Review: 2NE1 – “Do You Love Me” is the Good 2NE1 Single of the Summer

2ne1 do you love me cover

Ironically, because it looks like it took one day to make and edit, “Do You Love Me” is the superior single that 2NE1 has released this year.

What has always set 2NE1 apart, and why they, more than any other K-Pop group, has the most potential to break into the mainstream Western market is their ear for beats and loud but distinct personas. Ever since the group debuted four years ago, 2NE1 has consistently brought an attitude and fierce individuality that, when combined with their love for euro, reggae and hip-hop, makes for a pretty easy transition to other markets. “Do You Love Me” reminds everyone why 2NE1 should still be considered a force in K-Pop. The girls exude energy and fun in a genuine way that is impossible for groups to construct through well choreographed dances and carefully practiced aegyo.  2NE1 may be the only group in K-Pop which can release an instagram video compilation clip music video and make it more charismatic, exciting and enjoyable than most of what passes for edgy fun these days.

“Do You Love Me” is vintage 2NE1 and a welcomed return for a group which has spent the last couple of years expanding out to American pop (“Ugly” and “Lonely”), more J-Pop inspired trends (“I Love You”) and the fairly disappointing “Falling in Love” which ended up being a lifeless mix of J-Pop sterility and reggae instrumentation that was about as disastrous as one would think. The bass for “Do You Love Me” kicks things off and the electro-synths hit as hard as anything 2NE1 has released since “Fire”. CL comes in with the hook, and it’s as simple as it is effective. The high record scratch-like beat that plays above the bass keeps things appropriately hard while the lower-grinding synths bring some club sensibilities to the arrangement. Bom is brought in for the chorus and she owns it (Bom has one of the most unique, and clear voices in K-Pop and is a joy to listen to). Minzy and Dara fill in at the edges, with Dara hitting some of the higher registers and Minzy going for some of the lower tones. They do well but, like most good 2NE1 songs, it always comes down to CL and Bom and the two rock out like the stars they are. “Do You Love Me” is not anything that 2NE1 hasn’t done before but at this point, after branching out for years and not having much more to prove, it does remind everyone why people love 2NE1 in the first place.

So much tude.

So much tude.

As for the video, it is a perfect visual representation of what makes 2NE1 special within the K-Popsphere. Seemingly shot by the girls themselves, it looks and viscerally feels real. One could feasibly believe that 2NE1 acts like this on some particularly fun nights. It takes a lot of work and cache to build up a reputation so that something like this is possible and 2NE1 has never strayed far from their brand of being some of the funnest and baddest girls alive (having their own TV show certainly has helped in regards to showcasing their personalities as well). Thus, 2NE1 filming each other having a party in a bathroom? Yeah, that sounds right. 2NE1 trashing their hotel room in the wee hours of morning. Passes the smell test. 2NE1 rocking the fuck out with Hong Chul at the club and then going to a pool party? Completely believable. For an “impromptu” look into the life of an artist (or group) to work for a video, the key is that the viewers must have some idea of the personality of the artist to properly judge and “buy into” the act. If the artist fails at this, then the entire thing comes off as contrived at best and manipulative at worst. 2NE1 have worked their asses off to have the individualistic, I-don’t-care-what-you-think-I’m-awesome cred to release something like “Do You Love Me”. “Do You Love Me” isn’t just a home-video style music video, it’s a thesis statement for 2NE1.

Rock out

Rocking out

It is kind of remarkable what 2NE1 is able to do with “Do You Love Me”. It is a near perfect representation of what the group has worked to let its’ listeners experience since the day they were founded. SNSD couldn’t do something like this without causing sones to suffer from severe cognitive dissonance. T-ara couldn’t as the group is suffering from a huge “authenticity” problem at the moment. The closest group who could make something like this at this point is probably 4Minute but even there, only Hyuna has a defined personality while every member of 2NE1 has been able to craft a distinct identity. The quartet all shine in their own unique way in “Do You Love Me” and the fact that they can is what makes 2NE1 one of the best acts in K-Pop and one of the most promising acts to breakout internationally. Do you love me may be a question, but “Do You Love Me” rephrases that question in a subtle but perfectly 2NE1-ian way. How could you not?

Rating: 5 Yeses out of 5 Do You Love Me’s



  1. And they have redeemed themselves from “Falling in Love”. This will be repeated on a loop for days in my head, so catchy and a great music video to it as well. They look like they are having the time of their lives in the video.

    1. It really is night and day between the two releases. Should have gone with this one first as “Falling in Love” is more than half way towards being a choreography music video anyways.

  2. rohaniyerdxb · · Reply

    I can finally choose to ignore the disasterpiece that they began the summer with.

    Killer track! And the MV is a refreshing change from many others this summer.

    1. rohaniyerdxb · · Reply

      Also, I think it may have been covered in the WW post already, but some of Dara’s hairstyles always annoy me to no end. Things are improving now – at a sloooow pace. This video is more or less free of it – thank god.

      Why would they want to mess up someone who is capable of looking so good.

      (It always comes up for me whenever 2NE1 releases a new track)

      1. I did touch upon it there and it is extremely annoying. I remember reading somewhere that the reason they give Dara the loudest hair is because she’s the most reserved member of 2NE1, so it’s compensating for that. It is a crime that the only time she’s been shown in “peak pretty Dara mode” has been “I Love You” which they didn’t promote heavily (the Skrillex style looks great on her in my opinion) and Taeyang’s “I Need a Girl” where she’s a guest star with no lines.

      2. Actually Dara is quite a character. She and Bom are the fun members of the group. CL and Minzy are the reserved ones (outside of their stage personas).

        I hate the new blond hair but I sorta like all the other styles. It fits her weird personality.

  3. I can’t fathom as to why people are saying ‘I DON’T LIKE THIS SONG, IT’S BORINGGG’
    I mean, I understand their opinions if they legitly don’t like the song (it’s catchy though so…) but most are comparing ALL their post I’m the Best songs to IATB and complain that it doesn’t meet expectations… but isn’t that every single group though? Most groups have like 1 or 2 songs that’re good then they start to suck so this track was an improvement from the shitstorm of music imho.
    Not to mention, this year was filled with a lot of shitty comebacks so this song is like AT LEAST top 10 for the year (my personal opinion) if just judging by the songs released from January till now.
    The MV was cool, too and they tried something new.

    1. It’s a good moment for the K-Pop summer for sure. As far as 2NE1 songs go, this may actually be the best single by them since IATB, depending on how one feels about “I Love You” (I like it, but it was kind of underwhelming). Sometimes, fan bases can’t take “Yes” for an answer.

  4. Fleur De Seoul · · Reply

    D- O- Y- O- U- hate this intro? God yes.

    I know you like this but I can’t stand the cheerleader tie in I really like the chorus and I am a sad panda that it had to start with that.

    I guess I’m on the 2ne1 bus that is just gonna wait til the next release.

    1. I can’t hate CL spelling out words with all that ‘tude. It’s pure 2NE1 crack to me. To me, this could have been on their first full length album (awesome) and it wouldn’t have been out of place at all.

  5. This is the 2NE1 I like. They goofed by giving “Falling in Love” and CL’s solo more hype than this. This is so much better. It’s a pretty basic song but it’s catchy.

    And I almost always find fun, low-budget music videos like this more charming than the slick big-budget stuff.

    1. The simplicity is a welcomed sight, considering that 2NE1 is far more likely to swing the other way and go for something over-the-top and all over the place.

  6. Falling in Love was mediocre and a disappointment. Do You Love Me was decent, if only because it was so much better than Falling in Love. In my eyes, they only made a real comeback two days ago with Missing You:

    Tell me what you think of it! I figured it would be right up your alley, since you liked Lonely.

    1. Review coming tonight. Didn’t have time yesterday but I should be able to write one up today.

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