UPDATE (2/27): Wow. With more than four million votes casted, BOTH groups truly felt the love from international fans here. At Fuse HQ,we're jamming to both releases and decided to write down the reasons we love them. Don't miss:
Remember in 2007 when Kanye West and 50 Cent—the two biggest rappers at that time—both announced albums dropping on the same date? While fans and the media declared a hip hop chart battle, 50 upped the stakes and fueled the flame tenfold by vowing to quit music if 'Ye outsold him on the charts.
While no one's retirement is on the line, there's a new ultra-competitive, super-exciting chart battle coming soon, but this time the battleground is the K-pop scene, and the showdown is between two of the biggest girl groups: Girls' Generation and 2NE1. Both have huge international fan bases and both have made waves on the charts in their native South Korea as well as in America. While the acts have shifted their comeback dates around a few times—possibly to avoid direct competition, possibly not—it now seems that they will inevitably go head-to-head with new releases coming within days of each other.
Get all the details about each release and vote for who you're most excited for in our poll at the bottom.
On February 10, Girls' Generation announced their return to the K-pop scene via a 40-second teaser video for new single "Mr.Mr." (below). The clip showed the nine members in a chilling, pink hospital and featured a crunchy, electro-pop beat. The video announced "Mr.Mr." dropping in full on the 19th with a new album coming the 24th.
But days after the clip surfaced, an announcement came that the release would be postponed. According to reports, footage from the video had been corrupted in the editing process. No new release dates were announced.
Yet early this morning, the album appeared briefly on iTunes, only to be quickly removed. A screenshot snapped before the album disappeared shows Mr.Mr. as a six-track EP. And the iTunes glitch makes it seem that the release is likely imminent.
Further details are scarce about the EP, but we know American producers the Underdogs (who have worked with Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Chris Brown) produced the title track. The hitmakers talked to Billboard, saying, "['Mr.Mr.'] is a pop song with some urban influences. I think the rhythmic element is very important. So, we wanted to give them a strong pop record that people can really grab onto, but has that urban undertone so they can do the videos—with the crazy video treatments they do—and the choreography." In other words, expect a banging video.
Girls' Generation boast impressive chart stats stateside. The girl group set the record for the highest-charting K-pop album on the Billboard 200 when their Twinkle EP hit No. 126. And having won the inaugural Video of the Year honor at the YouTube Music Awards, the group has created high expectations for the visual they'll bring next.
Meanwhile, fierce foursome 2NE1 will return with their new album Crush on February 26. Since their debut in 2009, the girl group has only dropped one full-length album. They told Fuse News that they "focus on each and every song," opting to promote EPs and digital singles like they are full-lengths. But on February 13, 2NE1's record label YG Entertainment made the announcement that the group would return with the 10-track album Crush.
After dropping four separate singles since summer 2012, Crush would be 10 entirely new tracks lead by two singles "Come Back Home" and "Gotta Be You." The former is described as a mix of R&B, reggae and hip-hop while the latter is an up-tempo track.
Fans of 2NE1's music videos will be extra delighted since the "Come Back Home" video boasts "the largest budget for the group" ever. Based on the girls' past videos—have you seen the all-gold set on "Falling in Love"?!?—we're expecting this to be huge.
While Crush was originally set for February 24—the same day as the Mr.Mr. release—the date was pushed back to the 26th, which the label calls "a more special day." That's because it's the birthday of group leader CL, who wrote and produced on three of the album tracks. "Come Back Home" will drop on February 28.
While 2NE1 hasn't hit the Billboard 200 yet, the group has sent videos to Billboard's YouTube chart, which tracks the most-watched videos in America. Now that Billboard counts YouTube streams when factoring the Hot 100, and with 2NE1's U.S. interest likely higher than ever after an arena tour and an appearance on The Bachelor, it's clear the girls could make a dent on the charts.
So, now it's time to vote: Which K-pop girl group release are you most excited for? While fans support the girls on iTunes and watch (and rewatch and re-rewatch) their YouTube videos, we wish them both nothing but good luck!
FROM FUSE (2/27): Wow. With more than four million votes casted, BOTH groups truly felt the love from international fans here. We are jamming to both releases at Fuse HQ and decided to write down the reasons we love them. Don't miss: