The experts agree: with a successful career, an eye-catching aesthetic unique among k-pop idol groups and several iconic hits under their belt, there’s no denying the influence of 2NE1, a YG Entertainment production who are legitimately one of the best groups in k-pop. Oh wait… did I type “are”? I meant “were”, sorry about that. It’s not a secret to anybody with reasonably discerning musical taste that 2NE1’s last couple of years’ worth of output has been complete and utter crap compared to their 2009-2011 glory days. It hasn’t hurt the group commercially but 2NE1 are riding off brand recognition alone at this point anyway, they’ve already built up an insane fanbase that will lap up literally anything they shit out no matter how bad (meaning bad) it is. Let’s be honest here – if 2NE1 were a brand new group debuting with any of the songs that they’ve been peddling lately, nobody would tolerate it – they would have sunk without a trace.
We all know the “what” and the “when”, but being an inquisitive sort, I’m more interested in the “how” and “why”. How could such an iconic group suddenly sink so low in terms of musical quality? Why do all their new songs suck many hard cocks? This post will look at a few theories, present a case for each one, and attempt to bring an elusive answer to this troubling question.
1. The Teddy/Han Ye Seul theory
In November 2013 it was confirmed that Teddy, YG’s main producer and hit songwriter for almost all of 2NE1’s material, had been in a relationship with Korean actress Han Ye Seul for the previous six months.. which funnily enough, was when 2NE1’s last decent song “Scream” was released. Coincidence? At the time of writing this post, Teddy and Han Ye Seul are still a couple, and 2NE1’s material has sucked ever since they started being an item. Aside from causing great anguish to fellow bloggers on a purely personal level, it’s possible that this relationship may have directly affected the musical quality of Teddy’s output for 2NE1.
Teddy wouldn’t be the only songwriter to experience difficulty in songwriting during a relationship. Several songwriters across various genres all report extreme difficulty in writing happy songs or even writing any songs at all during times that their personal lives and relationships are going well, and relative ease of either writing sad songs or writing when depressed. There’s a good reason for it – songwriting thrives off ideas, and relationship conflicts, loneliness and misfortune have a silver lining for a creative artist – they are a hive of ideas and inspiration. On the other hand “I’m so happy” doesn’t tend to make for very interesting narrative material, and songs based off this idea alone tend to be complete dogshit.
With this in mind, if Teddy and Han Ye Seul break up, we may start seeing quality 2NE1 songs again. Or maybe not, but I can dream.
2. The YG comeback theory
YG have been busy since April 2012, with more than just organising meetups for Teddy and his actress crush. They’ve been busy with:
- Team B (I guess “Loser” didn’t have the right ring to it)
- Akdong Musician
- All five members of BigBang doing solo work
- Lee Hi
- Epik High
- Ku Hye Sun (who?)
- Kang Seung Yoon (who?)
- Jennie Kim
- Some new girl group we don’t know about yet (supposedly)
- IKON (may or may not be the same group)
- Sacking some trainee group SuPearls and trolling everyone
- Getting rid of Gummy because LOL
- Some reality TV show wank
- Nothing much else of note
No wonder they haven’t got time to prioritize 2NE1 anymore, they know 2NE1 will sell anyway so they’re farming out all the good shit to the new upcoming groups. CL was waiting so long for YG to get their shit together and finally give her some tracks for the new album that she started writing parts of the songs herself just because she got so fucking bored. Maybe the new 2NE1 comebacks have been shit simply because nobody cared.
3. The YG Cartel theory
I’m not talking about Bom’s jelly sandwich bonus content – but something else.
If you guessed “Motherfucking Reefer Madness” you are correct. We all know that G-Dragon likes a puff of the green, and anyone who thinks that GD&TOP’s “High High” is a strictly aeronautical reference is probably being willfully naive. Not that I have any problem with it, I think the shit should be legal everywhere personally, but there’s no doubt that marijuana has been proven to affect people’s perception of music, by making sounds appear more vibrant and detailed than they really are. This becomes a problem if you’re in the process of creating music – something that sounds really interesting to you as a stoned composer, producer or audio engineer may sound really fucking boring to a non-stoned listener because they’re not hearing it the same way that you are, because they’re not on the same drugs that you are. Too much lighting up in the recording studio could indeed be the cause of the decline in quality of 2NE1 tracks… and you thought 2NE1’s reggae just sucked because you didn’t like it – as it happens there’s actually a medical reason why you’re not into it.
4. The Illuminati theory
Look, triangles and shit, plus ominous drones in the background and spelling mistakes… seems legit. Also, they cover one eye sometimes (which pretty much means every k-pop artist ever is Illuminati as well as every Emocore and Visual Kei artist ever, wow who isn’t in on this? I’m in the music business too… am I the only one left out? Where’s my all-consuming satanic power?) Could 2NE1’s new shithouse music be an Illuminati plot to pummel people’s brains into submission and make them more willing to accept the One World Government in return for 2NE1’s silence?
Something for you to think about anyway (or laugh at the lameness of), in the meantime I’m off to scan my physical copies of 2NE1 albums for hidden RFID chips.
5. The T-ara theory
Let’s engage in netizens’ favourite sport and blame T-ara! So far according to Korea’s Internet-warrior bright sparks, these things are T-ara’s fault:
- KKS being cool and gangster as fuck…
- …and getting away with it
- Ladies Code’s car accident plus CCMs graphic design department’s decisions
- CCM’s release schedule
- The Chuseok holiday being ruined
- Anyone who commits suicide in Korea
- Anyone sad because other people look happy on TV
- Their inferiority complexes because T-ara girls dated the “bad boy” in high school
…and that’s just in the last month! If T-ara can be responsible for all of that, statistically it’s likely that they’re somehow responsible for 2NE1’s shit songs too.
I didn’t know. I wanted to know what you guys thought instead, so I devised a short survey, where you could pick from the above five options. Over 200 of you nice folks contributed your choices to the survey, and here’s the results:
YG just not giving a fuck was the clear winner, with 48.6% of the vote! Teddy’s jizz-soaked brain came in second with a respectable 27%, 13.1% strapped themselves into the Netizenbuzz T-arahatemobile, 10.4% thought that YG had too many suspiciously authentic-sounding reggae comebacks lately, and only 0.9% thought that the setting for 2NE1’s “Falling In Love” MV looked suspiciously like Bohemian Grove.
Of course it’s not a Kpopalypse survey without a completely pointless extra question, which was:
53.2% of you were wise to my blogging laziness – I honestly just didn’t know what the fuck else to write about, so this shit seemed like a good idea at the time. Damn, there’s no getting past you guys. 41.4% thought that maybe I was a fan saddened by their recent dip in quality, which was also partially true – I do actually own three 2NE1 albums plus a DVD, you know. This may surprise the 5.4% of you who thought I was just a hater – no way, I want 2NE1’s music to not suck a thousand smelly cocks just as much as the next music fan.
Thanks everyone for doing the survey, so that the truth can be known, and remember kids: