First off, this totally is not my usual style of music, but I just discovered this Korean girl group, 2NE1 (pronounced as both “Twenty-One” and “To Anyone”), and I’ll be damned if this isn’t some of the catchiest !@#$ I’ve heard in a long time:
Well, like I said, it’s not my usual style (I tend toward guitar-driven rock), so I suppose it’s possible/probable that it sounds very much like other stuff in the same genre(s), and I just haven’t heard the other stuff. Most of what I hear in this genre is the the same six songs in heavy rotation on the radio, and most of what’s on the radio is crap. But I’m mainly comparing it to the similar Japanese stuff I’ve heard, in that so much of the J-Pop I’ve come across seems to be focused on pushing the “cute” to the front with the music being just a vehicle for the “cute”.
My main point though was that it’s “catchy”, more than “good”. That first song, “Fire”, does have an incredibly infectious groove to it. I’ve watched a few of 2NE1’s live performance videos, and it’s pretty clear that Bom (the one with the long, straight hair dyed red or green) is the only “real singer” in the group; she’s the only one whose voice isn’t layered with Autotune and other effects on the studio versions, and the only one who actually sounded “good” live when they were all singing without the effects. They can all carry a tune just fine, but Bom’s voice has a fullness and power to it that the others lacked. The other’s strike me as primarily dancers. But I really enjoy the presentation and the choreography.
a) “I am a fan of this genre of music, and this group is a terrible example of this genre.”
b) “I don’t like this style of music at all, thus it is terrible.”
If “a”, that is fine and I can respect your opinion, though it would be nice if you could explain that opinion with more than a “this sucks” post. Say, enlighten me with some examples of good artists in the genre (since, as I’ve already said, it’s not a genre I spend a lot of time listening to and I admit my ignorance), and also perhaps explain just what’s so bad about this group.
If “b”, then I have no choice but to lump you in with those who say things like “I like both kinds of music: country and western!” or “Did you hear this new style that combines country and rap? It’s called ‘CRAP’! LOLOLOL!”
I prefer my J-Pop (K-Pop) to have more pop in it. My idea of a good time is Ai Otsuka or GoGo7188. There are too many hip-hop influences in this group’s music to attract my attention. My favorite of the group was the last - Go Away.
In addition, I think the concept of Asian girls acting like American black men is ludicrous.
I haven’t heard of GoGo7188, but I’ve heard/seen a few Ai Otsuka songs/videos and really enjoyed them. “Chu-Lip” has to be the most jaw-droppingly bizarre (and brilliant) video I’ve ever seen
My favorite Japanese acts are more “J-Rock” than “J-Pop” - aiko (sadly, it appears that all of her stuff has gotten yanked off YouTube, but at least I own most of her CDs) ZONE (who had already disbanded before I discovered them), and MARIA, a group fronted by ZONE’s bassist. I admit I kind of got burned out on the “pop” due to the complete overload of the various Hello! Project groups and their copycats.
Yeah, I’ll concede that. Apparently, from what I’ve read, they (or rather, their handlers) were initially going for the “strong, aggressive, empowered woman” image at the beginning, but have since decided to go for a more feminine approach. Of course, there have been plenty of American, black, female hip-hop artists who act the same way in videos (not to mention all the white hip-hop artists of both sexes who act like that), so I wouldn’t be surprised that the Koreans might see the American product and, being culturally removed from the source, just assume that certain mannerisms are “expected” when performing in that style.
Have you heard this new style of music, it combines chiptunes with rap. It’s called CRAP! Hyuk Hyuk Hyuk.
I liked the videos in the reverse order that you posted them. I don’t like rappy music, which is odd because I do like punk. Put me down for another one who thinks it is funny when the Japanese/Koreans/etc try to emphasize ASSets that they will never have.
I think I listed them in roughly chronological order - “Fire” at least was their debut single.
That’s actually one of the first things I noticed about 2NE1, as I mentioned in my OP - the fact that a couple of them, Minzy in particular (the one with the short bob cut) and to a lesser extent, CL (blond in most of the videos) appear to have honest-to-goodness butts. I’m going to call it “dancer’s butt”, as most of the professional dancers I’ve seen — and I know a couple personally — tend to have well-shaped butts, similar to figure skaters. And in this case, Minzy appears to be the best dancer in the group, leading me to suspect she’s probably been training as a dancer since childhood.
I actually clicked on that video before I started this thread, but couldn’t make it through the whole thing. That group seems to be a rather blatant attempt to copy the Morning Musume idea.
Haven’t listened to much Ace of Base, but all the Mika stuff I’ve heard is awesome.
Anyway, I didn’t really mean to sound so harsh in my response to your first post. It’s just that I’m a musician myself, who has played several different instruments over the years in a wide variety of styles. I’ve played bassoon in a symphony orchestra, sax in a “big band” swing setting, '60s folk music on the guitar (learning from my mom’s record collection), I was heavily into The Beatles in my teens, '80s metal, traditional and modern country music, progressive rock (Rush is my all-time favorite band, with Geddy Lee being the reason I became a bass player), piano-driven rock, marching band, I once sang in Latin performing Faure’s “Requiem” at an Episcopal church, and I first heard and fell in love with rap back in 1979 when I heard Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”. While I’m certainly no virtuoso musician, I feel I can honestly distinguish between “this is just plain bad” and “I simply don’t like this”, and get irritated when somebody seems to be equating those two positions.
One of the conclusions I’ve come to as I’ve gotten older (and this is just my opinion) is that ultimately, the most important criteria of any kind of art/performance is simply, “Does this entertain me?” And I’ve discovered, often as not, that a “bad” performance (depending, of course, on how you define “bad”) can be just as entertaining as a “good” performance, and thus successful (example: David Lee Roth is not a great singer, but he was entertaining as hell in Van Halen). And vice versa: as many comments on the SDMB attest, there are plenty who acknowledge people like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen as brilliant, virtuoso guitarists, but don’t find them entertaining because they “lack soul”. Then there are those who just aren’t good at all in some respects, but more than make up for it in other ways: Bob Dylan is a bad singer and there’s nothing notable about his guitar playing, but he’s a brilliant songwriter.
And I think this is why you so often hear certain artists described with, “You have to see them live”. An example here is Bruce Springsteen. I’ve never really enjoyed anything I’ve heard from him (though, again, I recognize his and his band’s talent), but then I’ve never seen a live performance. I can accept that, on stage, he and his band bring a different energy to the performance that really sells the songs in a way that just doesn’t come across in a studio setting.
And that brings me back to acts like 2NE1 in my OP. I’ll admit that this isn’t music I’m likely to buy just to listen to. This is a style where the visual (the dancing, the costuming, the storytelling, and production) is just as important as the aural, and those two components come together in these videos in a way that I find very entertaining. It also has the advantage of being (mostly) in a language I don’t understand, so I’m not distracted by the possibly/probably mindless lyrics. The girls’ voices simply become more “instruments” contributing to the overall package.
I don’t know why you think this is any different than the other K-pop that’s been coming out in the last five years. Evenings I work at a Korean girls’ program and I’ve had to hear this stuff during breaks for a long time. Their costumes may be different, but their music and moves are the same–they’re as pre-fab as all the others.
Didn’t say it was. Before finding this group, the only Korean pop singer I’d even heard was BOA, and I only knew about her because she has a big following in Japan and thus comes up a lot when searching for J-Pop. I just singled out this group because I stumbled upon them and found them more entertaining than similar Japanese acts I’ve seen.