[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
1. Ice Cream (with Selena Gomez)
BLACKPINK finally gets to break their curse of releasing only one single a year, so maybe 2020 isn't so bad after all. It's refreshing to finally see them back on the promotion circuit regularly after YG Entertainment struggles to not fall to shambles around them. Following BTS suit in appealing to a Western audience, the group brings in Selena Gomez as a collaborator for their latest English single release, "Ice Cream".
The song is much more light-hearted and non-sensical than their other releases that have faired on the intense and sultry side. Upon my initial listens, my impressions were that there were not joking when they said "(with Selena Gomez)" and that there was a lot of Lisa- a ton. To unpack, generally when K-Pop artists feature a Western artist it's pretty minimal, or rather- 'inoffensive' involvement. So I suppose I was expecting a less overt performance or.a feature- similarly to when BTS brought in Halsey. Though Selena had a hefty part, I found her heavy auto-tuning hard to bear and difficult to listen to. Lisa, on the other hand, carried this song on her back. It really seemed like after every other person was another Lisa verse. Though I'm not complaining - her dynamic rap at the end did catch my attention, but I still wanted more Jisoo.
"Ice Cream' is good in theory. I enjoy the concept, I love the feeling evoked, but I didn't care for the execution this time around. I preferred the group's "How You Like That" concept over this one simply because I felt that the vocals are more suited to the members. I think that the members are perfectly capable of hitting the notes for "Ice Cream", however, I think that setting a major memorable part of the song at the top of the member's ranges seems like a good recipe for vocal strain come promotion and tour. I wonder if this is Ariana Grande' a doing since she's listed as a songwriter on this particular single.
The music video was a multicolor, pastel, iced dairy confection dreamland. "Ice Cream" had all the success factors- insane production value, budget, incredible subjects, and overall aesthetics and design. The MV felt whimsical and does a fantastic job of not overstimulating you while keeping you at the perfect balance of intrigued and hypnotized.
The members and Selena are all serving bouncy energy and you'd almost believe that their parts were filmed at the same location. I'm assuming that due to pandemic-related situations, their MV was separately filmed since there is never a scene with Selena and the BLACKPINK together. Either way, I don't think it detracted at all from the MV's final result.
MV Score: 10.0
Album Score: 6.0