As one of the most successful girl groups in gen 3, but after 4 years of debut, BLACKPINK has only had their first full album. Therefore, the fans’ expectations of THE ALBUM are extremely high.
Being part of the current Kpop most prominent 3-gen girlgroup, BLACKPINK has achieved numerous great achievements domestically and internationally. The records on YouTube, the performances with the A-list stars in the US-UK, … make BLACKPINK’s name resonate in the international arena. However, in terms of discography, BLACKPINK proved too short of breath compared to other friends.
Two other prominent 3rd gen girl groups, TWICE and Red Velvet, when they reach the 4th year of their careers, what do they own? TWICE has 1 full album and 8 EPs, while Red Velvet has 2 full albums and 6 EPs.
They have only 2 EP in their hands, the rest are just singles. Even BLACKPINK’s EP only has 4 songs instead of 5-6 as its competitors. So, in the end, the things that viewers remember BLACKPINK are just achievements, and the depth in the group’s music is almost faint.
However, that does not mean that BLACKPINK’s music quality is poor. The group still has game-changing blockbusters such as the debut single Boombayah or the super hit billion views Ddu-du Ddu-du. But they are just barren singles that do not have an album of the same production to support, making it difficult for fans to judge whether this is a temporary product or a period of music clear.
During 4 years of waiting for a well-rounded product from BLACKPINK, the first information about THE ALBUM can hardly satisfy fans. THE ALBUM is a very simple name that does not say anything about the group’s music other than reaffirming that the group has a full debut album. In terms of volume, the album is only 8 songs with more than 24 minutes, which is too small compared to 10 songs for Red Velvet’s debut album The Red or 13 songs for Twicetagram of TWICE.
The music direction of THE ALBUM also what worries fans when the first 2 singles have very different colors, almost opposite. If How You Like That is dense in trap and Indian music influences with dark and heavy synth sounds, Ice Cream is a light-up song with bright noises of bubblegum pop. It is hard to guess which mainstream music style THE ALBUM will actually lead.
As a matter of fact, THE ALBUM really has no specific musical direction. The whole album is a mix of different colors, alternating without having a specific circuit. If How You Like That, Pretty Savage and Crazy Over You use Indian traps, Ice Cream and Bet You Wanna bring fresh dance pop colors with US-UK influences.
Going to Lovesick Girls, the sound has the color of pop-rock. Particularly, You Never Know is simply produced with rustic sounds different from other songs. All are arranged in a mess that hard to see a circuit of content or sound through.
Of course, some songs when stand-alone still have a certain appeal. Pretty Savage has a very dense Hip-hop quality that we are used to very familiar with YG’s music in general and 2NE1 in particular before. This song reminds a lot of The Baddest Female and Mental Breakdown of CL seniors – the period when Hip-hop colors are still booming at YG and dominate Kpop.
However, BLACKPINK does not repeat the blood and arrogance of their seniors. Pretty Savage is a bit sarcastic but overall are still 4 young girls with a lot of lovely voices and there is no shortage of moments when they gently express themselves.
Or in Lovesick Girls – one of THE ALBUM’s most unique colorful songs – BLACKPINK delivers a deep and satisfying performance. They describe a love story with a lot of sadness and disappointment (We were born to be alone) but in the end, they still chose to trust (We’re still looking for love). BLACKPINK takes the listener through all emotions with their own voice without depending too much on electronic sounds. There is grief, there is anger, but in the end there is a passion for happiness.
Bet You Wanna share the same production team with Ice Cream, so both songs have similar bright colors and the same texture without a clear chorus, sharing the attention for all. both segments. Although there are still incoherent troubles, they show that BLACKPINK is willing to experiment with a new style instead of the one-color prejudices that frame music from the Ddu-du Ddu-du era up to now.
In particular, the end of Bet You Wanna also made a rather complicated part, rarely seen in THE ALBUM in particular as well as the career of BLACKPINK in general. Unfortunately, the appearance of Cardi B is not really impressive or surprising as fans expect.
However, these bright spots will be great when we consider each song as singles like what BLACKPINK has released from the past until now, and when they are in the same album, it is another matter. Exploding with How You Like That, we were forced to eat a sweet ice cream in Ice Cream, then back to the pit with Pretty Savage. Coming to Bet You Wanna like a cool glass of water, we received a strange sound of Lovesick Girls again. Things are messed up, just like the production team of BLACKPINK is trying to give all the most impressive things to listeners to cover their heads.
Because after that, the next 3 songs are quite unforgettable. Crazy Over You is like a copy of the original but less heat and less catchy of How You Like That, Love To Hate Me learns in YG’s familiar Hip-hop / R&B colors but very lack of fire and a special climax. You Never Know is a “classic” song dedicated to ending an album with simple, rustic melodies from piano, violin, … But on the one hand, it makes the song completely out of phase with the whole. The production team built the ending very suddenly, placing the song in the last position, making the listener feel like the album was still unfinished.
If THE ALBUM was released 2-3 years ago, fans would not be so disappointed. 4 years of waiting for a full album of only 8 songs and not having a specific concept is difficult to accept with a group at a very high position like BLACKPINK. However, if you look at it with fairness, THE ALBUM with all the nuances and shapes also gives the 4 members of the group and the production team behind have many opportunities to test, show other angles each other of themselves.
This album is not satisfying enough in terms of an album, but if we consider it as a normal music party, they are still strong enough for us to dance with enthusiasm.