By Maddy Myer
Following a night of jam-packed content from BLACKPINK, including an exclusive Apple Music Interview and the premier of YouTube Released, one of the most anticipated albums of the year is finally here.
BLACKPINK finally released their debut full album The Album and it quickly shot up to No. 1 on the US iTunes Chart. Blinks have been waiting for this moment for ages now, and let’s just say Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa did not come to disappoint. I’m kind of obsessed with the album at the moment and have been listening non-stop.
I love ranking new albums, especially ones I’ve had on my radar for a long time. The eight song album might be a little short, but that just means it’ll be easier to stream. The album is filled with bop over bop and it was extremely hard to rank since I believe each song is stunning. There could be a few exceptions, but I think my personal ranking for The Album is set in stone for the next few weeks.
8. “Ice Cream (with Selena Gomez)”
Ice Cream is the only pink song on the album, and that usually isn’t my cup of tea. It’s a perfect pop radio song that easily gets stuck in your head. But regardless, out of all the tracks on the album, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the theme. I think it should have been released as a single prior to this album release cycle rather than a pre-release for the album. The beat is fire, though, and the vocals plus Lisa’s rap shine through. I also think Selena Gomez was the best choice for this song because her voice matched well with the girls. However, it may have done better as a separate single or even as a song on Selena’s album.
7. “Bet You Wanna (feat. Cardi B)”
It was a cute catchy song, that like “Ice Cream,” I think will do well on pop radio, especially since it’s all in English. This may be the one song on the album that may rank higher if I start hearing it on the radio, seeing as it may get pushed as a single. I just wish Jennie and Lisa would have had a chance to rap alongside Cardi B for an unforgettable moment. Cardi B’s rap was a little different than most of her raps, but it remained fierce, referenced one of her own songs “Please Me” and left you wanting more. Since Cardi B is notable for her heavy cursing, the thing that threw you for a loop was the lack of curse words — she even tweeted about how hard it was to keep her verse clean. I also saw Cardi tweet about envisioning this song in a movie, and I agree, it would really fit a comedy or even a rom-com. We do need to talk about Rosé’s vocals, though. She served throughout, but her ad-libs, harmonization, and high notes at the end of the song were unmatched. It was great to see her show just how powerful and stable her voice can be.
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6. “How You Like That”
I called it the song of the year when it came out, but after hearing the other tracks on the album, there are several that I liked better. “How You Like That” was a good representation of what most people think of when they hear a BLACKPINK track, whereas they experimented more in other tracks. The EDM beat drop with dance break gets a little tiring after listening to this song alongside previous BLACKPINK releases so many times. However, I will say that this was my favorite music video out of all the music videos for singles. The visuals, outfits, and the snow scene — my favorite— are all very memorable.
5. “You Never Know”
Jisoo starts off this song with her husky lower register and sets the tone beautifully for BLACKPINK’s only “slow” song on the album. This song reminded me of how astounding the girls’ pure vocals are. I actually teared up a little while listening. The way Rosé’s voice is so soft, yet powerful at the same time speaks volumes. The lyrics are also very touching and express how a lot of people hate on the girls, which made me even more emotional.
4. “Crazy Over You”
I don’t know why, but I can picture some bomb ass choreo and accompanying music video for this song. The beat variation and ad-libs make the song so enjoyable. This song is a banger and is the most experimental on the album. They aren’t just singing and rapping well, they’re using different styles such as slowing down the end sentences of verses and high pitch repetition of the letter “e.” In addition, the differing flows between the rappers make this song so great because it shows their separate rap styles. In this case the first is slower and the second picks up the speed, while also exhibiting their joint power with a back to back rap. It reminds me of the ending on their song “Kick It,” when the girls all sing in unison, but in a fun rather than serious way. My only complaint is its short length. While most of the songs on the album are on the shorter side, this is the only one that you actually realize it in.
3. “Lovesick Girls”
This song has the nostalgic BLACKPINK style, name dropping the title of the song in the chorus. Yet it is still so different from both of their previous pre-release singles. The music video was one of which the girls were acting, and one that was filmed outdoors for the majority of it. Thinking about the music video, I got “Playing With Fire” vibes. “Lovesick Girls” is a song that gives a black and pink feel. Backed by heavy acoustic guitar, the intro of the song is a steady build up to the energetic chorus. The post-chorus brings that mood down a little before being followed by English raps then returning to the intro feel and emotional bridge. It was nice to see Jisoo and Jennie writing on the track. And the fact that in addition to writing her own rap, Jennie also produced and delivered vocals is amazing and speaks to her versatility. I think it was a good pick for the title track, but I can also see another song on the album as a title track.
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2. “Love to Hate Me”
“How you love to hate me” essentially describes BLACKPINK’s antis; the girls are calling out their haters, and I’m here for it. One of the early lines says “see me making waves, and you don’t like that.” They’re making waves by accomplishing so many things only four years in their career with limited songs. Because of these accomplishments, there are people hating, and the song implies that they recognize it. This was actually the song I claimed would be one of my favorites just by the title, and I was right. Because of this, I broke my rule of listening to new albums in order and went straight to this song first. Jisoo’s sultry and husky vocal tone really stuck out to me in this song, which I really enjoyed. Also, umm, Lisa’s rap… My god! I’m still shook from it, and it may be one of my favorites from her. Her flow differed from her previous raps in delivery because while those focused were mainly speed raps backed usually by EDM beats, this was all about emphasis on the words she spoke and had more of an honest delivery. In other words, you could feel she meant every word when she rapped, similar to a rap from a western act such as Eminem. The only reason why this isn’t my No. 1 pick is because “Pretty Savage” exists with multiple raps, and I’m a rap fan.
1. “Pretty Savage”
When people say BLACKPINK makes women feel empowered, listen to this song and you’ll get it. Lyrics such as “If you mad stay mad, we not alike,” “F boys not my boys,” and “we some bitches you can’t manage” cater to the idgaf attitude. “Pretty Savage” makes me feel like a bad bitch who can do anything. If the group is looking for a song to promote on music shows as a B-side, this would be it. The girls mentioned it on V Live, but I agree that the song fits perfectly with BLACKPINK’s image. They’re not just pretty faces, but also talented hard-working savages. This is definitely the song on the album for rap fans, and it is a song I could also see being a BLACKPINK title track. Rosé’s contrasting vocals to the raps at the end is the perfect wrap up before the song has the best outro of the whole album. Due to the whistle sounds and drawn out harmonization on the word savage, the outro remains catchy and memorable. Her voice is soft and soothing and backed by light guitar strums that calm you before the outro.
BLACKPINK has put out previous EP’s Square Up and Kill This Love that saw success in their own right, but The Album is the first time listeners could hear more than a few tracks in a work. This feels like a complete project with some familiar BLACKPINK flair that hooked fans in the first place, but also experimentation.
The album had new producers working on the tracks, which helped the production level of the project rise. With new producers, not every song followed the typical BLACKPINK formula: intro verse, rap, pre-chorus, chorus, etc., which proves the group grew into trying something they weren’t familiar with. The inclusion of all English songs also adds to this new feel, as does the collaboration with Cardi B since this was their first with a rapper. Hopefully they’ll keep this growth and openness to new things for their next project.
Moreover, the members’ strengths shined through, whether that meant trying vocal notes never heard by them before, synchronized harmonizations, or unfamiliar rap flows. They got to represent BLACKPINK as the girl group of the moment, and they do so with such strong, confident, and meaningful songs. With two members taking part in the making of their title track, it could be an indication that future songs will feature more of their creative input in the future.
The Album is an indication of the members’ artistic growth and willingness to go against what we would expect from them or any other K-pop group — which has always been key in their artistic identity.
What are your thoughts on BLACKPINK’s The Album? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.
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