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2NE1's "To Anyone" album review!

September 9, 2010 @ 1:43 pm
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[caption id="attachment_122322" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="2NE1's CL, Bom, Dara, & Minzy"][/caption] It is the most highly anticipated comeback of the year – "To Anyone" has sold over 120,000 copies in pre-orders alone, and the sales keep rising. Fanned by flirtatious audio teasers and a fierce image makeover, weeks of dedicated coverage have finally brought us to this moment. 2NE1'S ALBUM, "TO ANYONE", HAS FINALLY DROPPED! Released at midnight, allkpop tore through the album like a kid on Christmas morning to bring you a breakdown of all the tracks.  So, without further ado... (Oh. Before the jump, please note that all opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author alone, and that allkpop does not adopt nor endorse them as their official stance on the album.) Now please proceed! 1. Can't Nobody (3:29) "Forget passive introductions – We are 2NE1 and we are going to bring it." As the first track, "Can't Nobody" seems to deliver this message with confidence. Energetic, fast, and aggressive – it feels like a twist on "Fire". It takes a few listens to get used to their altered style, however, Bom and Dara's infectious chorus locks you down for a return. 2. Go Away (3:40) If you're going through a breakup and don't feel like wasting away in a dark corner somewhere, if you don't want overly-emotional ballads to become the soundtrack of your life, then this is the song for you. Filling you up with the resolve to pick up your pride and move on, the electric guitars and pulsing beat drive you forward to your new day. Best part? CL referencing walking away from 'destiny', à la Beyoncé. Oh, and she curses for the first time. 3. Clap Your Hands // 박수 (3:43) As much as allkpop hates to use any type of slang in our articles, we just can't find any other word that epitomizes the impression for "Clap Your Hands": this song is boss. This right here is what fans have been expecting in the evolution of 2NE1's music.  Aggressive bass, flawless raps, and weaving it all together at the critical moment with bright harmonized voices.  Easily one of the best songs in the album. 4. I'm Busy // 바빠 (3:38) You knew there was one coming. It's always in every album somewhere. I have been truly trying my best to examine these tracks in the spirit of unbiased honesty, and so, at the risk of becoming extremely unpopular with 2NE1 fans from here on out, this is how I feel about "I'm Busy": If the HAL 9000 computer from "2011: A Space Odyssey" decided to quit his day job, get a sex change, and become a pop star, this would be the result. I don't even hear regular vocals anymore – it's all auto-tune. Wait, no. I take that back.  Rarely do I hear regular vocals - except for this break in the song where Bom appears, and suddenly "I'm Busy" seems like the perfect soundtrack for a neo-Western shootout. Still, it's a very energetic dance track, guaranteed to hook your interest with the constant flux and change in theme and tempo. 5. It Hurts // 아파 (Slow) (4:16) Crooning harmoniously without affectation, the group delivers a song  of distress and disappointment directed against an unfaithful lover. It's like a breath of fresh air, this song. I'm so happy hearing their untouched voices that I'll even venture a pun:  2NE1, 'it doesn't hurt' to rely on your natural talents – no gimmicks necessary, no bells and whistles needed. A sidenote: out of the four, Minzy's voice surprises the most with the maturity it seems to have acquired over the past few months. Highly recommended track. 6. Love is Ouch // 사랑은 아야야 (3:54) A wonderfully composed track – the tolling bells really add a depth that seems to have disappeared from most of the aforementioned tracks. Yes, there's still auto-tune, but it's tastefully done. >> Tracks 7-9 have been omitted for review, due to their prior release. 7. You and I (Park Bom Solo) 8. Please Don't Go (CL & Minzy Solo) 9. Kiss (Sandara Solo) >> Continuing on: 10. Try To Follow Me // 따라 해봐요 (3:09) I finally get why 2NE1 released this track a few months ago, and then went under the radar again: "Try To Follow Me" is supposed to bridge their old style and their new (upgraded?) one. The vocals have yet to be kidnapped by the synthesizers, but we know through the chorus that 2NE1's been engaging with the tribe. Don't get me wrong, I love this track. I just feel wistful. 11. I Don't Care (Reggae Remix) (3:53) Remember when 2NE1 collaborated with G-Dragon last year to create a reggae remix for "I Don't Care" as a fun request from the program, 'Idol Big Show'? Fans liked it so much, that with a little tweaking here and there, the remix has made its official (re)appearance. 12. Can't Nobody (English Version) (3:28) For some reason, the track seems doubly sophisticated because the English lyrics are delivered so flawlessly and comprehensively. Which version do you think you'll favor more? Ending Comments: I'm going to be quite frank. I was really shocked by the amount of auto-tune in the album, and so after my first run-through, I felt disappointed, and even bereft. Yes, there were highlights in the form of "Clap Your Hands", "It Hurts (Slow)", and "Go Away." Yes, the girls did not compromise on that sass, that swagger, which makes their delivery unique and their presence charismatic. But what happened? Perhaps it's just me hating on auto-tune, like the way stiff art critics hate on Jackson Pollock. It's new, it's fairly provocative in the way that these girls won't hold back. I do recommend you give the record a few good turns, and flesh out how you feel about it. Regardless of whether my review interested or infuriated you, I stand by this point at the end of the day: 2NE1 is one of the most interesting groups in the Korean music industry, and I will continue to support them as they continue to transcend limitations and expectations. "To Anyone" was released this morning concurrently with the music video for "Clap Your Hands."  The MVs for 'Go Away' and 'Can't Nobody' are scheduled for unveiling on the 10th and 11th at 10am KST.

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