Album Review: 2NE1 – “2NE1 [1st Mini-Album]”

2ne1 Tracklist:
1. FIRE
 2. I Don’t Care
 3. In The Club
 4. Let’s Go Party
 5. Pretty Boy
 6. Stay Together
 7. Lollipop (feat. Big Bang)

 2NE1’s first self-titled mini-album was released on Wednesday, July 8. 

 The opening track on this mini-album is FIRE, 2NE1’s huge smash that’s every bit as hot as the title implies. I really don’t have a single negative thing to say about the performances from any one of the girls – they’re all brilliant, especially CL’s which is just amazingly fierce. The instrumental track is distinctly urban-sounding, although its beat is almost reminiscent of reggaeton in its ferocity. The layers of synth give it a cool, futuristic atmosphere. I could go on, but I’ll make a long story short and say that this song is AMAZING.

I Don’t Care is, in many ways, a slower version of FIRE. They’ve got very similar beats and overall atmospheres. However, I really enjoyed the toned-down vocals on this one.  Too often we’re deprived of hearing the true beauty of an artist’s voice due to the aggressive use of Auto-Tune. The simple guitars and hand claps were some cool accents too. Anyway, the laid-back feeling of this song provided a nice contrast to the previous track.

Slowing down even further, In The Club surprised me because it’s not terribly upbeat or a club song by any means. It’s definitely the most R&B-type song so far, and the person in this group whose voice compliments this style most is Bom. She did a great job in her sections and she really stood out. Basically, I was really impressed by how contemporary and nice this song was, making it my favorite thus far.

I immediately knew Let’s Go Party would be fun when I heard the song’s title spoken in five different languages. But surprisingly, this isn’t an in-your-face kind of party song – it’s classy and relaxed. The English lines, I found, really worked well with the low-level synth and beats. This is the kind of party I want to be at!

Pretty Boy brings us straight back to the fierce pop that 2NE1 are known for. if there was ever a club song, this would be it. The verse has an interesting, staccato synth line while the chorus runs much more smoothly. However, it kind of feels like an electronic overload at times, with the heavily-altered vocals and the never-ending synthiness. I’m not so sure about that part, but it’s really not so bad that it cheapens my view of the song on the whole.

As the closest thing we get to a ballad on this mini-album, Stay Together is cute and romantic. Again, we’ve got the same style arrangement we’ve had in every other song, so at this point it’s starting to sound a little samey. The chorus is nice but everything else is kind of boring.

Lollipop (feat. Big Bang) is the song that brought 2NE1 into the spotlight, and I’ve gotta say, I love it. The whole nice-yet-naughty sound is really addicting, and although I don’t know much about Big Bang’s music I found their parts to be catchy. The Lolli lolli lollipop, you’re my lollipop section has a very sexual tone to it, but honestly it works, and I still had fun.

Summary: As far as mini-albums go, I’d say this one fits into the really damn good category. 2NE1 have a style and sass to their music that is, to put it bluntly, irresistible. One thing I must say is that they have got to start switching it up a little – after a while, I felt like I was listening to the same song over again! Anyway, this can be forgiven as the girls’ first full-length album is due out soon, leaving plenty of room for more experimentation.

Album Grade: A+

2 thoughts on “Album Review: 2NE1 – “2NE1 [1st Mini-Album]”

  1. Good review, I love Pretty Boy and Fire.

    In the Club was disappointing because the name made me think it was going to be an upbeat song. And yes, 2NE1 mini-album is one of the best mini-albums I have seen.

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