It is time to start dropping the "K" in Pop when referencing BLACKPINK and their music. THE ALBUM is a universal piece of art that will resonate with fans for years to come.
Here we don't like to put art in a box. What the members of BLACKPINK have done with THE ALBUM is something the world really needed right now. Time does not exist in 2020 therefore artists are free to bend and play with the concept as they wish. What is important to the fan is a track that hits the soul, even if that track is a Korean rap bar. It's the same deal with Latino Reggaton, you don't have to understand what they are saying - you just have to recognize this is something you resonate with. The music moves fast here but the elements of pop and hip-hop are oozing within every track. “How You Like That” was quick to go viral thanks to the teens and tweens of TikTok and holds as the perfect opening to this fiery album. It is a song that would mix perfectly with a DJ mixing the panging beat in the club but until then we are good with the speakers in our living room. “Ice Cream (with Selena Gomez)” was a stretch since she tends to be a couple steps behind a quick beat but her ballads hold up really well on this track. The complimentary vocals BLACKPINK members provide swirl around the American artists chorus moments so beautifully. The entire track is sexy without even needing visuals.
“Pretty Savage” defines a culture. The metallic drop emphasizes the “BLACK” side of BLACKPINK and it takes shots at all the haters. Bearing resemblance to “DDU-DU-DDU-DU” the tempo track leans heavier into the hip-hop side as an homage to what the genre is grounded in, which is establishing dominance and being the best, even when others throw shade. “Bet You Wanna (feat. Cardi B)” created what is now perfectly known as BARDIPINK. The cocktail sounding mix is the group reverting back to the “PINK” side while also making this the first song that features an American rapper. It’s fresh and airy with notes of pink and bubblegum flavor, something that reflects nicely on Cardi B. It has its flirty moments with “You wanna touch, wanna touch? Of course you wanna” and accentuates the hips with references to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and Cardi’s waistline.
Before you know it the fifth track “Lovesick Girls” is rolling around and it's larger than life. Here the members are establishing their presence by asserting their work should not go unnoticed. With lots of attention you are always susceptible to false claims and lies. Here Jennie especially is calling out her fans for calling her a “princess” for not writing her own lyrics, when that is in fact false. Listening to the song you can already imagine it as the final encore song at any of their future shows with pounds of confetti raining down on the crowd. “Crazy Over You” is salacious with oriental rhythms and hard bass lines. “Love To Hate Me” is a flip back to the dark side of the group where they renounce a toxic relationship, “You ain’t worth my love is you only love to hate me” sets up Lisa’s bars so perfectly you can feel the frisson hit your arms.
Lastly we have the closer “You Never Know” a twinkly love song that lets you catch your breath after the last seven tracks ripped into you (in a good way). The simply arranged melodies support the members who are revealing themselves more than ever. Being judged especially when people have no idea who you really are is harmful but the members have united in a combative effort with the lyrics found in this song. Overall the debut full length album sits nicely in the BLACKPINK catalogue. It is the perfect example of what magic can be made when faced with adversity and a global pandemic. The pre-orders for the album surpassed a million just hours before its official release. We simply cannot wait to witness these girls takeover stages all over the world in the years to come.