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Kpop Album Review: 2NE1's Second Regular Album 'Crush'

2NE1 revealed its new album, finally. 2NE1 released its second regular album 'Crush', which includes a total of 10 tracks, on February 27, 2014.

Through the album, leader CL published her self written songs for the first time since her debut in 2009. She composed and wrote three songs of the album, 'Crush', 'If I were you' and 'Baby I miss you'.

She doesn't look like a novice songwriter at all. She expressed her own color with refined sounds.

'Crush' has elements of strong synth sound, dance, trap and rock beats. The song shows 2NE1's identity as a hip hop girl group well. 2NE1 shows off its confidence swagger with strong hip hop sound and the lyrics like "Pretty ladies love me because it makes them pretty." In terms of thematic consciousness, the song reminds of CL's solo hit 'The Baddest Female', but it has more plentiful sound.

Park Bom and Minzy show off their powerful vocal, and it seems that CL arranged proper melodies cleverly.

'If I were you' is a pathetic ballad piece that has sweet piano and unique string melody. 2NE1 sings about love and parting from standpoint of woman. I'm sure that it will find an echo in every woman's heart. Fifth track's 'Good to you', written and composed by Teddy and Big Bang's G-Dragon, also is a ballad song, but CL proved that she is as competitive songwriter as the two hit makers.

'Baby I miss you', which exudes mystique and dreamy atmosphere, is the song about fluttering hearts of man and woman.

Sometimes CL got compared to her label mate G-Dragon because both of them are fashion leaders who show buoyant confidence on the stage as rappers of unique styles. They have been regarded as being more than just another Kpop idols. However, in comparison with GD, the biggest shortfall in CL was a lack of songwriting skill.

But things are changed. Through 2NE1's newest album, CL proved that she has a sufficient competitiveness as a songwriter. There is a good chance that it becomes an important turning point for CL and 2NE1's musical career. I look forward to seeing CL doing active works as a producer of 2NE1's upcoming albums.

With her solo track 'MTBD'(Mental Breakdown), CL also shows off her competitive rapping skill. The hip hop track includes suspenseful drum beat and unique synth sounds.

Throughout the album, I can feel CL's trace. Well, you can say "2NE1 of CL and by CL."

The album includes two title tracks, 'Come back home' and 'Gotta be you'. The reason why YG Entertainment chose these two songs as title tracks, putting CL's own songs aside is to achieve recognition in the aspect of both musicality and popular appeal.

'Come back home' catches fans off balance. Some of Kpop fans might expect a song just like Taiji Boys' hit of the same title that was released in 1995, but 2NE1's 'Come back home' is totally different from it.

'Come back home', which has retro style melody, is the song about parting and sadness. The chorus is easy to sing to, but the song is not that common because there is a surprise turn around to trap beats at the latter part of the song.

'Gotta be you' is comprised of exciting beats and old school melody. This track begins with CL's attractive rapping and it leads to Minzy's rythmical vocal. At the chorus, Park Bom explodes emotion, bringing the song to a climax.

Before the album release, Yang Hyun Suk, CEO of YG Entertainment stated, "When I first listened to CL’s very own song, the one word that described my feeling was 'surprised'. Which is only natural, because I have known CL for 8 years and I never expected her to produce a song like this, and the song was too good to be her very first one."

And added, "CL is one of the very few South Korean female rappers who is known for her charismatic performance and outstanding fashion sense, and I am sure creating her own song will act as a foothold for CL to take another leap forward."

As a result, Yang Hyun Suk proved the above statement with 2NE1's high quality album. CL played a central role, while Park Bom, Minzy and Sandara Park have fully performed their duties.

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