It would be a lie for me to say that I remember the day when YG announced he was debuting a new girl-group. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for longer: YG’s girl group or Frank Ocean’s album. But today YG has finally delivered and his girl-group BlackPink, (which many have obviously been calling the new 2ne1), has dropped their debut singles “Whistle” and “BoomBayah”.
Now, when I say that YG has finally delivered, I didn’t say he delivered anything new. BlackPink is good yes, but they are so typical of the common girl group trend these days in Kpop that it’s almost impossible not to compare them if not to 2ne1 than to groups like Red Velvet or Twice.
The first MV I saw was “BoomBayah” which started out with the four girls: Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa, and Rose’, riding on bikes behind some green screen work which immediately reminded me of labelmate, 2ne1’s debut MV “Fire”. Maybe it was an intentional nod to their seniors or maybe it was just a lack of creativity on the company’s behalf.
Honestly, I’m going for it being a lack of creativity because throughout the song I could tell that it was another Teddy production not by the outstanding quality, but by the familiarity of arrangement that Teddy can’t seem to let go. “BoomBayah” could easily be put on a 2ne1 album and no one would really know the difference. Well maybe that’s a lie, because “BoomBayah” might actually be too bad of a song to put on a 2ne1 album.
“BoomBayah” is simply a 2ne1 early-era type song. It’s got that Indian inspired flavor with some club pumping, electronic bass. The only difference is that it’s plain. Where 2ne1’s “Fire” and “Can’t Nobody” had an actual enjoyable and memorable chorus, the punchline in “BoomBayah” is barely there. “BoomBayah” is a fun song, but there could have been more effort put into it in order to give the girls not only a distinction from 2ne1 but a distinction from the rest of today’s K-pop scene.
Although I don’t feel like that distinction came from the song itself, it definitely came from the MV for it. Clearly if you watch the MV you know that I am not talking about the set-up for it. The look of the MV is still classic K-pop so don’t get your hopes to high for that. But definitely watch it for the girls.
My personal favorite is main rapper and main dancer Lisa who stole my heart the moment she just chilled with that lollipop in the “BoomBayah” MV. She’s clearly the CL of the group when it comes to her confident energy and dance flavor and I’m excited to see her live performances.
Really all the girls’ true potential seem to stick out more to me in “Whistle” rather than in “BoomBayah”. Where I didn’t really get a good grasp of Rose’s vocals in “BoomBayah” I was surprised upon first listen of “Whistle” to hear that she actually has a unique air in her singing style. Even Jisoo and Lisa proved through this song that they have some solid vocals that I am very interested in hearing more of. The fact that all 4 members have solid vocals is another distinguishing factor that the group has over 2ne1. I felt that 2ne1’s flaws were that their main vocalist, Bom, at times was very shaky and their 2nd strongest vocalist Minzy was rarely highlighted. BlackPink proves through “Whistle” that they aren’t just pretty faces, but they’ve actually got some flavorful voices that shouldn’t be missed.
“Whistle” as a song is actually really good. It’s leaves the electronic club baning sounds of “BoomBayah” behind and goes more into the low-key hype hip-hop, pop-rock blend that BigBang is good at doing. Although it still doesn’t provide the girls with a trademark sound it is one that I will be downloading. The whistling melody through the song is obviously mad catchy. Actually, I can’t recall a song with a whistle that I did not like.
It is the combination of the whistle melody an the mid-tempo hip-hop bass that really shapes this into a crisp and satisfactory jam without even bordering on the line of annoying. Plus, I personally usually hate when a song goes from a hip-hop beat and then adds in a pop-rock melody but “Whistle” is one of the few songs that I think that genre switch actually compliments and adds to the song. So I guess Teddy can still do something right.
Overall I would say that BlackPink’s debut is both a success and a failure depending on how badly you’ve been anticipating them. For me I felt that there singles are a bit underwhelming considering the amount of hype they received pre-debut. But if they were under a less popular label, having received less attention pre-debut, then I would have easily accepted their debut as an 8/10. But since this is not the case and my heart can not help but draw comparisons to 2ne1 I would have to give there debut a 6/10 for the lack of originality.
I will keep looking forward to whatever they have next because what these debut MVs do show is that these girls are talented. Each member seems to be able to hold their own compared to other groups where some members feel unnecessary. They just need to break out of their 2ne1 meets Red Velvet mold.