This week’s song review is going to be dedicated to one of Kpop’s fiercest quartets: 2NE1, with their debut song ‘Fire’.
The song ‘Fire’ has two distinct and different concepts, which are ‘Space’ and ‘Street’. The song remains the same but each concept has its own different video, and the girls have outfits which match the respective theme.
The ‘Space’ version of ‘Fire’ has a sleek and slightly futuristic visual to it, with elements that are fairly reminiscent of Lady Gaga, such as CL’s visor and hair bow, along with the exaggerated and over-the-top nature of their clothing. Now, I only mention this because if this song were to debut into the UK market there would undoubtedly be comparisons of 2NE1 to Lady Gaga, for example; when Beyonce released her video for ‘Who Runs The World’ many people were quick to accuse her of copying Lady Gaga’s style, which is completely not true. It is possible that non-Kpop fans would jump to the conclusion that this ‘Space’ concept is jumping onto the Gaga bandwagon, which we know to be short sighted as 2NE1 is well known for their unique style. On the other hand, this style similarity may help break down the language barrier for some people as the fashion worn by 2NE1 will be recognisable by some and make Korean songs more accessible to the British public.
The ‘Street’ version may be the version that would be more accepted in the UK as it has a more ‘hip hop’ feel to it, for example, ‘Fight For This Love’ by Cheryl Cole had hip hop dance moves and style. The video is set in an alley and the entire focus in pretty much on the girls dancing. The clothes worn in this version are still vibrant but are slightly toned down and have a more urban and relaxed feel to them. This may be something UK fans will prefer in a music video as this is a kind of fashion that they can emulate more easily. The only problem that could arise from this concept would be Dara’s outfit, as she is wearing completely oversized clothes and a cap that look like they could be menswear. Dara effortlessly pulls this look off but this is not a look commonly worn in UK music videos, and as such people in the UK may perceive this look as a little strange.
The production of both videos is very high quality and the overall visuals are flawless. They are vibrant and exciting to watch, and I think that both concepts would work quite well in the UK but only one should be released. 2NE1 fans will appreciate seeing different sides to 2NE1, but non-Kpop fans may not see the point in two different videos for the same song.
I have always felt that the ‘Street’ version fits the song slightly better than the ‘Space’ version, and as such I would recommend that this should be the version of the video that should be released if they entered the UK market. This was a tough call to make, because come on…who can resist Bom in bunny ears?
Score – 3.5/5
The choreography is the same in both concepts, but the routine is slightly more organic to the more urban ‘Street’ version, which being a slightly simpler video gives the choreography more of a chance to stand out and be noticed. The choreography is fairly simple but allows the girls to bring confidence and an undeniable swag to the routine, which allows their charisma to shine through and makes 2NE1 instantly likeable. A proportion of the dance moves are easy enough to copy which is always a bonus, and seeing as this song is my current ringtone I always find myself dancing along to the opening of the song, and as such I can imagine other people would do so too! Despite the choreography being pretty simple, there is a part that allows Minzy to demonstrate her dancing skills as she pops-and-locks her way through a mini dance solo, which should be impressive to someone watching the MV even if they are not a Kpop fan.
There is nothing shy about ‘Fire’ and it is an attention grabbing song from the get-go which is bound to hook people in. It has a distinctive electro beat and begins with the sound of a siren that feels like it’s commanding you to listen. This kind of beginning is found in a number of urban and hip hop songs which have been popular in the UK, such as Beyonce’s ‘Ring The Alarm’ and Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Sirens’. With these siren sounds being found in the popular music in Britain, it can bring a certain credibility to a foreign song entering the UK market.
It is not only the beginning of the song that brings a Western feel to this song, but also the English used within the lyrics. CL introduces the song in flawless English, and the other English phrases used throughout are easily understandable and fit well with the sound of the song. With the good use of English and the Western sound of it, the song should be able to transcend the language barrier. Most people will not be able to understand the Korean lyrics, but this may be overlooked as the song sounds great.
Overall score: 12.5/15 – Some may argue that I have given too high marks for this song, but I genuinely believe that 2NE1 would have one of the best chances of succeeding in the UK compared to most Kpop bands. Their English skills are impressive (they have already released the English version of one of their songs and have gained interest from many Western artists) and their music and style are heavily influenced by Western culture, which will make them relatable to the UK audience.
I realise that this review is fairly long, and I apologise. Blame YG and the two awesome versions of this video which took twice as long to discuss!
Just to remind everyone that this review and score is based on how well I think this song would do in the UK.
Thank you for reading and post your thoughts below!