Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2NE1 Releases "Hate You" MV

I've said a lot about the Miss A/2NE1 comparison, but this video basically threw that out. If both videos end with a guy at the feet of the girls he wronged, then they've gotta be on the same wavelength, right?

I think animation is a perfect choice for a 2NE1 video. Their regular videos are already set in this alternate universe where crazy stuff happens, so why not make it even more pop art? It's like this heightened sense of reality all the time, which works for them since they're all about being larger than life anyway.

I gotta say, Mari Kim did a great job on this. I like her evocative pop art style, and somehow that style, the video-game synths, forceful vocal delivery and the action-packed video mesh really well. I can't say if I'd have liked the song as much had it come out separate from the video, but regardless, I'm a fan. It's a huge step up for Teddy in my opinion: it's the first time I've gotten a completely new feeling out of his electro-pop stuff. Usually it's the same gangsta-vibe or crazy pop, but this is definitely different, and complex and great. There's something about the song that makes me glad they didn't leave it in the demo files. There's a realness to it, I guess - an organized chaos that matches that "Hate You" feeling. And, 2NE1's voices are only minimally processed, which is always a good thing.

The international pop community should get off "Bubble Pop"s train and start spreading the 2NE1 love, because this is fantastic and deserves to be noticed. Definitely one of the better k-pop videos of the year so far.

Edit: I only just noticed after hitting the replay button again that Bom is eating corn as she walks through the pub/saloon/bar at 0:53!!! Haha love it :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hey, Miss A: "Good Bye Baby" and Songs from A Class

I hate to admit it, but I was actually excited for Miss A's comeback. I blame "Love Alone" for proving to me that someone is actually capable of making great music for these girls. Anyway, their first full album A Class came out last night - it contains all the songs off their previous EPs, as well as four new tracks and one remix. From a personal standpoint, only two of the new songs really stand out to me: Mr. Johnny, a brilliant dance pop track that had me grooving in my pyjamas from the get go, and the title track, "Good Bye Baby", but that's mainly because of the video:

The song on its own doesn't really go anywhere, which was a disappointment - it reminded me a lot of 2PM's "I'll Be Back" in arrangement and style : Half-chorus, short verse, bridge, chorus, short verse, bridge, chorus, rap, bridge (dude, again?) then chorus. It's so similar you could probably make it a 2PM song if you gave it a different beat. Speaking of which - the drums are great, and are probably the best feature of the whole track. The intro where it's just the drums is definitely my favorite part of the track. But despite glimpses of genius, the song isn't all that. Sorry, JYP - you need to let go of your formula and actually be creative for once. I know it's a stretch, but please try.

The video, however, I was impressed with. It's basically what "Run Devil Run" could have been, if SNSD didn't still need to capitalize on their golden girl image. You could of course argue that they decided to take higher ground and not resort to revenge to feel better, but - it is satisfying to see that dude squirm as Miss A takes over his set and terrorizes him for cheating on all of them at the same time. And then, just to drive the point home, that this dude is a complete bastard, he laughs when he realizes that he's been dating the whole group at once, and AGAIN at the end when he realizes that despite their obvious rage, they didn't end up ending him. Instead of him to be thankful for his life. Ugh. Somehow that got me emotionally invested in the whole thing, because it suggests that, unlike the guy who simply finds it amusing, the girls care more about the break-up than they're letting on in the lyrics of the song. It's good visually too, building up to a great climax while the song fails to give us one. As the song draws to its close, we begin to see everything in fast cuts: the water getting up to the guy's nose, lightning flashing, fire burning, and the girls kicking and punching the air as Suzy blows up the set. Nicely done.

Those two songs are my personal favorites, but from a critical standpoint, the new tracks are definitely a step up from their previous work. Most of their older material is forgettable, but the new tracks actually offer me something to come back to. "One to Ten" reminds me of 2NE1's "Love is Ouch" style-wise, and is upbeat and girly in a good way. "Help Me" is has a great 90's R&B vibe, that actually makes it kind of old school k-pop. Huge fan of the pre-chorus on that one. Hyorin should cover it  - it would be ay-may-zing. And the intro to the "Good Bye Baby" remix is amazing. I was definitely disappointed to find it wasn't in the actual track.

All in all, despite not having the most amazing vocals, Miss A manages to deliver an enjoyable album. Wow. I was not expecting that. They killed the performance aspect of it, as usual, but this time it actually comes with a set of music that I will actually listen to.

Also, I have another guest post going up on Seoulbeats soon! Look out for it :)