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BLACKPINK’s ‘The Album’ Falls Flat

Dec 01, 2020
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BLACKPINK has left YG’s “dungeon” after releasing their latest album called The Album on October 2nd. With a total of eight songs on the album, BLACKPINK fans, or Blinks, have long-awaited an album since the last album was released back in 2018. Many Blinks saying that the group rarely puts out music, with only one comeback every year or so. Many fans have claimed only “13 original songs” have been released but with their latest album, they have released a total of 21 songs this year. Due to the constant outcry from fans for more songs and content, BLACKPINK answers those questions in their latest documentary with Teddy Parker, BLACKPINK’s producer, claiming “[they are] very particular with what [they] put out” for the group. With that being said, let’s take a look into how well the songs fare on this album.

The first song on the album is How You Like That, which was their comeback song in June.  The members revealed in an interview for Time that, “this song contains the message that even in the darkest times, [they] should persevere and fight through.” I will say that the vocals are strong and the members bring a powerful presence into the song. However, when I first listened to it, I was thrown off at how musically repetitive it feels and I believe that the members have outgrown this formulaic style. At the end of the day, I was not necessarily impressed by the single and wanted stronger lyrics to accompany it with a deeper meaning. Yet, what stands out about this song is the dance break seen towards the end with all the members showcasing their dance skills.

The following song was Ice Cream, which was BLACKPINK’s first all-English song featuring a collaboration with Selena Gomez that premiered in late August. This song is surprisingly catchy with a cheerful beat and a sweet-summer tune. The music video has the most consistent aesthetic out of all their music videos as they stuck with a pastel concept. Yet, the lyrics were disappointing in my opinion as its child-like ice cream theme is matched with sensual undertones that lead to extremely weird or random lyrics that are not cohesive.

Next on the album is “Pretty Savage”, which is personally my favorite song on the album. This is their song to the “haters” which I feel like every K-Pop group has in their album at some point. Nonetheless, this song feels all hyped up and in the best possible way. The intro of the song is intriguing with the piano playing and followed by the members’ vocals. Then, Jennie growls and transitions to the main beat of the song which captures my attention with the contrast in sound. The members own the electronic beat through the choreography. Also, the cursing here is actually useful to the meaning and is not just added for no reason. They add in the cursing to show what demeaning words they have been called online and then using it against them to admit they cannot be handled. Also, certain fans disliked the choreography for this song, but I think it was very fun and matches the theme perfectly, especially with Jisoo pretending to play the piano in the beginning. 

“Bet You Wanna” was another song that had a collaboration with a Western artist and this time the group worked with Cardi B. This song is upbeat and fun, compared to the previous track. It is a pop song with Cardi B’s rap complementing it. It is one of those songs that’s meant to be sung out loud or to jam in the car. I initially felt hesitant to hear the song but I will admit it is definitely a strong listen, however, I would not recommend this song if you do not like typical pop songs.

Their title track for this album is “Lovesick Girls” and anyone can tell why. The typical BLACKPINK song was not cutting it anymore and only served for comeback purposes. I say this because the song is not like their other songs with the repetitive musical formula. The song has strong lyrics with a decent sound. I will say the sound seems like something you would hear back in 2013 but the lyrics are unique to them and that is what stands out the most within this song. It is about being lovesick and the point of finding love from the perspectives of the members. The strongest lyric being “didn’t want to be a princess, I’m priceless”. Jennie wrote her own rap lines in the song and she is often seen as “YG’s princess” but with this line, she shows that she does not define herself like that and shows her hard work got her to where she is. On top of that, the music video was eye-catching and glorious. 

Next on the album is “Crazy Over You”. Its intro has an oriental sound that is complemented by hip-hop and pop beats later on. The raps elevate the song and then the sweet and sultry vocals bring it down. The constant up-and-down makes the whole song feel like a roller-coaster. The beginning and the end of the song are what make it interesting but I would say the middle of the song could improve by carrying the oriental beat throughout. Maybe the song could have started with a lower sound and then be elevated by the oriental sound so it gets better as you listen to it.

“Love to Hate Me” has the strongest vocals from all the songs in this album. The sound here almost fades to the background as the voices of the members dominate the song to not just sing the lyrics, but to create an influential sound through their voices. That being said, the sound is not necessarily impressive but rather the domineering voices of BLACKPINK. I would say Lisa’s rap here does feel experimental and sounds different from her usual pop rapping. Overall, this is one of the stronger songs in the album.

Unfortunately, The Album does not end on a strong note. The last song is “You Never Know”. Usually, with softer songs, there is power in their voices and the lyrics within it. However, this song is lackluster and definitely is missing something to make it spark. I will pinpoint that the problems arise with the lyrics. The message is a strong one yet the members were not allowed to write the lyrics in this song about overcoming struggles and not judging a book by its cover. These are problems they have faced yet they were not allowed to write any lyrics or share their perspectives, which leaves us fans upset over the fact that they did not get writing power for this one.

There is always a particular music formula that they use in their songs, specifically in their preleased songs that are meant to hype up the EP or album they will release soon. In this album, I feel like there was an improvement in their music as they experiment with sounds that are not new to the music industry, but rather new to the group. Some of the songs here have amazing power within them, specifically “Pretty Savage” and “Lovesick Girls”, where we get sounds that feel distinct from their previous discography and lyrics that relate to them. However, as previously mentioned, they still have a lot of catching up to do. Their sound is starting to feel unique, and there is a much bigger story in their songs. Hopefully, we can continue to see them evolve through their music. Make sure to check out BLACKPINK’s latest album available on Youtube, Spotify, and Apple Music.

The message did not matter to me but rather it was more of the execution of the message through the lyrics. The most disappointing aspect of the song was Lisa’s rap, which had nonsensical rhymes. It is not a bad song, rather I consider Ice Cream to be the weakest lyrically speaking.

Next on the album is Pretty Savage, which is personally my favorite song on the album. This is their song to the “haters” which I feel like every K-Pop group has in their album at some point. Nonetheless, this song feels all hyped up and in the best possible way. The intro of the song is intriguing with the piano playing and followed by the members’ vocals. Then, Jennie growls and transitions to the main beat of the song which captures my attention with the contrast in sound. The members own the electronic beat through the choreography. Also, the cursing here is actually useful to the meaning and is not just added for no reason. They add in the cursing to show what demeaning words they have been called online and then using it against them to admit they cannot be handled. Also, certain fans disliked the choreography for this song but I think it was very fun and matches the theme perfectly, especially with Jisoo pretending to play the piano in the beginning.

Bet You Wanna was another song that had a collaboration with a Western artist and this time the group worked with Cardi B. This song is upbeat and fun, compared with the previous track. It is a pop song with Cardi B’s rap complementing it. It is one of those songs that are meant to be sung out loud and jam out in the car. I initially felt hesitant to hear the song but I will admit it is definitely a strong listen, however, I would not recommend this song if you do not like typical pop songs.

Their title track for this album is Lovesick Girls and anyone can tell why. The typical BLACKPINK song was not cutting it anymore and only served for comeback purposes. I say this because the song is not like their other songs with the repetitive musical formula. The song has strong lyrics with a decent sound. I will say the sound seems like something you would hear back in 2013 but the lyrics are unique to them and that is what stands out the most within the song. It is about being lovesick and what is the point of finding love with the perspectives of the members. The strongest lyric being “didn’t want to be a princess, I’m priceless.” Jennie wrote her own rap lines in the song and she is often seen as “YG’s princess” but with this line, she shows that she does not define herself like that and shows her hard work got her to where she is. On top of that, the music video was eye-catching and glorious.

Next on the album is Crazy Over You. Its intro has an oriental sound that is complemented by hip-hop and pop beats later on. The raps elevate the song and then the sweet and sultry vocals bring it down. The constant up-and-down makes the whole song feel like a roller-coaster. The beginning and the end of the song are what makes it interesting but I would say the middle of the song could improve by carrying the oriental beat throughout. Maybe the song could have started with a lower sound and then be elevated by the oriental sound so it gets better as you listen to it.

Love to Hate Me has the strongest vocals from all the songs in this album. The sound here almost fades to the background as the voices of the members dominate the song to not just sing the lyrics, but to create an influential sound through their voices. That being said, the sound is not necessarily impressive but rather the domineering voices of BLACKPINK. I would say Lisa’s rap here does feel experimental and sounds different from her usual pop rapping. Overall, this is one of the best songs in the album.

Unfortunately, The Album does not end on a strong note. The last song is You Never Know. Usually, with softer songs, there is power in their voices and the lyrics within it. However, this song is lackluster and definitely is missing something to make it spark. I will pinpoint that the problems arise with the lyrics. The message is a strong one yet the members were not allowed to write the lyrics in this song about overcoming struggles and not judging a book by its cover. These are problems they have faced yet they were not allowed to write any lyrics or share their perspectives, which leaves us fans upset over the fact that they did not get writing power for this one.

There is always a particular music formula that they use in their songs, specifically in their preleased songs that is meant to hype up the EP or album they will release soon. In this album, I feel there was an improvement in their music as they experiment with sounds that are not new to the music industry, but rather new to the group. Some of the songs here have amazing power within them, specifically Pretty Savage and Lovesick Girls, where we get sounds that feel distinct from their previous discography and lyrics that relate to them. However, as previously mentioned, they still have a lot of catching up to do. Their sound is starting to feel unique and there is a much bigger story in their songs and hopefully, we can continue to see them evolve through their music. Make sure to check out BLACKPINK’s latest album available on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.

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