House of the Dragonfly
2NE1, “Come Back Home”
I imagine there will be numerous reviews of both this song and of 2NE1’s new album Crush, and my insignificant words will be lost in the rush. But I’d like to give my two cents anyway.
First, I do think “Come Back Home” is my favorite track on the new album (although maybe it’s “살아 봤으면 해 (If I Were You),” or even CL’s solo, “멘붕 (MTBD)”). The official audio on the album is actually a little different than the mv. For the album, there is the pop version and a separate acoustic version, but the mv melds these two together by stitching in CL’s rap solo from the acoustic version in between the first chorus and second verse of the pop version. I honestly wish the mv version was the official version, because I actually was not a huge fan of the acoustic version except CL’s solo. Given my typical preference for acoustic music, this seems to fly in the face of all logic. BUT. Some songs were simply structured to suit a different style, and I think “Come Back Home” is one of these songs. It was meant to be a pop song, with all the synthetics and bigger changes in dynamics and vocals that the original song has (I wasn’t a huge fan of the post-chorus bridge because of its dissonance from the rest of the song, but more on that later). From the opening melody, “Come Back Home” pulls the listener in through an energy that is better conveyed through a standard pop song.
When I first listened to “Come Back Home,” I thought that the one disappointing aspect was how it seemed to continue 2NE1’s path into stereotypical love songs. I think I have mentioned before that, due to the fact that 2NE1’s canon includes a variety of topics, I am much more willing to forgive them for love songs than I am, say, Girls’ Generation, whose every single revolves around boys. But “Come Back Home” seemed to fall quite squarely along the same lines as “Falling in Love” and “I Love You” and “Do You Love Me.” (Wow, could the theme be more obvious?!)
(I have a very long caveat: the one saving grace of “Come Back Home” may be the line, “Now you gotta do what you gotta do.” It is not clear who the subject of this line is, whether the “you” is self-referential or refers to the departing man. If it means “you” as in the girl, it indicates the girl should do what she has to in order to hold onto her man. BUT if it is referring to the man, it implies that he should do as he sees fit, despite how the girl sees. This latter interpretation would be pretty unusual for kpop, a reminder to the girl that there are two parties to every relationship, and that what one person wants may not be the best for the other. I would love to take this latter view, but unfortunately I do think the first interpretation is correct.)
BUT. This was my thinking before the mv was released. And, after having watched the mv, I wonder what on earth was going through everybody’s heads in YG, because there is no way the album should have been released before the mv. The mv adds so much depth, so much meaning! The mv shows us “Come Back Home” is not just a love song, but a protest against our increasing connection to digital “reality.” Just like 2NE1 destroyed society’s expectations of physical beauty in “Ugly,” they bring us home by destroying false reality in “Come Back Home.”
Moreover, the mv helps tie in the strange-sounding bridge to the rest of the song. That section marks the transition between reality and digital reality in the mv, but also fits in due to the very nature of the video. Because “Come Back Home” isn’t a simple song of longing, it’s about the future and our integration into technology, so a highly synthesized sound is absolutely relevant.
Conclusion: YG, stop messing with your release dates because a person’s interpretation and appreciation of a song can be completely altered by the order in which you release things!