UGLY was 2NE1’s 2nd mini-album. It was released on July 28, 2011. The covers were also changed for some reason, I am featuring the original cover, it looks a lot better. And just a note, ALL of the tracks are my favorites!
1. I AM THE BEST
4. Hate You
5. Don’t Cry
6. Don’t Stop the Music
As far as I’m concerned, this is the BEST ALBUM from South Korea! Granted I have yet to hear anything else, but I just LOVE this group and this mini-album. This mini-album is interesting IMO, purely because all of the tracks, minus one, were released prior to the physical release as digital singles (minus the final track, but it was given a PV months ago). Every song on this mini-album has a PV and they’re all pretty good, and pretty strong songs. Anyway, let’s get onto the review!
The first track is I AM THE BEST. This was the song that really got me into 2NE1, and it’s hard to believe that it was released only a month ago. It borders on the edge of hip-hop, and it’s one FIERCE song. The chorus, which translates to the title of the song, is just flawless. I still can’t get it outta my head. And stay tuned for the bridge, it’s pretty damn good. This is one of the best songs on the album, although all of the songs are unforgettable; just shows how impressive this group is.
The title track UGLY was the only song that was new, but it’s one of the best IMO. I remember seeing the promos for the PV and the girls looked stunning, they also mentioned that the song would be a rock song. I certainly have nothing against rock, but I was wondering how the song would sound. Would it be sad? Would it be aggressive? Or would it be happy? With the way Hate You was like, I naturally thought that this song would be something along the lines of “You’re UGLY,” of course though, I was wrong. This song is the complete opposite of that, instead, it’s about being ugly themselves. It’s one of those very sad rock songs that brings tears to your eyes at some points. The verses sound incredible, but they sound really sad, namely because of the acoustics and synth riffs. The chorus however isn’t sad at all, musically at least. It sounds empowering almost, the music is loud, energetic and rocking; but the message is still sad. It’s in English but CL is just singing about how she wants to be pretty etc. While I like the chorus, I have to say that I like the verses much more. It’s a bit faster, and the synth riffs and beats really make it interesting. The chorus sounds a bit outta place since it does use heavier rock elements, but it’s still lovely. It’s rather sad though, it’s very melancholic and depressing; it reminds me of when I was younger. The one thing I get outta this song is that it’s fine to be vulnerable and insecure, because eventually you’ll grow out of it.
I think I’m ugly
And nobody wants to love me
It’s rather fitting to put Lonely after the title track, because both are very sad. This song really pulls at my heartstrings, it’s so very beautiful, but at the same time I almost can’t help but feel teary. It’s very raw compared to some of their other stuff, and you get to hear the vocals unaltered by vocoders or anything. The acoustics are perfect, and this song is just amazing. Worth a listen if you like ballads, or even if you don’t, it’s worth a shot.
Released a week before the mini-album, with it’s own animated PV of course, is none other than Hate You. I fell in love with this song the instant I heard the preview, which was only 35 seconds long. Anyway, this is one hell of a song. How to describe this song though? It’s interesting to say the least. I’d say that it borders on pop and R&B with maybe a dash of hip-hop??? Either way, this is one killer track. This song is loaded with energetic thumping beats, dance infused synth riffs and some other inorganic arrangements that really set it apart. What I really like is that this song is empowering, it’s the complete opposite as UGLY, namely because the girls are calling out some loser guy, saying they’re “fine living without you.” Another great thing about this song is the contrast between the verses and chorus. The verses sound so powerful and strong and carefree, while the chorus sounds more aggressive and a lot angry. And I really loved the vocals. CL’s vocals were a bit nasally (does that make sense and does anyone else agree with me?) and yet flawless. Bom’s vocals were perfect as usual (more on her amazing vocals to follow) and I loved the layering, you’ll hear what I mean. Dara and Minzy were amazing too, I only wish they had more parts in the song, although the bridge was spectacular, all of their vocals are so awesome! I haven’t seen them perform this live yet, I don’t think they have atm, but I can’t wait. This is one of those songs that could easily be played at a club, it’s that infectious.
When I first heard Don’t Cry, I was at 2NE1’s youtube account, it was there that I saw the PV, I actually had it on one tab and listened to it but you get the idea. I was looking at 2NE1’s discography and I couldn’t find it. I looked around a bit and found out it was Bom’s solo. Since I’ve heard Bom sing, I’ve been a big fan, always wanting to hear her sing more. If you’re a fan of Bom, you’re going to want to hear this song. It’s a powerful and somehow almost up-beat sounding ballad. First off, her vocals are spectacular. The vocals are filled with both power and emotion. Initially I would’ve said this song is a ballad, but I think it implies a bit too much. This is more of a pop song, with dance infusions and synth riffs; that being said, pop is starting to sound very different than what it used to years ago. And on a final note, extremely catchy and up-beat, and her English is perfect (she buts BoA to shame).
The final track on the mini-album is also the oldest. Don’t Stop The Music was originally used in a CM for the Yamaha Fiore (a vehicle). It was even given a PV, in which they would even say “Fiore” as part of the lyrics, this has been replaced by “yayaya.” Anyway, it’s a typical 2NE1 song. It’s a club banger featuring infectious beats, distortions, rapping, and naturally some hot music. My favorite part was Bom’s singing, the hook if you will, I am in LOVE with her vocals. The other girls had some great vocals too, but I just really love Bom’s. At times this song seemed to have some hip-hop music with it, or slight R&B, doesn’t really matter since the song is a party song IMO.
I am so in love with this mini-album. I absolutely loved every single song on this release. All of the songs were perfect and just phenomenal! I still find it interesting that this album really only has one new song on it, but all of the singles were hits apparently, so it’s all good. The only thing that would have made it better would be to add maybe another solo track by the other three girls. As far as genre goes, it has them all. You have your raw emotional ballad, your club hits and your pop songs. I love everything about this mini-album, even the cover and digital art. Ok, maybe not the cover, the original cover was much better, not sure why it was changed, but it’s ok with me. I wish they had a bit more pictures of them as opposed to just the animated pictures, but I love it all that same. I only wish that I could put all of them in this review, it was hard to pick which ones would look best. I think I found the best release of the year, for Korean music at least, and possibly Asian music as well, we’ll see what else comes out this year. And I guess I should say this slight disclaimer: This may not be for everyone, and that’s fine. I remember when 2NE1 debuted and I didn’t really like their music, I even dismissed them and thought nothing more till now. It just so happens that I like everything on this release, the same can’t be said for some of their previous material though. Anyway, flawless mini-album, worth a try even if you don’t like Korean music. Are you ready for 2NE1?