[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
1. How You Like That
2. Ice Cream (with Selena Gomez)
3. Pretty Savage
4. Bet You Wanna (feat. Cardi B)
5. Lovesick Girls
6. Crazy Over You
7. Love To Hate Me
8. You Never Know
After a long (and I'm talking long) wait, BLACKPINK, is finally ready to showcase The Albumto the world. This is the group's sophomore album and it is thematically a story of growth for the members that they hope to convey as a universal experience to those navigating the confusing waters of life. We've reviewed two of the eight songs on this release, so I'll focus on the six brand new tracks that The Album brings us.
Starting us off is the powerful affirming anthem, "Pretty Savage". Right off the bat, Lisa's rap flow wasn't my favorite- I wish she had a bit more variation here with her delivery. When the song gets into the chorus of "You betta run run run", I had hope for more of a build-up, but that hope was diminished as it fell flat quickly. I think that YG Entertainment has trained us to expect this EDM breakdown in their songs and "Pretty Savage" didn't hold up to expectation. Rose's breakdown just didn't feel cohesive as it led to the slowed-down "savage" harmony.
"Bet You Wanna" feat. Cardi B garnered a lot of folks' attention online, and many of them expressed their disdain for the song, but I have to argue otherwise. I think this song is immediately more cohesive than Ice Cream was, and Cardi's verse works well with the song without taking too much attention off the group. The song, admittedly, is a little strange on the first listen, but there's an underlying melody to it that definitely sticks with multiple listens. I can see this song garnering a lot more airplay over the next few weeks. In particular, the harmonies and melody at 1:51 is the most well-written part of the song.
"Lovesick Girls" has a totally lab-made pop sound that's somewhat cookie-cutter, but that doesn't mean it's a bad song at all. In fact, the song is reminiscent of tons of pop songs in the 2010s, and for all extensive purposes, the sound shouldn't work in 2020, but it definitely works for BLACKPINK. It follows the retro theme of this quarter of K-Pop releases without buying into a completely tacky 80s concept but maintaining a calculated amount of kitsch. This song has one purpose and I think it is to be an uplifting anthem.
"Crazy Over You" is hands-down my favorite song on this release! The woodwind-centered instrumental and lyricism is strong and memorable. The song is a good showcase of everyone's abilities without stretching them thin and the simple "I'm crazy over you" paired with the bob of the instrumental is hypnotizing as it brings you back into the upbeat tempo of the verses. This one will be a fun one once they are back on the tour circuit.
The last two songs are "Love To Hate Me" and "You Never Know". I felt neutral about "Love To Hate Me", as the song itself is very cookie-cutter pop music. There was nothing super special to note about the song, but on that note, there was nothing offensive to note either. The song feels like one of those demos that a lot of pop stars could have picked up and done. "You Never Know" is the album's last track and only downtempo song, however, I still found the vocal range to be a bit of a strain on the girls. It does make the group's overall vocals sound a bit sharp at times. If I had to choose a downtempo BLACKPINK song, I'd choose "Stay" over this track.
If there is one thing that BLACKPINK can do, it's that they serve an unparalleled visual. The four superstars have come back yet again to serve us some jaw-dropping outfits, but the MV itself is as expected. The MV has direct relation to the song as it showcases the contrast of them going through agonizing, teary-eyed heartbreak and finding solace in better days as they traverse together in a convertible out in the open air of the countryside The video boasts nice cinematography, what looks to be an appealing choreography and intriguing styling. Overall, the feeling and meaning of the song is portrayed well in this deceptively simple MV.
MV Score: 9
Album Score: 7.3