowd in Ljubljana reacting to what might have been the first time 2NE1’s I Am the Best (or possible any K-pop at all) has ever been played in a Slovenian club. Electric doesn’t even begin to describe it. Earlier in the year, I dropped Fire into my set at an indie club in Kumamoto and again, you can just see the reaction ripple through the crowd. Whatever it is 2NE1 have, it taps into some kind of primal disco force.
Of course you can’t please everyone, and I gather some people found it a bit confusing. Obviously when writing a CD review, one doesn’t set out with the intention of provoking anger, distress or head-scratching bafflement in one’s readers. Unfortunately, much as I wish I had time to deal with a mixed-ability readership, that doesn’t lie within my capabilities at this time, so all I can offer is gentle encouragement that some people might want to step up their game.