Track: Goodbye | Artist: 2NE1 | Album: Goodbye (single)

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Welcome to Goodbye Songs Week, where we go through some of the most heart-rending and saddening goodbye songs from K-Pop groups whose numbers came up before their time.

When Goodbye released in 2017—a full three years after 2NE1's last album release, Crush—fans already knew what was a long time coming: 2NE1 was over.

For three years, Blackjacks (the name of the 2NE1 fandom) had known that the amount of time they had with YG Entertainment’s original girl group was lessening by the day. This gut feeling intensified when the company announced the formation of Blackpink in 2016, which was widely understood to be basically a visually upgraded version of 2NE1; its members had long spoken up about how the company’s CEO at the time, Yang Hyun Suk, had repeatedly commented on the members’ looks (or lack thereof).

2NE1 was something unique in the K-Pop industry, both at the time of their debut in 2009 and when they officially disbanded in 2017. They were a girl group that would often overturn all of the typical K-Pop girl group tropes: no sailor uniforms, or cutesy aegyo, or fan service. Manufactured or not, they gave off the vibe that 2NE1 did what 2NE1 wanted to do—and in creating that kind of image, injected early 2010s K-Pop with a sense of anxious wonder every time they decided to release another EP or album. It’s something that today’s Korean pop music landscape sorely lacks.