Fact: South Korean pop music has infiltrated American pop culture. After Psy's through-the-roof hit "Gangnam Style," more and more K-pop artists and groups have crossed the Pacific and made their marks stateside. Girl group f(x) "welcomed" Anna Kendrick as their newest member, Big Bang took over Brooklyn for two music videos, and there's an entire section in Billboard dedicated to the K-pop scene. But, in an industry where the number of girl groups rival the number of instances in which Lady Gaga has made us go, well, gaga, it feels like all the ladies look and sound the same after a while. Perfectly executed singing and choreography with booty shorts, a cute-yet-sexy vibe, and a whole lotta hair flipping — it's like they're robots. Well, not 2NE1.
This four-member group is all about being badasses — and the more extreme, the better. Made up of Park Bom, Lee Chaerin (known as CL), Gong Minji (Minzy), and Sandara Park (Dara), the ladies produce some of the catchiest songs and most visually arresting music videos in the industry. If you don't believe me, maybe this will convince you: The group's second album, Crush, scored a #10 spot on the American iTunes chart when it debuted in late February, and the music video for the single "Come Back Home" has nearly 7.5 million views on YouTube. Not too shabby, eh?
So, what sets 2NE1 apart from the rest of the girl groups in the biz? Their ability mix to multiple genres like hip-hop and dance with pop to create seriously catchy tunes, a fearless sense of fashion, and championing of girl power without any frills or sugar-coating. The quad prefers singing about being the best in the game over lost love (okay, there is a bit of that in their discography), kickin' it on stage in Jeremy Scott's wing sneakers over platform stilettos, sporting electric blue hair over blonde strands, and rocking grills over cutesy winks. Yes, there's a good dose of sexiness in the mix, but it's done with such an edge that you don't realize it until you've watched the music video twice — which you will, trust me.
Even though I've no idea what 2NE1 is singing about, I can still appreciate the infectious beats, fashion porn, and general badass, IDGAF attitude that the group embodies. Keep doing your thing, 2NE1, and don't stop the music.