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COMMENTS

No pussyfooting around this one. We’re just going to say flat out that this song didn’t do it for us. If you don’t know by now, we’re big 2NE1 fans, and we set the bar really high for them. So for us, this song was just kind of…meh, especially in comparison to their other really high energy, in your face kind of songs. It does remind us of 2NE1’s “Go Away” which we also didn’t like. It seems both those songs follow the same pattern of “simple verses” + “rock-esque chorus” = an important message song, while their other songs follow more of a “unique verses” + “rock-out chorus” = a danceable fist pumping song. But then again, these kind of simple songs by any kpop band just aren’t our style. We love our “Bambaratatata!!!” and “oh,O, oh O, oh O, SHOCKASHOCKASHOCKASHOCKA” and “NANANANANANANANAnanaNANANANAna na na na na” and “cry CRY!!!!” Anyways, we digress.

We just don’t find ourselves humming the song throughout the day, or pumping our fists to a certain verse. The song just kind of came out and then went away for us. Sure, the chorus is great to sing along to, but the rest of the song feels kind of…flat. Also, the message just rubs us the wrong way. We know that it’s supposed to be symbolic (English Majors here) but it seems too self-berating, and it feels like it will be sung by people when they feel bad about themselves.

However, if the lyrics had a turning point, the song would be awesome! Right now we feel like, “yes, you think you’re ugly when you hold yourself up to the standards of beauty…….AND? And what?! Say something else about it!” You don’t necessarily need a nerdy kumbaya to make yourself feel better, but you can at least say something like “well, f**k you guys, I don’t need your approval” or something. Or make a suggestion of a power being found in “ugliness”. Something! *Simon and Martina pinch their nose bridges.*

But the video does a good job of filling the void left by the song by showing 2NE1 wrecking up beauty stores, terrorizing people waiting outside of a club for superficial people, and then rocking out in a dump. So, yeah, the video shows them being comfortable with their uniquely stylish ugliness, which is what we hoped the lyrics would have shown a bit, no? Maybe there’s something subtle in the Korean lyrics that didn’t make it over in English translations?

Alright moving on. We’re really happy with the English in the song though. Like, really happy. Blown away happy. We never understood why Kpop uses English in its songs to begin with. It often seems incongruous to us. We don’t know about you, but when we speak with people we don’t break out into another language randomly and flip flop back and forth. And if we were to for some reason want to speak in another language, we’d at least do so with words or sentences that we’re comfortable with. Take, for example, this video of Mir speaking English.

 

Now, we’re not here to make fun of his English. Our point is that, well, he’s clearly uncomfortable speaking English. He doesn’t seem to have a knack for it. So, umm, why force him to speak English in his songs, then? Why not have him break out into Polish as well, while you’re at it? Why is English used in Kpop songs to begin with, if the main demographic, really, is Korean people in Korea who speak Korean? We don’t get it, but we’re trying to work towards an understanding here. Our guess is that Kpop was using English originally to be trendy, but now it seems like it’s trying to be more international by using English, but in doing so often alienates those uninitiated in Kpop through its terrible execution in English.

Engrish in Kpop

Can someone please make a shirt out of this already?

This is all leading up to our point on 2NE1’s English: this song, we think, finally uses English as it should be used in Kpop. It’s not a random awkward scattering of English phrases. The English in this song is its own standalone entity, and stands up quite well. It’s in an important part of the song, the chorus, which people will sing along to. It bridges both languages, Korean and English, comfortably. Does it sell out its Korean-ness by having a fully English chorus? Not at all. This is still a Korean song. More than that, it finally feels like an international song as well, that an international audience can get behind. Yeah man. Good stuff.

HEY! YOU! Don’t give us that “oh you’re so YG biased” argument, that we know some of you are dying to spit out. We can see it on the tips of your tongues. (Our computer has webcam. We can see you.) We said that we don’t like this song, flat out. But we can pick the parts of it that we do like. Not so great song, but super great use of English that really sets a new standard.

Anyways, we might have sounded kind of hard on 2NE1 but it’s only cause we love them. We still love that 2NE1 – and Amber from f(x) – are pretty much the only kpop idols out there that make an effort to present Korean girls with an alter image of femininity that doesn’t follow the typical Korean cutey/sexy girl pattern. Even though this song isn’t the best, the rest of the album is still worth checking out. 2NE1 Represent!

2NE1 Mini Album Vol. 2

Oh! And as for the winner of last week’s Super Junior – Mr. Simple album contest, we announce those in our bloopers, which I’m surprised we haven’t been posting here as well. Here’s this week’s blooper reel!

 

Aaaaand one last thing: if you’re interested in the Spudgy song we made (why wouldn’t you be? IT’S OSM!) you can download it here:

I’m the Spudgy by simonandmartina

ToFebruary
Gmarket
Sogang
  1. Ya’ll done lost your damn minds! As a new fan of K-POP coming all the way from Texas…..this song is AMAZING! It would easily be picked up on American radio (if it were in English that is). It’s got a powerful message, great hook and delivers everything I love in a good pop rock song. These girls should be diverse and set themselves apart from other groups. It’s what drew me to them specifically in the first place!—jo

  2. “Ugly” is a beautiful song. I don’t understand Korean but it didn’t come across as a sob story to me. To me, the song was empowering because it expressed frustration in a way that demanded the bitter truth. Meaning that they won’t get sucked in by any sweet-talking because none of that shit helps.

    “Ugly” is like a moment that allows people to accept their ugliness or darkness by relating to the song. Outsiders are constantly telling ppl that everything will be okay when it obviously won’t. 2NE1 in “Ugly” don’t want comfort, they want the truth. By telling them that they’re “pretty” is a flat-out lie and shows that nobody is listening or recognizing their insecurities.

    It’s not really a self-loathing message. It’s more anger, frustration and stress.
    “I get mad again, why am I never perfect?”
    “Don’t lie to my face ’cause I know I’m ugly”
    I take that as “I’m frustrated with myself but you’re not even listening because you’re just saying ‘sweet’ things to me since you don’t actually care.”

    That’s my take on it.

    • I have had conversations with friends of mine on this same topic. They also hated the song because they felt it was fake for people she perceived to be pretty to be singing a song about how ugly they felt. She said it made her angry because it was basically the media and society forcing us to have these concepts of what it beautiful. Of course she was seeing this through western eyes without any understanding of Korean culture and how much of their value system is based on looking pretty in their concept of what pretty is.

      I saw someone else who thinks that the song and video actually complete each other. Where the song is speaking of this self image issue, the video is combating the things which created the poor images anyway; the media, and portraying how uniqueness is important and how women need to stand up and combat the status quo when it comes to their own self image.

      It just makes me think of how many women have a poor self image and feel ugly sometimes because they are not what is considered beautiful by the media. And it is even more prevalent in Korean culture where being ‘ ugly’ is pretty much akin to being evil.

  3. Anonymous

    Is that Heartstrings on your laptop? :)

  4. livenlife223r

    I was one of the first to see the video when it first was uploaded onto YouTube; I remember all the European fans going on about how awesome the song was.  I think it’s a really good song… catchy… I find myself singing it in the shower.  Then again, it’s a matter of personal taste for that kind of song.  I agree w/ you about the lyrics, however.  They really should be more uplifting, and it seemed weird for 2NE1 to be singing like this.  But the song has a nice bridge/closing. Also, songs like these seem lacking in Kpop.  I’m glad 2NE1 shows different facets to themselves and can appeal to people w/ different musical tastes.

  5. Anonymous

    With mostly everyone agreeing to it being a song with a powerful meaning , and complimenting 2ne1 I just want to point out the man behind this song too and that is Teddy. I mean he produced this song and all the other great songs for 2ne1 so don’t forget to give credit to him too. Just saying.

  6. Anonymous

    With mostly everyone agreeing to it being a song with a powerful meaning , and complimenting 2ne1 I just want to point out the man behind this song too and that is Teddy. I mean he produced this song and all the other great songs for 2ne1 so don’t forget to give credit to him too. Just saying.

  7. Anonymous

    With mostly everyone agreeing to it being a song with a powerful meaning , and complimenting 2ne1 I just want to point out the man behind this song too and that is Teddy. I mean he produced this song and all the other great songs for 2ne1 so don’t forget to give credit to him too. Just saying.

  8. Anonymous

    With mostly everyone agreeing to it being a song with a powerful meaning , and complimenting 2ne1 I just want to point out the man behind this song too and that is Teddy. I mean he produced this song and all the other great songs for 2ne1 so don’t forget to give credit to him too. Just saying.

  9. Anonymous

    With mostly everyone agreeing to it being a song with a powerful meaning , and complimenting 2ne1 I just want to point out the man behind this song too and that is Teddy. I mean he produced this song and all the other great songs for 2ne1 so don’t forget to give credit to him too. Just saying.

  10. Anonymous

    With mostly everyone agreeing to it being a song with a powerful meaning , and complimenting 2ne1 I just want to point out the man behind this song too and that is Teddy. I mean he produced this song and all the other great songs for 2ne1 so don’t forget to give credit to him too. Just saying.

  11. reality check

    I know the lyrics for ‘Ugly’ does seem contradictory but if they were aiming to make me realize that it’s pathetic to wallow in self-pity…then they did a great job. In one part their voicing out insecurities most people feel which kind of says that it’s pretty normal to feel inadequate, everybody feels that way or something like that. The chorus kind of summarizes the whole idea and it does voice out the very same things I say to myself when I feel really down but the thing is although I can relate to the idea it kind of is like a wake-up call for me. It sort of makes me hear myself and the things I say to myself and then I realize, “This is wrong…I’m thinking the wrong way.” So then I feel kind of emancipated…sort of, “Yeah, I’m ugly according to your standard but that’s not gonna stop me from being myself and succeeding…” Ironically this song feels more affirmative for me compared to say, “I am beautiful no matter what they say…” or the similar kind. I think this is why a lot of people, especially girls think it’s an inspiring song. Unique approach, powerful message.

  12. I was gonna give my vote to 2NE1 without even seeing CN Blue’s video, but eh, figured I might as well give them a fair chance: however, they still fail. They almost scored points for painting the SUV with the owner still in it, but what the hell is UP with leaving all their gear and even their freakin’ band name written on top the building?! Way to go stoopid, now the fat foreign guards know who you are, and they hold your gear hostage.

    2NE1 destroys property for the hell of it, not for free publicity. THAT’S badass. Ugly’s sounds more “rock” than CN Blue’s song, and 2NE1 don’t even play actual instruments, that is sorta lame don’t you think? Plus 2NE1 set their illegal hangout place on fire at least, y’know, destroying the evidence and walking away without looking, because cool guys (and gals) don’t look at explosions, they blow things up and then walk away. *nods* -> http://youtu.be/Sqz5dbs5zmo

    And well, haven’t we already established CL is the baddest female Seoul City ever had? I rest my case…

  13. Anonymous

    I think the lyrical message is supposed to be in conflict with the instrumental.  if you ignore the meaning of the lyrics, the song sounds like a confident anthem.  but the lyrics totally go against that, and I think that’s done on purpose. they can do the depressed sound–they showed us that most recently with Lonely, and before that with It Hurts. If they wanted us to take away a depressed sound, they wouldn’t have gone with the rock anthem feel for this song–which makes me wonder, why?  the only thing i can come up with is that the lyrics put a voice to the thoughts so many people out there suppress–that feeling of inadequacy, especially.  the instrumental and melody put a different emotion to those thoughts, a conquer-all kind of feel, like it doesn’t really matter how ugly or inadequate you feel, because you are so much more than that.

    i think the turning-point messages have been done so many times.  It’s certainly meaningful, and I do love songs like that. but i also like 2NE1’s creative way to get the same message across.  
    As for my vote: 2NE1. definitely.  I love CNBLUE too, and I loved Intuition, but even besides the fact that I’m a Blackjack, 2NE1’s video just made more sense, and was more meaningful.  Plus the glow-in-the-dark paint at the end there is simply awesome. xD

  14. XD it seems like the ‘simon rolling the window’ move is becoming part of most of you new videos LOL. awesome spudgy song! wish it was longer though. :(
    and i agree with Wjdzm on the how do you lipsync to a slow-mo mv? o.O cause i dont think they were trying to lip sync in the mv.

  15. cloiebuggeater

    CN blue make cuter troublemakers :)  I think i’ll vote for them.

  16. Hmm actually when i watch 2ne1TV season 3, they did talk abt this song. They said this is not only about ” being ugly or not” but the feeling of being alone in your world, nobody understand how you feel though they tried to with their lies  and how you have to act “happy” when you’re not …etc but anyway I have to agree with you guys, this is just ” lack of self-confidence “. Instead of singing ” I think i’m ugly and nobody want to love me…” they should sing ” I think i’m ugly but the inside me is so pretty… ”
    p/s: I’m a huge blackjack and i love the Spudgy song <333 full version please and i will make it as my phone ringtone =p~

  17. Hmm actually when i watch 2ne1TV season 3, they did talk abt this song. They said this is not only about ” being ugly or not” but the feeling of being alone in your world, nobody understand how you feel though they tried to with their lies  and how you have to act “happy” when you’re not …etc but anyway I have to agree with you guys, this is just ” lack of self-confidence “. Instead of singing ” I think i’m ugly and nobody want to love me…” they should sing ” I think i’m ugly but the inside me is so pretty… ”
    p/s: I’m a huge blackjack and i love the Spudgy song <333 full version please and i will make it as my phone ringtone =p~

  18. I kinda agree with u guys about the song Ugly that ppl might find themselves actually humming to the song when they are feeling bad because i found myself doing that when i wasn’t feeling too happy. =/ Although i do like the chorus just because i can sing along to it perfectly lol By the way I love the Spudgy song hehe x]

  19. I kinda agree with u guys about the song Ugly that ppl might find themselves actually humming to the song when they are feeling bad because i found myself doing that when i wasn’t feeling too happy. =/ Although i do like the chorus just because i can sing along to it perfectly lol By the way I love the Spudgy song hehe x]

  20. I kinda agree with u guys about the song Ugly that ppl might find themselves actually humming to the song when they are feeling bad because i found myself doing that when i wasn’t feeling too happy. =/ Although i do like the chorus just because i can sing along to it perfectly lol By the way I love the Spudgy song hehe x]

  21. ninirobinson

    Oh wow, i nearly died when i saw Simon making parody of the old spice commercials! Hilarious!
    Oh almost forgot… I’m a blackjack through and trough, i think that 2ne1 kicks all of the other girl groups’ ass, but so sorry I gonna have to go with C.N. Blue, cause i really like intuition, plus i’m not such a fan of ugly…. 

  22. Rachael Murphy

    In the blooper reel from 1:33 to 1:41, so hilarious!!!!!!!! I about died laughing when Simon said “Oh fu…” (seriously, I laughed so loud my dog nearly fell off the bed). Way to play on inside jokes :D

  23. Rachael Murphy

    In the blooper reel from 1:33 to 1:41, so hilarious!!!!!!!! I about died laughing when Simon said “Oh fu…” (seriously, I laughed so loud my dog nearly fell off the bed). Way to play on inside jokes :D

  24. Anonymous

    how do you lip snyc with a video going slow-mo…? i guess Kpop people oughta learn enrish to earn them respect from international fans? eh?

  25. Anonymous

    how do you lip snyc with a video going slow-mo…? i guess Kpop people oughta learn enrish to earn them respect from international fans? eh?

    • Yeah, they do have to learn English if they want to be international.  If they want to stick to the Korean demographic, fine.  They’ve got that conquered.  But if they want to be the international superpowers that their labels are aspiring for them to be, having bad English is just going to alienate your potential audience who aren’t necessarily understanding, or accepting, of Engrish.  They’ll find it funny before they find it enjoyable.  

    • Yeah, they do have to learn English if they want to be international.  If they want to stick to the Korean demographic, fine.  They’ve got that conquered.  But if they want to be the international superpowers that their labels are aspiring for them to be, having bad English is just going to alienate your potential audience who aren’t necessarily understanding, or accepting, of Engrish.  They’ll find it funny before they find it enjoyable.  

  26. Anonymous

    Sorry 2ne1, I love you, but I vote for CN Blue! They are the definition of badass holigans!!! I mean they paint a dude’s car while he is still inside XD Awesome! 

  27. Anonymous

    Sorry 2ne1, I love you, but I vote for CN Blue! They are the definition of badass holigans!!! I mean they paint a dude’s car while he is still inside XD Awesome! 

  28. Anonymous

    Sorry 2ne1, I love you, but I vote for CN Blue! They are the definition of badass holigans!!! I mean they paint a dude’s car while he is still inside XD Awesome! 

  29. I can’t stop laughing at this blooper reel – whats the song you’re both dancing/AYYY GIRLing off to at 1:43 in the video?

  30. I can’t stop laughing at the dance-off at 1:43 in the video – what song are you AYYY GRRRLing/dancing off to?

  31. not going to disagree with you re: english in korean songs, but i AM going to disagree about switching between languages!! i have a lot of bilingual friends who switch seamlessly between english and spanish when having conversations with other bilingual people. a lot of times it can be mid-sentence that they change what language they use, and other times it can be a scattering of spanish words in an english sentence or vice versa. i have filipino friends who do something similar to that, but i think — not sure, don’t quote me!! — tagalog has some adopted english words to begin with.

    it seems to be a lot more common with, say, my bilingual friends that speak english and spanish vs. my bilingual friends who speak english and chinese, and more often than not the people i know who do it grew up speaking both languages rather than learning a second language later on. so i can’t explain the kpop trend with random english words, but the language switching thing does happen, at least here in california! :)

    • Thats actually true. When I am speaking with my friends, we speak using a mix of Hindi and English without even making any effort. As you said, its got to do with growing up with two languages (three in my case) so you are equally comfortable with more than one language.

      • See, I’m agreeing with you on this.  I grew up with Polish and English, and would flip flop back and forth with my parents because I’m proficient in both.  Martina doesn’t speak Polish, though, so I don’t speak Polish to her, because that would be weird.  Also, we don’t use French, because we both equally suck at it.  

        How about a rule: only flip to another language if you, and the person you are speaking with, is comfortable with the change?  Maybe?

        • Yeah .. such flip flops have made for some very hilarious and embarrassing moments when you flip to another language only to realize that the person you are talking to has no clue what you are saying cause he is staring at you with an expression that says “Say What????”
          You suck at French? I was under the impression that all Canadians are good at French, or is it only some parts of Canada ..

    • Thats actually true. When I am speaking with my friends, we speak using a mix of Hindi and English without even making any effort. As you said, its got to do with growing up with two languages (three in my case) so you are equally comfortable with more than one language.

    • yea i agree with you. I also switch languages when im speaking spanish just because im not comfortable speaking spanish sometimes although i can understand it perfectly nd read nd write it. My friends nd family who are also bilingual also switch languages too or wat a lot of people call spanglish when that happens. By the way im from massachusetts. :)

  32. JUST ANOTHER HEADS UP, the ‘shirt’ that they have previewed here is actually from my (failing) shirt store. Here’s the link again for those interested. And for the ones who are complaining about the lyrics chosen on the shirt, it is just a direct quote from one of their videos. 
    http://kpopfanaddicts.spreadshirt.com/

  33. seriously! this is sooo cute!!!!!~ i think i’m spudgy!!!~

  34. Anonymous

    I vote CN Blue! ~

  35. laura guerra

    I vote for 2NE1! They’re for sure the baddest…

  36. Mir it’s just so damn cute :c his english it’s the most amazing thing in the world. I vote for CNBLUE, and the ‘Give it to my Y’ I don’t think should be on the shirt because it was more like a pronunciation thing, however I’d still buy that shirt.

  37. Mir it’s just so damn cute :c his english it’s the most amazing thing in the world. I vote for CNBLUE, and the ‘Give it to my Y’ I don’t think should be on the shirt because it was more like a pronunciation thing, however I’d still buy that shirt.

  38. Alex Chartrand

    Instead of having UGLY stuck in the head, I have the Spudgy-remix… Can’t stop singing it… 

  39. First of all, I vote CNBLUE (their song is ‘Intuition,’ ‘First Step’ is their album). Flat out love them. I mean, really? Was there really even a competition. CNBLUE spray painted on walls AND cars and glass, jumped over little gates, got away with it all- and above all, played on the roof and disappeared afterwards! 2NE1’s neon paint? It would make me wanna go there more. I like neon and glow in the dark stuff.

    Anyway, on the shirt, you forgot “Fire can easily when dry.”

  40. XD spudgy’s so cute!~ (i’m srry 2NE1) but i think i’m gonna vote for c.n. blue this time
    not really a fan yet but i have a soft spot for them :3 (lol)

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