For what feels like an eternity, fans have been asking YG Entertainment for a BLACKPINK album. Since their debut in 2016, they have only promoted stand-alone singles, and those were released sporadically. Unsurprisingly, fans were pleased to hear that the girls would be coming back with their first album. However, is this album worth the two year wait?
- “DDU-DU DDU-DU”
- “Forever Young”
- “See You Later”
Total Runtime: 00:14:00
Recommended for: Rap fans, EDM fans, Pop infused Hip-hop tracks
NOT Recommended for: Anyone who doesn’t care for the aforementioned genres, ballad fans, cute concept fans, those who prefer straight-up pop tracks
- “DDU-DU DDU-DU”
“DDU-DU DDU-DU” sure is a strange name for a title track, and I was not sure what to expect. One thing that I was sure to expect from the title track was that it would include the group’s signature hip-hop infused sound. “DDU-DU DDU-DU” starts out with a dark trap element, periodically intercepted by the girls shouting “BLACKPINK!” This part of the song is not bad, but I am so used to the iconic “BLACKPINK in your area!”, that I was almost disappointed. However, change is always welcome and I like it after a few listens.
Jennie gets the first verse and she does it well. I am not particularly fond of her vocal tone, but her delivery and sexy-sassiness always makes her a joy to listen to. As will be the case with the rest of the song, the lyrics are actually full of meaning. She brags about being foxy underneath her pretty exterior and warns that she does what she does because she wants to. I absolutely love the theme of female empowerment and this is something that will be present throughout the entire song.
Lisa’s rap is next and, as always, she infuses her verse with a genuine swag that not only sets her apart from Jennie, but makes her rap verse the best in the song. Contrary to popular opinion, I think Lisa is the group’s best rapper and it shows here. The fashion choice is a bit bizarre, but she works with that is given to her.
Rose and Jisoo are next, and they both do well with what they are given. Jisoo surprised me here as she holds her own against Rose, the group’s main vocal. Both girls are able to distinguish themselves with their sung parts and it helps that they look gorgeous while at it. The lyrics are what hit me the most here. The is a part that says, “I smile because it does me good”. The idea that women must always be smiling for the benefit of others is one that is deeply ingrained in our society. However, to see these beautiful girls triumphantly declare that they will smile to please themselves fills me with jubilant ecstasy. I love that they are taking charge of their own happiness, all they while sending a message that many other girls will be able to identify with.
Jennie’s verse after the first chorus is really nice but I find that it falls short of Lisa’s. The scenery, however, is gorgeous. The MV does well in blending soft and bright palettes together to create something classy and bold. I squealed with delight with Jennie rolled up in a diamond-encrusted tank! One does not see that often in music videos, if at all. However, BLACKPINK has always delivered on the aesthetic front that I am not surprised.
In fact, the rest of the music video is full of aesthetic goodness. Each scene contrasts between darker and softer palettes, and the fashion choices are, at worst, interesting. The video has so much replay value that even if you didn’t like the song, you’d want to listen to it just to watch the music video.
Despite all the good things about this track, there are several things holding it back and preventing it from being the masterpiece that it should be. For starters, the last 30 seconds of this song are an absolute waste. It’s as if Teddy (the producer) wanted to include a dance break and decided to insert some random parts of the instrumental. The chorus would not be much of a problem if the instrumental was more interesting. It wouldn’t have been bad, if the choreography was any good. The choreography leaves much to be desired, especially here where it seems like an endless recycle of past BLACKPINK dance moves. The instrumental itself is a bit generic, which is something that bothered me throughout the song. Teddy has become derivative of his own formula and it shows. This is almost like ‘Boombayah‘ in how formulaic it is. The song does nothing to distinguish itself from your run-of-the-mill club banger.
Due to the fact that we had to wait for an entire year for BLACKPINK to come back, this title track leaves much to be desired. We certainly know that the group could do better (as proven by “Whistle” and “Playing With Fire“) but for some reason, Teddy is insisting on holding them back with tracks that belong in 2015. As is, “DDU-DU DDU-DU” could be so much better!
- “Forever Young”
This is a tropical-house infused EDM track, but it manages to be memorable. It sets itself apart form the slew of trop-house songs K-pop has churned out in the last two years. “Forever Young” could have been a title track on its own, it’s that good! It’s very upbeat and enjoyable, perfectly fitting for the hot summer. The only part that would stop this from being the title would be the random “BLACKPINK is the revolution” which just seem so out of place with the rest of the track. The rap and vocals sort of blend in together, but that is not a bad thing. It actually works in the song’s favor and gives the vocalists an excuse to project their voices harder.
My only complain is that the last part of the song, again, just seems like Teddy followed the same formula on “How to make a hit 101”. It’s the generic YG breakdown that we hear in almost every single YGE group. Despite that, “Forever Young” is a delight and will probably be the favorite of many listeners.
“Really” is another tropical-infused track, but leans on the hip-hop side a bit more. It has a very catchy chorus, which helps to elevate the smooth verses. The rap line shines here, but the vocal line is not to be outdone. “Really” somehow reminds me of “Love Scenario” and some of iKON’s slower songs. This doesn’t mean that it sounds exactly like them, but the vibe is a bit similar. I really like that the girls manage to incorporate different vocal styles in their songs, something that separates them from other girls groups in the new generation. Those who do not like the title track might like this one better!
- “See U Later”
“See U Later” mixes and matches different genres. It starts out as a pop-trop house jam in the beginning but then delves into hip hop and trap once the chorus kicks in. The verses are very well produced and add to the catchiness of the song. The rap verses are also very well executed, outshining the vocal line for the second time since the title track. The transitions are not jarring, and the hops between pop, trap and hip hop don’t affect the enjoyment-factor of this track. “Forever Young” and “Really” may have more to offer musically, but listeners will not be disappointed with “See U Later”.