It’s the last the song out of the 2nd mini album to be released and as they say, “Save the best for the last!”
True to that saying, I think Ugly is the best song in the album and it definitely deserves to be the title song. I’m glad my wish from my previous review came true. For that, you have again my respect, YG. Ugly has everything: the clean production of Don’t Cry, the emotion of Lonely, the energy of I am the Best, and the subtlety of Hate You. What more could I ask for? The musical style employed in the song is a first from 2NE1 and it’s again very refreshing. I want to hear more rock-inspired songs from them the girls and I can see them doing this for a long time. YG is definitely gaining reign in producing songs of such style (Ugly, and Big bang’s Love Song).
At first, I thought the song was a ballad but the introduction of the drum beats and snares changed all that. The song is arranged interestingly in a way that the peak has been focused solely in the chorus. It works well for the song and most importantly to the message the song is conveying. It’s worthy to note how the vibe of the song is very the different from the atmosphere of the lyrics. At first look, the lyrics are very negative and a listener might think the singer is wallowing in self pity. Interestingly, the singer does not redeem herself in anyway effectively sealing the message of being comfortable of one’s true skin.
Vocal wise, the girls have delivered excellently, as always. I might be eating my own words but this time, I think CL’s voice has been used excellently. Minzy, Bom and Dara sang the mellow parts while CL sang the upbeat chorus. Minzy and Bom provides richness to the verses, Dara provides vulnerability and softness, while CL boots the confidence needed to negate the overall connotation of being ugly. This is one of the rare times that Dara’s voice has been used effectively. Ugly showed how far she has improved. Minzy impressed me again the most. I love Bom’s voice but Minzy is slowly growing on me. In two to three years, I think she will be the most versatile and powerful performer among the four members.
The MV did not also disappoint. Story wise, some YG MVs are disappointments but there’s always one aspect that you can’t question… quality. I love the styling (sans Dara’s) and the confidence of the girls in the MV. One phrase to summarize it all: ugly is the new beautiful.
Overall, I’m giving it a 5/5. Yes, that’s how much I loved it. Ugly is a testament to 2NE1’s ability handle different genres so I hope YG will not stop at experimenting what the girls can do. At the end of day, 2NE1 will always be viewed as hip hop and RNB group but it doesn’t hurt to stray from that path once in a while especially when the straying pays off. Sometimes, it’s the straying that brings improvement and self-discovery.
As for the entire mini-album, I’d give it a 3.8/5. It still did not top the awesomeness of the 1st mini album. Nonetheless, I still love it because it spurred two of 2NE1’s best works to date in the form of Lonely and Ugly.