2NE1: 2NE1

The K-pop group's delayed Japanese debut arrives with a fizzle

2NE1: 2NE1

Something strange happened on the way to 2NE1's planned conquest of Japan. The girl group are one of the hottest properties in their home country, prized for their urban stylings and the ease with which they appropriate moves from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, or whoever else is most fashionable in pop music this month. Yet a planned Japanese album launch last December was postponed, with label Rhythm Zone awkwardly admitting that they weren't ready to do the job properly.

Whatever it was that held things up, it certainly wasn't any musical considerations. 2NE1 compiles Korean-language tracks from the group's eponymous mini-album debut and its full-length follow-up, To Anyone. Singles 'Fire', 'I Don't Care' and 'Lollipop' are all there, and sounding much the same as they did back in 2009, but 'Can't Nobody' and 'Go Away' are bizarrely absent (an absence made stranger still by the decision to finish with 'Kiss', a song that features only one member of the group).

All of this, incidentally, can be yours for just 3,059 yen, which is more than the combined cost of the original Korean releases on import. There's also a more expensive 'limited edition' that comes with a DVD containing the videos for 'Fire (Space)' and 'I Don't Care' – great news for anyone who didn't help contribute to the 19 million views that the former has clocked up on YouTube so far.

Rhythm Zone seems to be following the strategy used to launch Kara's J-pop career here, and there's a good chance that 2NE1 is intended to serve as a primer for a Japanese-language album later in the year. None of this, however, excuses the half-arsedness of the whole thing, or the audacity of charging full whack for what's essentially a reheat. If it's remembered at all, 2NE1 will go down as one of the year's most pointless releases, an album designed purely to extract money from consumers too slavish, gullible or downright stupid to know better than to leave it on the shelves.

Time Out Tokyo rating:

2NE1 is out now on Rhythm Zone

By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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