I did a double take when I first read the title of 2NE1’s new song. I Love You. Three simple words that everyone wants to hear, and three words that I never thought would be the title of a 2NE1 song. Why, you
ask? 2NE1 has managed to stand out from the overcrowded pop market by constantly showing themselves to be confident, funky, and in-you-face. Just look at the list of their past hits; Fire, I Don’t Care, Go Away, Hate You, I Am The Best, Ugly. Their latest track takes them into unexplored territory by casting the group in a more vulnerable light. However, don’t think that I Love You is some cheesey love ballad. After all….this is 2NE1 we’re talking about.
I Love You has a unique sound that combines genres to create a unique listening experience. This song has elements of an electro-dance club track, mixed with the sounds of a retro 80’s pop song, and even a bit of trot for good measure. Its a totally distinct sound that couldn’t have been done by anyone but 2NE1.
The topic of the song is something new for these four bad asses. Its about being in love, but also about being afraid to be emotionally vulnerable. Lyrics like “I’m still afraid to love, so please give me something to believe in,” really drives that point home. The chorus is simple, consisting of only those three words. Still, when combined with the dance beat, that simple phrase becomes a catchy chorus that easily hits its mark.
Each of the group’s four ladies has a distinct vocal style, and this song really plays into each of their strengths. Dara has never sounded so good. Its not that she’s suddenly become a spectacular vocalist, but the song really suits her light and pure tone. Bom’s and Minzy each sound gorgeous with their deep, soulful tones. However, the stand out is CL, who demonstrates tender vocal moments, as well as some powerhouse belting, and fierce rapping for good measure.
The song’s composition is nothing short of genius. Its structure is constantly twisting and changing, and it often surprises in the directions that it takes. Right when you think the song is building up to an awesome dance section, we are instead presented with a slow and tender vocal section. Towards the end, when you’d expect the final chorus, CL comes out of nowhere with a bad ass rap section.
Each section seems to convey the emotions of love and vulnerability. The slow parts have a minimal beat that give the feeling of waiting, and loneliness. The verses feel full of anticipation, yearning and excitement. The chorus delivers that final confession, and feels vulnerable, blissful, and raw. Finally, the rap section is when all of the intensity comes out in a moment of passion. This song simply grabs you and takes you on an emotional ride.
The accompanying music video is really neat, and features some gorgeous scenes of the girls. Bom is simply beautiful as she pouts in her empty bed. Dara;s head of bright pink hair stands out against the street of black clad figures. CL dances seductively to an empty chair, which is one of the more interesting scenes. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t really feature any type of story, which I feel is a bit on a missed opportunity. However, the girls look gorgeous throughout the entire 4 minutes.
2NE1 has been impressing with their live performances. The song’s choreography features a really cool “scarf dance” that really helps establish this new direction. While I Love You portrays the girls in a new light, 2NE1 remains unchanged in the fact that they are one of Korea’s most consistent creators of high quality music.