To All the Girls We’ve Loved Before: 2NE1

Having been following the K-Pop scene for a long time, we at KStreetManila have seen the rise and fall of many artists. We remember their monumental debuts and hit songs. They were the ones who paved the way for many acts we see today. This is what “To All the Girls We Loved Before” will be all about – a tribute to the iconic girl groups who made K-Pop what it is today.

2NE1, who?

Once upon a time, girl groups doing fierce concepts were a rarity in the K-Pop scene. Sometime in 2009, YG Entertainment teased about debuting a girl group, who will be a counterpart of Big Bang.  So in May 2009, 2NE1 was born.

2NE1 (pronounced like to anyone) is composed of Lee Chaerin (CL), Park Bom, Gong Minzy, and Sandara Park (Dara). They first appeared together with Big Bang on “Lollipop” MV, a promotional campaign for LG Electronics. On May 26, 2009, their debut song “Fire” was released, which won several awards within the first month of its release, including the Rookie of the Month at Cyworld Digital Music Awards. Their follow-up song “I Don’t Care” was also well-received and won multiple times at music shows.

Four studio albums, three extended plays, twenty three singles, and several concerts and awards later, the group has cemented its status as one of the top girl groups both in South Korea and overseas. However, the group took a hiatus in 2015 to focus on individual activities. The year 2016 saw the departure of the youngest member, Minzy, from the group and the eventual disbandment of 2NE1. On January 21, 2017, the 3 remaining members released “Goodbye” as a final gift to their fans.

Impact on the K-Pop Scene

What made 2NE1 a cut above the rest is their unique style and sound. Their debut song “Fire” is a hip-hop/reggae song, a far cry from the usual cute debut songs of other girl groups. Being Big Bang’s sister group, the girls were initially known to be hip-hop but this changed when they released their follow-up single “I Don’t Care”, which portrays a strong woman who needs no man. Meanwhile, “Falling in Love” and “Missing You” showed an image of a girl in love. 2NE1 never limited themselves to hip-hop or electropop dance songs and fierce concepts, something which appealed to both male and female fans.

2NE1 is one of the most popular K-Pop groups in the Philippines. They paved the way to making K-Pop a part of the mainstream music scene in the country. This is all thanks to Dara who was once an actress here and whose popularity remains unchanged when she returned to showbiz industry as an idol. In 2009, they won the “Rookie of the Year” award at the 1st Kpop Convention Awards. The following year, they won the Female Group of the Year in the 2nd Kpop Convention Awards. “Go Away” and “Come Back Home” won the “Favorite K-pop Video Award” at MYX Music Awards in the year 2011 and 2015, respectively.

May 17, 2014 was definitely a memorable date for every Filipino BlackJack (2NE1’s official fan club name) as the Philippines was one of the stops of 2NE1’s “All or Nothing” world tour. Since the Philippines was considered Dara’s second home, the group made sure to make it a unique experience. Dara invited her friends from the talent search show, Star Circle Quest, to perform with her on stage. They also performed Dara’s Filipino hit, “In or Out”, which caused much enthusiasm of the crowd because they get to hear their favorite group sing in Filipino.

Video credit: Oh, My Goddess

It’s undeniable that 2NE1 changed the girl group scene in South Korea. Their talent and uniqueness attracted fans not just in their home country but also abroad. They may have already disbanded but their contribution to the music industry will surely never be forgotten anytime soon. Like what the song “Goodbye” said, “until the day we meet again.” So, thank you, 2NE1! We hope to see you again!

What is your favorite 2NE1 song and/or album? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Irish Valdez

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