The release of BLACKPINK’s The Album was on the same day that my OneOdio DJ headphones arrived. I had to test the headphone, and I told myself it would be good if I listened to BP’s The Album after stumbling upon its ads after every 3-5 tweets.
To be honest, I have not been a fan of BLACKPINK’s music, except for Jennie’s Solo. So generally, this is the first time I’m fervently listening to their music. I once regarded BLACKPINK’s music as dry, PR-driven, and almost mechanical, but should that be just because I’m no longer a part of the generation that BLACKPINK targets?
My nieces have always indulged in BLACKPINK’s music. One of them is 24, a crossover between being a Millennial and Baby Z (Generation Z). She told me that she likes 2ne1 and BP because their songs are unique and not the typical bubblegum pop she’s used to hearing. Her reasons are valid, but I still can’t figure out how music like that gets to them, so before publishing my initial written review, I had to listen to the album for almost a month. I did, and it made me like more than half of the songs in it.
I’m going to review The Album track by track.
How you like that, the first single off the album is depleted, as compared to their other songs. I’ve read bad reviews of the songs, and they’re not wrong. This song was almost half-baked, maybe except for the part towards the end where they incorporated faster beats, which makes you dance. Nevertheless, whatever its faults are, the song became my last song syndrome track for a day.
Ice Cream is bubbly, funky, and quirky. It reminds me more of Red Velvet, my most favorite K-Pop girl group, based on its bubblegum beats and cute music video. Ice Cream’s elements somehow remind me of my 90s childhood or 2000s teenhood, so it’s a thumbs up for me–not to mention Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez penning the song.
Pretty Savage is one of the tracks that are eccentrically BLACKPINK. That is what I call dry and mechanical, and that’s what I’ve always thought BLACKPINK’s music was, except for the totality of this album, so let’s move on.
Bet you wanna is something that I would love as a kid. It’s melody-driven in every single note. The melody works with every BP member’s vocals, with only Cardi B taking up the rap tasks. Their collab with Cardi B added to the soulful side of the album, which I appreciate.
Lovesick Girls is a favorite because while I don’t necessarily adhere to EDM tunes, this song, composed by David Guetta, is on point, at least in my type of sound. Hearing this in the airwaves made me identify that BLACKPINK has its own musical identity, separate from 2NE1. Instead of remembering Park Bom with every guitar strum chord, I know that it’s BP’s Rose’s style, and in this track, incorporates with Jisoo’s unique nasality.
Crazy over you attempts to hold back from becoming another How you like that by putting other extra elements in the music. But it somehow just reminds us of the same thing. Maybe it works. That’s why their producers do it over again–an extension to How you like that
Love to Hate Me is the same old BLACKPINK, with a contemporary mix. Surprisingly, it’s one of my fave tracks in the album–it’s danceable and melodic (like some urban tracks in the early 2000s)–the elements I look for in a pop song.
You Never Know is their only Korean pop song, to be honest. All the other tracks, while being in the Korean language, are very Western. Hence, this track is like a breath of fresh air to me. Plus, it’s the only track where I heard Jennie, as the typical Korean pop highlights her voice.
On BLACKPINK Members
Almost every song in the album highlights Rosé’s tremendous musical talent. If some kid has a singing endeavor, they would definitely look up on Rosé, especially in this album, ‘coz almost all of the best parts of the songs were assigned to her. That makes Rosé my bias in terms of musicality and style.
There’s also a significant improvement for Jisoo and Lisa. While I’m not a huge fan of Jisoo, I love her vocals because it gives a surprise element in every song. You always know that it’s Jisoo every time. Lisa has also improved her rapping. This album shows that she is easily becoming a rap goddess on her own, like my all-time favorite, Lisa Left Eye Lopes of the 1990s-2000s.
If I didn’t listen to this album for more than three weeks, I would say that the other members have easily outpowered Jennie’s vocals. Sometimes, I confused Rosés with hers. Sad to say, her vocals didn’t stand out in this album, at least from what I’ve noticed.
While I would still agree if someone says BLACKPINK is an extension to 2ne1, the girls have created their own persona. They have also taken advantage of the new technology we have today, years after 2NE1. And that, yes, 2ne1 was just way ahead of their time. Nevertheless, the newly added elements like the whistles and such add to theirs.
On Teddy Park, the producer
While many artists have worked on the album (Ryan Tedder, Bekuh Boom, Cardi B, to name a few), Teddy continues to be the principal producer and arranger of the album. Thus, he gets to dictate the album’s whole sound and embeds it to what BLACKPINK’s music is meant.
What has Teddy created is certainly a disruption. He and other UG producers are indeed game-changers. This part proliferates my niece’s bias for YG artists. However, my opinion and feelings remain that Teddy’s music doesn’t give my brain a particular “chill” or “orgasm.” I’m not even sure if, as a kid, if I would ask my parents to buy this album for me. I would say that it would be one of the albums that I would love because of Marketing–of control, of how a particular entity has decided that I should like a specific song or record, and perhaps the moments of remembering myself enjoying BLACKPINK and 2ne1’s because of peer pressure, and that’s far from my deeper psyche.
I won’t ever be a legitimate fan of BLACKPINK, or even 2ne1, and Teddy, for that matter.
Overall Verdict: ⭐⭐⭐ 3 out of 5 Stars
BLACKPINK’s The Album forced my brain to embrace contemporary pop music further. I liked the album way beyond its bubblegum offers, Ice Cream, and Bet You Wanna, the Korean pop-centered You Never Know, and 2000s urban-influenced Love to Hate Me that keep close to my nostalgic-induced brain, and accommodated EDM and contemporary track like Lovesick Girls.
While a Star-Rating system is terrible for reviewing an album, BLACKPINK’s The Album was something that I could easily measure, based on its tracks. At first, I wouldn’t say I liked it in totality, but after listening to it for at least three weeks through state-of-the-art headphones and speakers, I learned to go with its flow and eventually like five of its tracks. Even if I don’t disregard the other three tracks, this album makes an overall fusion of K-Pop, EDM, Hip-hop, and even rock, making it a record to behold.
I caught myself dancing while listening to each of their tracks like I was in grade school. Now I understand why my 10-year-old goddaughter truly devoured them.