Top 2011 Tracks
08. 2NE1 - I Am The Best
K-Pop has gained incredible international momentum, as it seems to be influencing more and more acts in the western world (Grimes and Elite Gymnastics come to mind). K-Pop is not musically alien to western pop because it was basically forged from it. Korean music companies distilled the essence of pop success and flavored their own groups with unashamed amounts of glittery fun and bubblepop cheesiness, and the K-Pop scene has shown itself to be filled with talented folks doing deviant albeit formulaic music.
In Korea, 2NE1 is one of the biggest names in music, topping charts with every one of their singles. 2NE1, as best proven with “I Am The Best”, have a major edge on the K-pop ensemble of stars; essentially configured as a hip-hop girl-group, their flare shines through each video and each verse as hard-hitting bombs. The aggressiveness of their output makes each of the girls individually abrasive. CL is the leader of the pack, and she works alongside maknae Minzy (the youngest in the group, who is just about my age) to put upfront the fiercest side of 2NE1 through their raps and more sophisticated choreographies. Bom usually carries out the hooks because of her more powerful vocals, and Dara holds the middle-ground of the group, equally supporting the melodious and the guttural.
2NE1 has produced expensive-looking videos, but they all pale in comparision to “I Am The Best”. Platinum-flavored, the girls flaunt their success with their choreographies; there is even a scene in which they destroy their chart achievements gallery with their luscious baseball bats. The track highlights each hook and each verse as it pumps through the throat-gripping synths. Some 2NE1 songs make use of exotic musical tones to flavor up their variations, like the raggaeton in “박수 쳐” (“Clap Your Hands”) and the arabic arpeggios in the variation of “I Am The Best” as CL chants the song’s culminating mantra. The feeling I get from listening to that chant is prime pop enjoyment.