BLACKPINK’s The Album brings in diverse styles, addicting beats, but also new controversies
November 1, 2020
Number two on the Billboard charts, Blackpink—a South Korean female music group—has taken everyone by the storm with their new and full album dubbed The Album. Packed with eight thrilling and adrenaline filled songs, this four member group has finally released one of their most anticipated comebacks.
The album opens up with “How You Like That.” Overall, I found it to be an upbeat and exciting song, and you’ve most likely heard their chorus playing in the background of various TikToks and Reels. Despite its popularity, the beat becomes a little repetitive—and dare I say boring—after listening to it on repeat, and I would say it’s one of the weaker songs in comparison to the rest of the album.
Another popular hit, “Ice Cream,” was a collaboration between Selena Gomez. Along with its catchy beat and appealing chorus, this piece definitely fit the bar for many fans abroad. “Ice Cream” is definitely more ‘American’ especially with all the English lyrics and was catered to fit a firm ‘pop’ and ‘pink’ vibe. This is not surprising within the Korean music industry, however, which is notoriously known for mixing various genres.
“Bet You Wanna” was another collaboration with the American artist: Cardi B. Blackpink manages to create a harmonic balance of both styles—keeping it classy, clean and flirtatious, contrary to Cardi B’s typical style. As good as it was, “Bet You Wanna” was one of my least favorite out of the eight. Blackpink’s traditional style was muddled under the American undertones of the collaboration, and the integration of Cardi B’s parts and Blackpink’s could have been better in terms of consistency. However, with its catchy chorus and Cardi B’s feature, I could definitely see this being a top favorite for many.
“Crazy Over You” also clashed with my tastes. The weird beat and music style contrasted dramatically. The banjo, flute or pipe, and squeaking noises were an unappealing introduction to the song, with a fairly resemblant chorus to that of “How You Like That” which didn’t add much to the piece. Opinions aside, the lyrics fit the title quite nicely, almost serving as an internal banter about love and their companion, as well as this ‘tug-of-war’ of emotions. It also plays nicely with Blackpink’s traditional hardcore image they exhibited in previous mini albums, tying the theme up nicely.
Speaking of themes, “Love To Hate Me” fits the bill, ranking up the empowerment enclosed within this song. Going beyond a simple heartbreak, this song could equally be directed towards haters, with the lines, “You ain’t worth my love / if you only love to hate me,” and “I’ma let you fade into the background / Baby all my shows are gettin’ too loud;” this again emphasizes empowerment, not just in females, but to those experiencing hate as well.
“Pretty Savage” also stood out from the rest, perfectly encapsulating Blackpink’s powerful and outspoken image and directly emphasizing women empowerment. It was exciting to see this group expand their musical styles and I think this piece was an excellent choice to experiment with. Each member was also given an explosive rap, which only added to its powerful ambiance. The intro, outro and techno beat were the finite touches to this piece, although I found the singing parts a little misplaced within the theme they were going for.
“You Never Know” is much slower and deeper compared to its counterparts, but it still shines nonetheless. Leaning more towards a ballad, it has touching lyrics and smoother arches in the chorus. This was one of my top favorites, and it was interesting to see Blackpink sway from its tough and fierce image and experiment with a gentler theme.
Overall, Blackpink served their fans, the Blinks, well with this comeback, bringing in eight rich tracks with diverse music styles.
Although it came with its fair share of success, there have been multiple controversies surrounding two of their top songs: “Lovesick Girls” and “How You Like That” that are equally important to consider. Blackpink and their record label YG have notoriously built up backlash for multiple music videos in the past, and disappointingly, have faced criticism again in their recent productions.
“How You Like That” was previously edited to cut out a scene with a background prop, which closely resembled the statue of Ganesha, a Hindu god. Fans were furious to see a religious piece propped on the floor, putting YG under fire for disrespecting their culture and religion. Instead of issuing an apology, however, they quietly edited it out of the video. Likewise, some similar points of concerns were raised in Lisa’s rap during their “Ice Cream” piece, pointing out the mention of Moses, another religious figure.
Korean fans slammed the artists in “Lovesick Girls,” hitting Jennie hard with her nurse outfit in the music video. The Korean health union lashed out at YG, claiming her outfit was sexualizing nurses, which not only objectified them, but also belittled their efforts in such a crucial period for medical workers combatting COVID-19. International fans seem to widely disagree, with some claiming oversensitivity and Korea’s conservative culture as the problem, and demanding that Jennie receives protection. Issuing an apology this time, YG has also edited this scene out.
Blackpink is nonetheless, a revolutionary female group, with similar standings as the renowned boy group, BTS. They’ve brought in a fierce and powerful female image, debunking many stereotypes and boundaries many girl groups are faced with. The Album brings in a nice mixture of all these things, and Blinks are confident their girls will bring even more in the future.