BLACKPINK’s “As If It’s Your Last” is Not a Complete Swagfest, but Still Problematic

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BLACKPINK are a strange group to write about. Branded as “the new 2NE1” by YG Entertainment, they’ve got their fair share of fans and haters alike, and the critical reception of the group has been anything but forgiving. Most of the bloggers I follow seem to blame this on YG in general because they just don’t know how to create girl groups. I’ve been sitting here with bated breath since their debut for something that would make BLACKPINK, well, BLACKPINK. It kills me when a group gets stagnated because of the way they’re marketed, so I’ve been waiting for the day BLACKPINK gets past this awkward phase and becomes the group they were destined to be.

Today was not that day.

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BLACKPINK’s Comeback Teaser Looks Like A Swag-fest from Hell

As some of you might know, I am probably one of the few people blogging about Kpop that even remotely likes BLACKPINK. Most people call them “2NE1 2.0” or any amount of other names to just denigrate them as a bottom-of-the-pack girl group. However, if you’ve been following me for a while you would also know that “Playing With Fire” was in my Top 3 Songs of the Year. I’ve been waiting for a BLACKPINK comeback for ages, but this just isn’t it.

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Songs I Missed #3: SHINee, MAMAMOO, BLACK PINK, and more

uh-hey-guys

Uh…hey guys.

So…you may have noticed I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks.

And…well…I’ve really got no excuse to give you other than I have a bad time keeping up with comebacks and debuts along with all my other responsibilities and entanglements in real life.

            But I’m back now, and I’m reviewing a large amount of Kpop comebacks to a) get me back in the loop, and b) so I can give my opinion on these comebacks. That means this post is gonna be pretty video-heavy, so bear that in mind as you read.

And now, without further adieu, the comebacks I missed:

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Red Velvet Plays Dangerous Games and Pranks in “Russian Roulette”

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Ever since their debut in 2014, Red Velvet has been on a constant uphill climb to success. With a dual concept of “red” and “velvet” songs (a concept that Black Pink shamelessly copied this year with their “black” and “pink” concepts), S.M. Entertainment has a lot they can work with, and their newest single, “Russian Roulette,” may be their best one yet.

As a song, “Russian Roulette” fits the “red” concept Red Velvet has been running with for years. However, instead of being bombastic like “Dumb Dumb”, Red Velvet takes a subdued approach. It’s an electropop song, but it feels different with the addition of arcadey-synths, specially auto-tuned lyrics (the la-la-la parts), and constant energy packed in the instrumental, making it feel distinctly Red Velvet.

Then we get to the music video, which only adds to the song’s charms. At first, the mix of red, orange, yellow, and green can be hard on the eyes. However, doesn’t feel out of place when you add it to the hilarious Tom-and-Jerry concept surrounding it. Within the video, we get a bunch of scenes of the members trying to “kill” each other in standard cartoon fashion, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Wendy setting Seulgi’s shirt on fire
  • Wendy pushing Yeri in a shallow pool
  • Three of the girls knocking over some lockers onto Seulgi
  • Yeri replaces Irene’s cereal with nuts and bolts
  • Two girls push Wendy into oncoming traffic
  • Wendy and Seulgi pushing a piano down the stairs onto Irene and Joy

However, despite the utter ridiculousness of each of these scenes, they are played off very subtly, making the Tom-and-Jerry concept hard to understand until you see the three or four cartoon scenes of a bootleg version of both characters imitating the very things Red Velvet are doing to each other. It’s incredibly fun to watch once you get past the color choices for the concept.

If I had to have any qualms with this comeback, the song lasted thirty seconds too long and the hairstyles of the members ranged from okay to atrocious. However, both of these things feel like nit-picking at this point, and anything this comeback does wrong comes off very minor in comparison to what other groups have done this past year.

Needless to say, I love this comeback a lot, and if Red Velvet keeps coming out with stuff like this they will likely have a fan in me. Now all there is to wait for is their imminent “velvet” concept that I’m sure will be coming sooner rather than later if I’ve learned anything about how Red Velvet works.

May it be as good as “One of These Nights.”

Black Pink’s Debut is Better Than I Expected

Ever since I got into Kpop in 2011, YG Entertainment has been a hit or miss for me. Sometimes, they can create amazing songs like, “Bae Bae,” by Big Bang last year. Other times, they can create really bad content – CL’s “The Baddest Female,” and “Hello Bi+ches,” come to mind. So when I heard that YG was about to debut a new female group called Black Pink, I admit I rolled my eyes a bit.

I didn’t pay too much attention to the promotion material for Black Pink, but I knew that Black Pink was being promoted as a younger version of 2NE1, and it shows. Out of the four members, I was able to make a lot of comparisons between each of the members of Black Pink to members in 2NE1, which both works to Black Pink’s advantage and disadvantage. It’s a good thing because at least there is some familiarity in what you’re getting into with their music. Just about anybody who’s been in Kpop for a while knows who 2NE1 is, even if they’ve fallen off the radar in the past few years. However, the problem exists in the fact that Black Pink doesn’t seem to have much of its own color beyond the attitudes of the members, and it’s going to be interesting to see if they’re going to be able to break out of the 2NE1 comparison, or remain carbon copies.

However, if there’s one thing that Black Pink has going for them, it’s the fact they at least have some good material to work with. Both “Whistle,” and “Boombayah” are strong songs to debut with. “Whistle,” is a mid-tempo song with rap and hip-hop beats accompanying most of it, along with a whistle sound that comes up at the hook of the chorus. What gets me about this song is the acoustic guitar that appears towards the bridge. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I love melodies a lot more than beats, but it’s the one thing that keeps me coming back. I could tell that this was the song that was supposed to be the preview before the main track, but I think that this could be the sound that makes Black Pink stand out a little more.

That being said, “Boombayah,” is by far the better song out of the two. It’s one of those songs that grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. In a way I feel like it recalls “Fantastic Baby,” by Big Bang mixed with, “I Am the Best,” from 2NE1, which isn’t a bad thing. After all, those songs are the definers of both those artists.

Both of these songs were written and produced by a guy named Teddy, who writes most of YG’s tracks, particularly their good ones, so it’s no surprise that this was the guy responsible for this debut being so good. However, I can’t say that these are songs that could be pulled off by just anyone. There needs to be a sort of attitude to get it taken seriously, and the members definitely do just that. From quiet confidence in Jisoo to the in-your-face bombast of Lisa, these are group members I would love to see on a variety show just to see who they’re all about. I can already tell that Lisa is going to be my bias because I enjoyed watching and listening to every part she played in these two songs.

Black Pink is going to be the group to watch for the second half of the year, because if they can deliver and pull of this good of a debut, I’m excited to see what they’re follow up is going to look like.