BLACKPINK’s first album exceeds expectations

Photo courtesy of Newsenstar1, Wikipedia

After long anticipation, K-pop girl group BLACKPINK has finally dropped their first full studio album, “The Album.” The group released two singles prior to the albums release: “How You Like That,” June 26, and their collaboration with Selena Gomez, “Ice Cream” on August 28. Based off these two tracks alone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved both- the only thing was that they were two different sounds.

But I will say, I was pleasantly surprised. Originally I was a bit upset that we didn’t have Jennie rapping in either of the two first released tracks, but her raps in the rest of the album, especially in “Crazy Over You," definitely made up for it. And generally, as someone who's been a longtime fan, it’s really nice to see the girls experimenting with new styles and changing up their rhythm.

BLACKPINK songs tend to have their roles in a pretty strict layout: members Lisa and Jennie take care of the rap, while Rosé and Jisoo handle the vocals. The line distribution often favors Lisa and Jennie more, as they typically tend to have two verses each, but in “Pretty Savage,” we have Jisoo rapping for the first time on a track. 

Not only that, but Jisoo finally sings the iconic “BLACKPINK in your area” line featured on most of the group’s title tracks. Though it’s only about a second long, the rest of the members have already done the line in past tracks, so fans have been excitedly waiting for Jisoo to have her moment.

The whole album is definitely a killer soundtrack and has a lot to offer. Each song can be appreciated in its own way, but three songs really stick out on “The Album.”

 

Track 05: “Lovesick Girls”

The main title track of the album, “Lovesick Girls” is one of my favorites. A big concern many fans expressed before the release was that seven out of the eight album’s tracks had YG Entertainment producer TEDDY involved. TEDDY’s style is very specific and many fans feel it has restricted the group from experimenting with different styles of music. However, I think “Lovesick Girls” exceeded these expectations. The girls took a step back from the EDM-heavy sound, like that of the album’s first released track, “How You Like That,” and chose a more 2010 style pop song. The song has the same energy as “Sober” by K-pop boy group BIGBANG, if it was remixed by American pop sensation P!NK. The best way I can describe it is that it’s the perfect song to play on a road trip with your friends, windows down and the volume all the way up. It is upbeat, despite the theme behind the lyrics. “Lovesick Girls” is like if “As If It’s Your Last,” their title track from 2017, fell for the love interest, but it turned out to be a very toxic relationship, and though they’re still healing and more mature now, they’re still hoping deep down for real love to come their way. 

 

Track 03: “Pretty Savage”

Personally I didn’t know what to expect upon hearing the title for this track, because I feel like the word savage in itself has become more used as a joke than the meaning it actually holds, but after hearing the song, I’ll make an exception. “Pretty Savage” definitely stays true to BLACKPINK’s heavy EDM style, which, again, some fans may not like, but I think it suits them really well and that they completely embodied this track. I also love this track because of  Jisoo’s verse after the first chorus. Her voice is normally used for vocals only, but hearing her in a more relaxed, almost rap-styled verse in her lower register is really refreshing, and she sounds amazing. 

 

Track 07: “Love To Hate Me”

I think “Love To Hate Me” is my favorite track off the album. BLACKPINK has become such a big, household name in the US, and naturally with that fame, there is an influx of hate comments towards their title. Not only is the xenophobia inevitable when the girls break records previously held by big US pop names, oftentimes people just like to jump on the bandwagon of hating the group just for being popular- as happens with any other famous figure. “Love To Hate Me” is a laidback response to that, almost looking down and laughing at the people that went out of their way to speak poorly on their name. Not only is the message a power move, but members Rosé and Jennie both have a high note before the pre-chorus that is a great surprise. Not only does it sound amazing, it adds their personal flare to what might have otherwise been another typical diss track styled song.

 

Overall, though it may have taken what feels like forever for the release of “The Album,” it was worth the wait. BLACKPINK has, yet again, delivered and exceeded my expectations.

5/5 stars

 

gpanispa@ramapo.edu