The K-pop girl group shakes up a CGI-created world and downtown Los Angeles with new visuals
K-pop's baddest females are truly back and bolder than ever. After spending 2013 experimenting with different images and sounds -- from the sunny, reggae pop of "Falling in Love" to the sparse, piano ballad "Missing You" -- 2NE1's new album "Crush" feels like a return to the group's roots. The 10-track LP comes with hard-hitting, electro-pop/hip-hop tracks that recall some of 2NE1's past singles while refreshing the formula with new sounds and influences.
It's all led off by first single "Come Back Home" -- one of two the quartet will actively promote -- a reggae-trap hybrid that mashes the two seemingly disparate genres into a booming final product. Opening with a bouncy beat similar to Rihanna's "Man Down," the girls croon about losing a lover, asking him to "come back home" until the production flips into a heavy trap beat. At that point, the girls get seductive and demand their love to "come, baby baby, come, baby baby."
While the gals played with reggae last summer, this new single feels like a more honest attempt to dive into the genre as opposed to just incorporating it for an easy-breezy summer sound. "Come Back Home" -- along with album standout "MTBD," a solo by 2NE1 leader CL -- feel like the type of tracks Rihanna or Nicki Minaj would make if they were a little more open minded to genre fusion.
In its computer graphic-heavy visual, 2NE1 live in a futuristic world where one can escape reality for a "virtual paradise" with a special machine. While the girls can live out their ideal fantasies -- unsuprisingly, main vocalist Bom is a diva singer entertaining a dinner crowd -- when Dara's love interest would rather be in the fantasy land than with her, the girls transform into warrior rebels to lead an army to seemingly destory the paradise.
With the sci-fi clip ending without an ultimate resolution, one wonders if the video for hip-hop/dance track "Gotta Be You" -- the other promoted single off "Crush" -- will be its part two.
The video for album track "Happy" dropped alongside "Home," revealing a much lighter side of the girls -- despite the melancholy lyrics, heard in the brilliant "I'm not happy, but I hope you're happy" chorus line.
Watch the cartoon-inspired visual as the girls saunter around Los Angeles in their signature, crazy-patterned getups and hairstyles that require a double take -- from Minzy's violet bowl cut to Dara's '90s-inspired baby curls.
As Billboard previously reported, "Crush" could make an impressive splash on several Billboard charts this week. Early industry forecasts suggested the LP could sell 4,000 copies which could lead to 2NE1's first entry on the Billboard 200. The charts refresh every Thursday.
Fans can also look forward to videos for "Gotta Be You" and the "unplugged version" of "Come Back Home."