Review: CL – “Hello Bitches” Does A Fantastic Job Highlighting Its Star

cl hello bitches

This one is a bit late but I would be remiss if I didn’t cover CL’s recent “Hello Bitches” video, a rote but effective display of everything that CL has to offer as a performer.

“Hello Bitches” succeeds by understanding not only what CL is great at conveying as an artist but also by understanding her limitations. The 2NE1 frontwoman is a better-than-average K-Pop rapper but she’s not the type to blow anyone away with her flow either. She is more than capable of carrying a song with her outsized charisma but she may have limited range in terms of what concepts fit her. Compared to some of her previous work outside of 2NE1 (like the hollow-sounding “Dr. Pepper” and the oddly reserved “The Baddest Female“), “Hello Bitches” seems to have a better grasp of how to handle its star. The beat is aggressive, loud and almost gleefully rude with horns that consistently pack a wonderful wallop. Sampled shouts help give “Hello Bitches” a menace that complements CL’s sneer in a way that makes her delivery seem much grander (and better) than it has in some of her other recent (and more sparsely produced) efforts. The deliberate bass and horns also allow CL to stick to an almost conversational pace of rap-singing while not losing any energy thanks to the nearly claustrophobic (in a good way!) aural banging that surrounds her. One could argue that this is pretty much as close to playing it safe as one could get with the self-described Baddest Female, and they wouldn’t be wrong, but “Hello Bitches” shows that CL can sling heat when the conditions are right.

The video is also a triumph. After a T-Swiftian “Bad Blood” opener that doesn’t pay off in the least, “Hello Bitches” settles into an exhilarating dance-in-a-box routine that never feels static or uninteresting thanks to some masterful direction and CL’s commitment to her punk-rock-posse act. The camera pans help keep each shot clear and what little shakey-cam that is used actually helps sell each transition as the camera doesn’t “cut” so much as it slides violently from scene to scene. Special effects are used sparingly but the glitzy fluorescent glamour undeniably helps emphasize the video’s star.

The choreography is as raucous and fierce as the beat and, best of all, it gives CL the opportunity to chew scenery like she’s auditioning for the role of comic book villain. Unsurprisingly, she is devastatingly good at that. “Slay” may be a term that is thrown around with reckless abandon when discussing pop music stars but make no mistake, it’s a fitting descriptor here.

It feels a little odd calling “Hello Bitches” a conservative video given its hard-hitting beat and CL’s persona but the video doesn’t ask CL to do much outside of her comfort zone.  However, given material that seems tailor-made for her, CL does one hell of a job executing “Hello Bitches” to its fullest potential. Time will tell if CL “catches on” with a wider (western) audience but “Hello Bitches” is a persuasive argument that she absolutely could.

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2 comments

  1. I suppose a CL trap song was the realistic progression after all the stuff with diplo.

  2. Actually she says “fuck” on the second GIF scene…

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