Song Review: CL – Spicy

CL - SpicyRather than a series of comebacks, CL’s solo career has felt like a constant re-debut, trying to get things off the ground after too many unfortunate setbacks. It’s hard to believe her first solo release dropped more than eight years ago. Since then, we’ve seen the disbandment of 2NE1 and an ill-fated attempt to break the US music market. For someone as talented as CL, her work has rarely lived up to that promise.

Sadly, Spicy is another underwhelming attempt to convince listeners of CL’s supremacy. She pulls off these “I’m so bad, I’m the best” hype tracks well, but it’s a message we’ve heard so many times. “Spicy” is an overused adjective to convey this sentiment, and pulls the track dangerously close to parody. This isn’t helped by a ridiculous introduction, where a weird CGI statue plays the role of curious tourist with a voice that sounds like Christopher Walken. (Yes, that’s a sentence I typed as part of a K-pop music review. I can’t believe it, either.)

I appreciate the tension in Spicy’s instrumental. The beat is ultra-repetitive, but feels in constant ascension – like a klaxon alarm threatening nuclear meltdown. This adds needed grit to the song, which is otherwise too silly for its own good. Presumably, the Korean wordplay is better than the English lyrics (of which there are many). At one point, it’s as if CL is simply reading from the menu of a Korean restaurant. Coupled with a barely-there hook, this doesn’t inspire confidence in her musical direction. It’s too bad, because she really is one of K-pop’s best. But, it’s been a long time since she found material that matched her appeal.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25


24 thoughts on “Song Review: CL – Spicy

  1. I am glad that you broke it down to particulars for why this doesn’t work. All I had, even with an extra few hours to try to craft something better, was something along the lines of “we waited so long for this?”.

    I kept trying to figure out what the creepy statue was supposed to be, but having had enough art classes to know better than to make that attempt, I did it anyway. Its like John Malkovich playing a bald Caesar on the Brandenburg gate and raising a laurel aloft.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. CLLLLL what are you doing???

    First of all, I am going to have honest to god nightmares about the weird statue asking for sauce.

    Second of all, she is SO MUCH better than this song. Tbh, I haven’t fallen in love with any of her recent solo releases but this is the first one I have actively disliked. CL is one of my all-time favorite performers in K-pop and her charisma is literally the only reason I didn’t stop the video halfway through. I’m glad she has the freedom now to put out the kind of music that she wants, I’m just afraid most of it isn’t really going to be for me.


  3. 2NE1 is still in my top 5 groups and sadly, all their solo releases are very disappointing. As time goes back , I feel like the 2NE1 I loved was YG and Teddy’s product and touch. None of their solo releases are my cup of tea and it just doesn’t showcase their charisma. I know Teddy is frowned upon as a producer these days but I still think he would produce a better song for each of the 2NE1 members( MTBD , you and I ). CL is trying so hard to live up to the image that YG created for her that in this gen of kpop , she looks a bit ridiculous by repeating things like she is the baddest , flyest etc. It’s heartbreaking cause Cl is super talented and I still think she has the best stage presence in kpop.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. ugh, CL’s solo career has been so, so frustrating to watch unfold. 2NE1 is one of the groups that got me into k-pop all the way back in 2011, and a decent bit of their appeal to me was her charisma. she was so badass and confident and i admired the hell out of it! and material like this completely squanders all of that! just because she has that bad-bitch charisma going for her doesn’t mean you have to lean aaallllll the way into the “i’m more badass than anyone else” every single time while offering up no other ideas and frankly, at this point, no real evidence that that’s the case anymore


  5. Obviously none of you are true CL fans. You may be 2ne1 fans but not CL fans as a solo artist. Or else you would of understood CL’s vision when it comes to her solo releases have been showing and expressing more ‘art’ and her tributes to specific ‘fashion styles or fashion related pieces in fashion collections and museum works. She’s been using these concepts since she’s been a solo artist. Using museums and lighting techniques or her clothing to symbolize or represent parts of her culture or traditions. You have to remember all of the 2ne1 members are doing this on their own or not under a good label. And many have been traumatized and hurt due to their experience of what happened since they disbanded. So for a People’s article to be half assed written… Sorry I can’t agree y’all don’t even have the full story


    • You shouldn’t need an entire history of an artist or what they are trying to convey to like a song or not. If the audience by and large can’t tell what you are doing, it generally means you are failing to get your message or influences across at all. It’s actually a common problem for authors. When writing, since they know their own story and characters, they often think things should be obvious to readers when they just absolutely aren’t due to their own knowledge and closeness to the material. This is why editing and alpha and beta reading is so important. Music can be pretty similar in that regard. You might have a great vision for your own sound or concepts, but there is no shame in needing some additional help to ensure that the audience understands it as well. CL has the talent, vision, and ambition to be extremely successful on both a commercial and artistic level, but I do think she struggles a bit in engaging an audience that doesn’t know her vision, history, and current circumstances. There is nothing wrong with making music that explicitly for fans, but in this case, it’s pretty obvious that this song wasn’t intended to be something that was only for GZBs but more mainstream instead.


  6. i feel like this is an objective opinion. I was surprised by this comeback from CL. I havent liked her other songs (Hwa, lifted, etc) until this one. The art, the hilarity of the guy asking for sauce, the vibe. This is what CL is about. What else do you want to ask of her? All the new artists have had influenced by CL. Her video, music and art choices are unique. She’s definitely worked hard and instead of supporting her, idk what you want her to do more with this kind of review.


    • I think you mean subjective (“objective opinion” is an oxymoron). And if you do, you’re right! All my writing is opinion, and it sounds like we disagree this time. I’m glad you enjoy the song!


    • Ok, isn’t my fav either. She has way better songs in her catalogue (but honestly she has worse. It’s right in the middle for me), and the intro is cringy as hell, but how can someone miss that it’s John Malkovich? 😬


    • My phone is randomly (multiple times too…) replying to random comments with the same comment for some reason so this wasn’t directed to you, sorry if you got notified 😩


  7. This was definitely NOT the song I wanted to hear from her. For someone who actually sings quite well and has a unique vocal tone, she relies far too much on rapping, and while she has always been great at hyping up a crowd in a live performance, it just doesn’t translate over well into things like this hot mess of a song. You aren’t alone in the parody feeling either. I was legitimately uncertain if the lyrics were meant to be serious or poking fun at K-Pop culture.


  8. This article and the comment sections reveals why she performs they way she performs. All youre doing is handing her ammunition to make hits. I don’t know what the parody description is nor do I understand it but the only parody here is this article. Probably a disgruntled fan who tries to hard too hard to sound credible. Klaxon alarm?


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