Okay everyone, take out a pen and paper because we’re about to embark on a crash course in 2NE1, the Korean-pop (K-pop) group about to take over American airwaves.
Forget your preconceived notions of bubble pop songs. Forget about PSY. 2NE1 is not knocking on America’s door, they’re kicking through the walls.
Starting in the late 1990’s, K-pop slowly trickled into American interest. With the help of YouTube, K-pop started gaining momentum around the mid 2000’s and by about 2009, started spiking in popularity.
Founded by YG Entertainment in 2009, 2NE1 is comprised of CL, Dara, Bom, and Minzy. The name 2NE1 is an acronym for the following: “to any one,” “twenty-one,” and a combination for “21st century” and “new evolution.”
Still with me?
2NE1 has branched into practically every international pop culture industry you can imagine. Ever heard of Maybelline? Or Jeremy Scott? Will.i.am? Adidas? They’ve all heard of 2NE1. And they’ve collaborated with them in music, sponsorships, modelling contracts, and more.
In the past few months, 2NE1’s hit single “I Am The Best” garnered America’s attention from a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 commercial. Its music video reached 100 million views on YouTube (okay half of those views are probably mine). The song itself hit number one on Billboard’s World Digital Songs, and some American radio stations are actually playing the song.
And with CL’s recently announced plans for a solo debut in the U.S. for spring 2015, 2NE1’s American explosion is a ticking time bomb. (Note: K-pop solo albums don’t have the same “group tension” connotation as American band-member solo albums.)
They’ve been recognized globally; The New York Times listed 2NE1’s U.S. concerts among Jay-Z and The Rolling Stones as one of the best concerts of 2012, and MTV Iggy crowned them the best new band in the world in 2011.
With more than 20,000 audience members per concert, 2NE1 fans (officially labeled Blackjacks) clearly think 2NE1 are living up to their hype.
Like their name’s multiplicity suggests, 2NE1 is full of frenzied power-pop that combines techno, reggae, acoustic guitar, rap and ballads. The best part? Every song is under the umbrella of kick-ass girl power.
From songs about accepting your feelings to relationship blues to empowerment, 2NE1 presents itself as a modern day Spice Girls with a fiery twist.
In a culture that values status quo, 2NE1 isn’t afraid to smash barriers and create safe and fun spaces for self-expression.
2NE1’s futuristic music videos, crazy ever changing hairstyles, and bright eccentric outfits are seamlessly intertwined with the always-explosive energy of their performances. Their charisma is entrancing, and it’s impossible to keep from dancing to their music. Luckily for fans, as is customary in K-pop, each song has a corresponding dance so you can join your favorites as they shake it on stage.
There’s only a few months left until CL drops her album, and it’s only a matter of time until you hear the inescapably catchy beat of “I Am The Best” on your local radio.
So grab a few friends, some rainbow hair dye and get ready to dance. 2NE1 is about to invade.
Hanna Greenblott is a sophomore English language and literature major and can be reached at email@example.com.