Friday, March 14th, 2014

2NE1 – Come Back Home

Come back home — we don’t know who you are anymore.


Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Quite frankly, the make-up of 2NE1’s recently released Crush boggles the mind. After running a pretty sublime victory lap through 2013 — the group toured as holograms, turned bass music into weirdo solo flops, chewed through fake patois to craft a summer jam and rounded it off with tear-streaked atmosphere — they washed it all out and presented Crush, a hollowed-out and bored take on their stylistic leaps of last year. “Come Back Home” is the first sign that it’s going to be a rocky road in 2014 as a Blackjack: awkwardly jutting, a mishmash of bored Baauer rips and cod-reggae and hollowed-out emoting. It’s ugly, ugly.

Iain Mew: When “Come Back Home” gets to the plasticky rollercoaster drop of the title bit, I picture a CGI nodding in approval. It’s “Boom Boom Pow” grade rather than a horror, and the rest of the song is a nice winter flip of “Falling in Love”, but the interface between the two doesn’t work and neither play to 2NE1’s strengths.

Madeleine Lee: Massive beginning, lots of promise and borrowed reggae as it builds, and then, just as it really accelerates and you’re ready for it to explode, it decides it’s not ready yet (or, more likely, that you’re not ready yet, like an irritating MC telling the crowd “I can’t hear you!” for the fourth time) and sits back down. Then it repeats the hype cycle all over again. It’s a metaphor for 2NE1’s career arc if there ever was one, down to the fact that the girls are the ones least at fault here — they can only make the best of what they’ve been given.

Brad Shoup: As apart as poles, the first two gorgeous lines of the chorus and the insensate breakdown, in which the title becomes a highway on fire. Like many poor-thinking Americans, I’ve rarely cared for reggae guitar hack in my pop. Here, it’s an expert windup, gaining velocity toward that blessed refrain. If this thing is a tonal maze, the ending is three walls and a trapdoor.

Alfred Soto: The mix allows each hi-hat, echo, celeste, and attempt at reggae skank the pure physicality that competes without besting 2NE1’s. One of the rare singles whose gyrations don’t come sketched.

Cédric Le Merrer: 2NE1’s songs have always felt a bit like an advertisement for their own superior brand of kpop. Most of Teddy Park’s productions for them since at least I Love You had been on some kind of prog-pop trip, with intricate multi part beats and oblique arrangements. Come Back Home, going from electro power ballad to sultry buzzy plea and getting acoustic on CL’s rapped solo, is meant to provoke a shiba reaction: wow, such beats, very talent. Thankfully, the songwriting is great too, and the song’s subject is one perfectly fit for a showcase approach: the beat morphs not just to impress but because the pleading girls try several ways to convince us to come back home. (If you want convincing, the album even provide the dreaded acoustic version that, according Youtube cover wisdom, is supposed to show you the real great substituting hidden behind the smoke and mirrors of modern production tricks) You’re always on the verge of being more impressed than moved with 2NE1, but when they’re at their best you can’t say which one wins. 

Jessica Doyle: This is the second straight 2NE1 song where I’m respectful of the production and yet unmoved. The lyrics are a wallow in longing, but there are hints — in Dara’s “so far away” and CL’s distorted “come back hoooome” — of the self-satisfaction that animated “I Am the Best.” It’s as if Teddy was pacing back and forth until 3 am and ended up with confusion masquerading as self-regard masquerading as the future.

Sonya Nicholson: Short on melodic ideas compared to their explosive first two years, 2014 sees 2NE1 turning to stunt songwriting – it’s reggae AND piano pop AND trap! – and heroi(ne)c vocals to keep their reputation up.  But check out the production on this: we’re all familiar with what producers are aiming for with those skittering drums, but the way the music throbs during the chorus, the breakdown, and even the verses ties Come Back Home together and gives it a compelling, unmistakably sexual twist, as if to say “If you COME back, you’ll GET TO COME.” The pun is obvious, even corny, but the frisson is real, especially in live versions where fans add their own energy by chanting over the parts of the song that might otherwise have dragged it into navel-gazing druggyness (just kidding, I like the trap either way). 

Sabina Tang: “Reggae-techno-pop” is by nature awkward, but 2NE1’s effort is worthy: CL’s mature expressivity is a pleasure in any context, and Minzy is elsewhere a revelation. The trap drop into 90s cyberspace visuals fails to coalesce with the rest, though I could be persuaded by it as a standalone. (Johnny Mnemonic approaches its 20th(!) anniversary as an aesthetic revelation; and PS3-era Final Fantasy is at least worth the nostalgia.)

Reader average: [6.57] (14 votes)

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4 Responses to “2NE1 – Come Back Home”

  1. I thought 2013 was the rough year for Blackjacks and 2014 was supposed to be the comeback? Well so much for that.

  2. It’s all about 2010-2011.

  3. I don’t even particularly like this song but the fact that it scored lower than Mr. Mr. is some kinda bullshit.

  4. aeroz: How so? Based on the number of reviews per song, they really should be considered statistically the same score.

    Come Back Home has a higher controversy index than Mr. Mr., indicating that 2NE1 received higher highs and lower lows than SNSD. A low CI, combined with the slightly-less-than-7 score indicates that most found Mr. Mr. and SNSD as consistently pleasant, whereas 2NE1, with their higher ambitions and previous highs, had higher expectations, leading to more passionate scores, both positive and negative. Some would consider that state of affairs to be more desirable in the world of music/art, than playing it safe.

    Plus, the number of reviews is only a fraction of the Jukebox’s stable of reviewers, so there could easily be a genre bias in every average. There was just a slight preference that day for Euro-house-ish over the Teddy/ style-hybrid.

    Both tracks bore me.