Please don’t confuse the lack of 2NE1 on this column as possible evidence of my apathy toward this group. Just the opposite: I’ve been struggling to pick the one song I’d have to choose from their incredible, varied discography. But I think I’ve got it.
I Don’t Care is one of 2NE1's earlier releases, but I still count it as one of their best. It’s a good segue from their electro-pop debut with FIRE to their later, more melancholy tracks like Lonely, Come Back Home and I Love You. (All of the songs I just mentioned are some of the best that K-Pop has ever produced.)
It’s a testament to the strength of 2NE1's music that I struggled to winnow down their singles to the five mentioned in this column so far. I could go on: Hate You and its gorgeous, anime-inspired music video, Clap Your Hands and its entrancing chorus, I Don’t Care’s beautiful reggae version, and who could forget their emotional Goodbye?
In just five years (I count their true disbandment in 2014, not 2o16), 2NE1 managed to produce more great music than most other idol groups do, given far more time. Their agency’s clumsy handling of their latter-year troubles and eventual breakup is why I haven’t been to warm up to their successors, Blackpink, as much as I should — but don’t worry, they’ll be featured soon.