October 02, 2020
(YG Entertainment)The K-Pop group unleash an intense 24-minute bombardment of killer hooks and snappy detailing – but it’s a shame the lyrical topics are so narrow
Blackpink: The Album review | Alexis Petridiss album of the week
In some benighted corners of the internet, the big news a couple of weeks ago was the latest battle in the ongoing war between fans of South Korean boyband BTS and fans of fellow K-pop stars Blackpink. Ever-vigilant for perceived slurs against their idols, the BTS Army took exception to an innocuous remark made by Blackpink’s Jennie Kim about paving the way for other K-pop acts: apparently she should have mentioned that BTS were successful overseas prior to Blackpink. Cue much mutual abuse being slung and pleas for calm from more level heads, fruitlessly invoking feminist solidarity and the grim spectre of online bullying.
You can see where the rivalry has come from. Barely four years on from their debut release, Blackpink seem to be repeating BTS’s boundary-breaking success, racking up commercial achievements that would once have been unthinkable for a non-Anglophone artist. They are currently the most-followed girl group on Spotify and the most-subscribed band on YouTube. Just as BTS’s success drew artists from Ed Sheeran to Nicki Minaj into their orbit, so The Album features guest appearances by David Guetta, Selena Gomez and Cardi B, the co-author of WAP finding herself in more prim company than usual. The metaphors of Ice Cream aside – “you’re the cherry piece, so stay on top of me” – the closest The Album comes to the mention of sex is Bet You Wanna’s reference to a gentleman keen to give the song’s narrator something mysteriously called “an all-night hug”.
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