Thursday, July 18th, 2013

2NE1 – Falling in Love

Well, we’re back in the right country at least, right?


Katherine St Asaph: It doesn’t take too much of a tumble down the K-pop rabbit hole to instantly recognize this as 2NE1; even if there weren’t callbacks (“the club’s getting ugly” has to be one, right?), they are a group with a formula as set as Little Mix throwing positivity confetti or Destiny’s Child always giving Michelle the bridge. At the same time, this could easily be Gwen Stefani and the Black Eyed Peas with all their pollutants siphoned out and replaced with lake air. It works; this feels like they’re falling in love, if only with the BPM.

Anthony Easton: The beginning of this is strange in a familiar way, and how they sing “touch, touch, touch” is fantastic in its abrasiveness. It’s as ugly as they identify it. The “falling in love” sections become more romantic and prettier — but they don’t even play with the pretty message and the ugly vocals. That the “touch” sections are abrasive, and the romance sections are florid, suggests a kind of implied moral that might make us a bit uncomfortable.

Patrick St. Michel: Most of the 2NE1 songs and music videos that have caught attention outside of South Korea have been the bombastic ones, the sort of songs that would sound ideal blasting out of WWE’s TitanTron. Yet they have plenty of more chilled out moments in their discography, and “Falling In Love” isn’t even the quartet’s first time wading into Reggae waters. There are contemporary elements drizzled across it, from the EDM-ish electronic touches to the feeling that a lot of this is just CL’s “The Baddest Female” made more summer-appropriate. And it’s definitely a fit for the season, but it’s also a little too pleasant, especially for a group capable of way more fireworks. 

Alfred Soto: While the indignant crayoning in the vocals grinds against the emollient cadences of dance hall, the electronic aftertaste never lets up.

Iain Mew: Dara wearing a bindi: still not OK at all! Difficult not to be soured on the whole thing after that (again), especially with a song as underwhelming as this vaguely reggae pop on first listen, but it eventually just about gets somewhere. The chorus is swooning and the sparing dub wubs are used really well, plus the contrast of being mostly easy-going with CL’s ultra-tight rapping works to even better effect than on “I Love You,” and the effects that sound like ripping sweat-stuck limbs from furniture are a great summer touch.

Cedric Le Merrer: One half of it is a great K-ragga muffin, the other half is meh swedish reggae. 2NE1 can do agressive, sexy, dramatic… But happy & relaxed is out of their grasp, apparently.

Josh Langhoff: Pros! Is there a dub version?

Brad Shoup: Airless reggae punctuated with CL’s raised-hackle flow belying a pretty standard meet-cute. I like the way they handle the title though.

Andy Hutchins: Why is 2NE1 boring and having a combined Ace of Base/dancehall period now?

Reader average: [6.87] (31 votes)

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10 Responses to “2NE1 – Falling in Love”

  1. This song is so effing dull and boring. I rate it one of the worst K-pop songs this year. When I originally reviewed it I tried to be nice and gave it a safe 5/10 (despite dragging it to the high heavens) just in case it grew on me, but it really is terrible.

    2NE1 is the most overrated group in K-pop. I do love their first album though, but they’ve jumped the shark. There’s so many good K-pop groups out there that there’s no point even paying attention to these flops.

    I’m only interested in CL and her underrated masterpieces like “The Baddest Female.” CL is the Diana/Beyawnce/Nicole Swastika of our generation and she needs to go solo ASAP.

  2. Also not here for any yip yapping cultural appropriation arguments…

    *looks at Iain*

    *puts on a bindi, do-rag, paints face like an Aboriginal and gets CRUNK*

  3. :(

  4. Katherine, that whole couplet is callbacks! “In the Club”, “Ugly”, “I Don’t Care”, “Can’t Nobody”, and “Fire” are all 2NE1 tracks (I might be missing a couple but as much as I love 2NE1 I’m say A and S?NE first so that brainspace is occupied by other groups)

  5. ^Also possibly “Hate You” (“Let them haters sit and stare”)

    My Indian mother said Dara looked beautiful in her bindi, for whatever that’s worth.

  6. ak — aha! I wasn’t totally making things up!

  7. Man, I thought you guys had the song covered so I didn’t write anything, but I like it more than any of you, so maybe I should have! Like 4minute What’s Your Name, it’s breezy and light, coupled with a shocking (for S Korea) sexual forwardness from the female singers. CL is dragging this down with her brat-rapping, but the verses are have an inteesting melody and are well sung and the hook is perfect. Perfect! That feeling does feel like falling in love. Dara kills her reggae bridge too. I think it’s an interesting mix of songs and genres, and a good cohesive summer song.

  8. really shocked at how low this score is. I basically agree with Sonya, but I’d also add in an argument for the progressive subtext in this song: I love how powerful CL is even in lovestruck mode, I love the absence of the male gaze, the sense of female camaraderie, the brief moment in the chorus where Bom is struck speechless but still spins it into a hook that she completely owns. a real light treat; sure, it’s not as world-changing as something like “I Love You,” but 2NE1 operating in energy-saving mode still runs smoother than most other pop groups on full blast!

  9. okay okay okay someone has to tell me where that perfect “KILL DEM” sample comes from

  10. I was thinking back to this post and Saiid’s comment when reading Michelle Myers’ final two paragraphs here. It’s not the same situation but the message about allies and acknowledging a plurality of opinions hit me as something I didn’t do very well in this post.

    I don’t think that arguments about appropriation are yip yapping, and think that the issue with the video is worth acknowledging in reviews, and I also think it’s worth linking to people better placed than me to explain. However, I shouldn’t have simplified Jaya Bedi’s message to ‘not OK at all’, especially when she was specifically talking about the US and the implications are not entirely the same as in South Korea. Sorry, I will try to do better in future.

    Also sorry that I don’t know the answer to Daniel’s question.