From sold-out world tours to renowned collaborations, K-pop quartet Blackpink– Rosé, Jisoo, Lisa, and Jennie– have impressed the world right from the beginning, establishing themselves as the epitome of girl power since their debut in 2016. Now, the band has dropped their highly anticipated full-length The Album, not only culminating the long wait of their global fanbase but also revealing lesser-known sides of these queens in K-pop.
With catchy soundscapes and empowering messages, the eight-track offering feels like a natural extension of Blackpink’s discography with many tracks including “How You Like That,” “Crazy Over You” and “Pretty Savage” highlighting an upbeat feel encompassed by what’s become the quartet’s signature sound; one comprised of EDM beats and a consistently adrenaline-infused vibe.
Lyrically, Blackpink continues on the route of hook-focused verses that don’t necessarily make sense but definitely get stuck in your head. Singing memorable if not poetic lyrics– “If you get our name wrong, du-ddu-du-ddu hit” in “Pretty Savage and “Bada bing, bada boom, boom, boom” in “How You Like That,”– is no surprise that the band who blew up songs like “DDU-DU DDU-DU.”
A lot of their debut record feels like a rehashed, refined version of the music they’ve already offered the world, but Blackpink has still made sure to try new things and reveal new layers of their musicality within the production. One stand-out is Selena Gomez collaboration “Ice Cream,” released in August, which works as the ultimate summer anthem – in all seasons – with its light, refreshing bubble-gum pop sonics brilliantly offsetting the darker vibe that the band is known for.
Another stand-out is the emotive, vulnerable closing track “You Never Know” which reveals yet another unexplored side of the four-piece delving into their past struggles with poignant, well-considered lyrics -exploring relatable feelings of inadequacy- and a melancholic but hopeful soundscape.
With a minimalistic piano-led melody elevated by their smooth vocals, the track is a unique gem in a tracklist filled with crowd-pleasing EDM music, making it the most substantial and diverse of their music so far. Ending the album on this forward-facing note – with a soundscape and message so starkly different from the band’s norm-Blackpink indicates that they are leaving their past hardships and moving forward with self-confidence.
Overall, The Album is a fresh and authentic look back at the powerhouse group’s musical journey so far. It’s a journey that remains incomplete, coming to an end just as we approach the cusp of a new beginning for Blackpink in K-pop and beyond – but it’s something to look forward to.