The Album by Blackpink: Review

BLACKPINK IN YOUR AREA.

okayokayokay there is a LOT I want to say, but I want to keep this concise. Blinks, we have been waiting AGES for this, so let’s jump right into the track-by-track review!

How You Like That

This is definitely a really strong opening track to Blackpink’s first full-length album. It’s classically Blackpink in a lot of ways—there’s a good mix of both Korean and English, a fun Lisa rap, a bangin’ outro, random syllables thrown into the song because why not... It was almost too formulaic for me when I first heard it, and I word vomited a four page-long Google Doc drawing similarities between “HYLT” and “DDU-DU DDU-DU”, which I think is Blackpink’s best single, and potentially best song, to date. I’ll spare you the word vomit here, because lots of people on YouTube have drawn those similarities by now (both for the song itself and for the music video), but you can check it out for yourself if you’d like.

I thought the song was, again, too formulaic when I first heard it, and a little boring for me (I’ve been waiting for a Blackpink track that will make me feel the way “DDU-DU” makes me feel every time I hear it), but it’s seriously grown on me and is definitely a staple Blackpnk track in my opinion now.

While I do think “HYLT” is a strong opening track to The Album, and it makes more sense as the opener than any other song on The Album, the fact that it was released so long ago (June 26, 2020—which, in quarantine time, feels like four years ago instead of four months ago) makes it seem a little too avant-garde compared to the rest of the album? The only other track on the album that I feel is similar in tone and experimental instrumentation is “Crazy Over You” which… I’m not crazy over. But all in all, yes. Good song.

Favorite lyric: I like Lisa’s rap! Apart from that, I don’t speak Korean (yet… working on it), so I had to look up the translation. I really like the pre-chorus, which, when translated, reads: “Again, in this dark place, light up the sky / While looking into your eyes, I’ll kiss you goodbye / Laugh all you want while you still can / Because it’s about to be your turn, one, two, three”

Favorite musical moment: I didn’t like the outro at first, but now I think it’s so fun!

Ice Cream (with Selena Gomez)

KEEP IT MOVIN LIKE MY LEASE UP THINK YOU FLY BOY WHERE YOUR VISA MONA LISA KINDA LISA NEEDS AN ICE CREAM MAN THAT TREATS HER

A BOP. This is definitely not something I expected from Blackpink when I heard it for the first time, and I wasn’t sure how their voices would fit with Gomez’s, but I am such a fan of both Blackpink and Selena Gomez. I think it really works for what it is. Lots of people were complaining that there wasn’t much depth or substance to the lyrics, but like… why does it have to have depth of substance? “Ice Cream” is a fun, flirty song that I’ve had lots of fun blasting in the car as I hung onto the last few days of summer. Honestly, I can’t help but bop around when I hear this song. I do wonder how they’re going to sing the pre-chorus live, though? The only way I can is if I’m screeching.

Side note: So proud of Jisoo for speaking English in this song!!! Hearing this song made me realize that a lot of this album might be in English (I was right), and for their first song that’s probably over 90% in English, it’s great.

Favorite lyric: Again, KEEP IT MOVIN LIKE MY LEASE UP THINK YOU FLY BOY WHERE YOUR VISA MONA LISA KINDA LISA NEEDS AN ICE CREAM MAN THAT TREATS HER

Favorite musical moment: I really like the melodies of the verses!

Pretty Savage

This is definitely one of my favorite songs on The Album. The Album is off to a strong start with the first two tracks, and this song keeps the party going 100%. “Pretty Savage” is the trappy anthem I need for walking my dog and pretending I’m in a music video in the morning to get me hyped up for the day.

By the way, I LOVE the references to “DDU-DU DDU-DU” in this song, and it makes me wonder if this song has been in the vault ever since “DDU-DU” was released back in 2018 or if Blackpink is just referencing the banger track.

“Pretty Savage” has everything I wanted: passes the vibe check, makes subtle jabs at haters (Lisa says, “born skinny bitch” in reference to the constant stream of negative comments she gets about her weight), really chill outro… “Pretty” and “savage” seem to juxtapose each other, but so do the colors black and pink. The girls are showing us again that two seemingly opposite characteristics of what women “should” be like are actually able to not only exist in the same person, but often work in tandem to create a BOSS.

Favorite lyric: “We some bitches you can’t manage” (like yeah, you can call us that but you can’t manage us) and If you mad, stay mad / We not alike” (I know that the “Favorite lyric” section of each song review involves a Lisa line but it’s not my fault that she gets the best lines)

Favorite musical moment: Man, when the beat comes in for the first time… dang. I also love when the girls’ (namely Rosie’s & Jennie’s) voices go up right before each chorus on the word “saVAGE.”

Bet You Wanna (feat. Cardi B)

“Bet You Wanna” was probably one of my least favorite songs on The Album, but it’s now a go-to. At first, I really couldn’t stand the chorus, and I thought the lyrics were really bad. But this is also a really enjoyable song! For the girls’ fully English song, they do really, really well. The chorus soars, to match the line, “Something ‘bout me’s taking you higher,” and the song overall is just easy listening.

I do wish the song was longer (this song is only 2:39 long), and that the girls took verse 2 / Cardi took the bridge instead of giving Cardi verse 2 and singing a very short bridge. But the Cardi verse is fun—I think it’s cute that she says, “Turn on ‘Please Me,’ but don’t ever play me,” in reference to her 2019 collab with Bruno Mars.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the next singles (even though I think “Love To Hate Me” deserves it… more on that later), given that it’s a collaboration with one of the biggest rap stars in the world.

Favorite lyric: I’m not a huge fan of the lyrics, but I like the first verse!

Favorite musical moment: Rosé’s ad libs in the last chorus!! Yes!!!!! One of the best parts of the whole album.

Lovesick Girls

Shameless plug, here’s a reaction video I posted the day The Album was released and this video was released:

Before I talk about the song, I do want to say that I think it would have made more sense for “How You Like That” to be the lead single / title track of The Album. Yes, it was the first song that came out from this album, but like I said before, it came out what seems like ages ago at this point, and “Lovesick Girls” is more likely to be considered the single that’s closest associated with The Album. Even though “How You Like That” is sort of more “out there” musically, it is, again, sort of more classically Blackpink in my opinion, and a song that I think more people have latched onto than “Lovesick Girls.”

Now, onto the actual song, “Lovesick Girls.” I say all of the following in the above reaction video (which you should totally check out because I spent a lot of time on it thanks), but I like the song. I like that it’s quite different from everything else they’ve done so far, and that it’s sort of anthem-y. Lots of “Shout Out To My Ex” by Little Mix (another girl group I LOVE) vibes, especially with the scenes of the convertible in the desert and the unison singing in the chorus.

It’s not one of my favorites on the album, but it’s not a bad song. There are wins and losses that both exist on this one track: love Lisa & Jennie’s rap verse but don’t understand the “we were born to be alone” thing, love the bridge but the outro is weak, etc.

Side note: I’m actually really surprised that the original scene with Jennie as both the nurse and the patient was replaced! Apparently, it was seen as offensive to nurses? But honestly, have y’all seen Halloween in America?? Anyway, you can see the original scene in my *REACTION VIDEO* :D

Favorite lyric: Loooove the Lisa/Jennie rap verse:

“No love letters, no X and O’s
No love, never, my exes know
No diamond rings, that set in stone
To the left, better left alone
Didn’t wanna be a princess, I’m priceless
A prince not even on my list
Love is a drug that I quit
No doctor could help when I’m lovesick”

I also really love the bridge, not necessarily the English lyrics but the way Rosie & Jisoo sing it (the following is with translation):

“Love is slippin’ and fallin’
Love is killin’ your darlin’
That fearless thrill returns once the pain subsides
Can’t hear what you say
I’m happy with this pain
You pity me, but I pity you more for pitying me”

(wow I just noticed that Jisoo’s last line is all about pity, and her favorite English sentence is, “That’s a pity” LOL—go to 2:16 of this video)

Favorite musical moment: I think I’m a fan of everything except the chorus and outro, which is too bad because the chorus is… the main part of the song.

Crazy Over You

SOUND THE ALAAAAAAAARMS

This track is… interesting. It’s a bunch of different things, that’s for sure.

“Crazy Over You” is definitely more avant-garde than “How You Like That.” I think there are parts of the song that I do like a lot, notably the verses. But there are a bunch of things about this song that I’m not a huge fan of, like the intro, and the pre-chorus, and chorus, and the squeaking noises, and the flute sample… Like, why is the e-e-e-e necessary? It’s not.

I just feel like there are probably other songs in their library that this song could’ve been swapped out for. It’s not a terrible song but it’s one that I tend to skip sometimes.

Side note: Doesn’t Rosé’s little “ah-ah ah-ah ah-ah” remind you of that thing in the Wizards of Waverly Place theme song?? Listen for yourself: Go to 2:27 of “Crazy Over You” and listen to 0:47 of this video.

No? Just me? Never mind.

Favorite lyric: “I’ve been known to kiss and tell / Send girls to wishing wells / If you’re my man, I want you to myself / I know I’ll have enemies / Long as you’re into me / But I don’t care ’cause I got what I need”

Favorite musical moment: I like the feel of the outro! I’m not too crazy about the words but the outro is fun.

Love To Hate Me

YESSSSSSS WHAT A BOP. LISA MANOBAN CALL ME STUPID D’:

This has got to be one of my favorites on the entire album. There are so many things that work super well about this song.

For starters, I think that the lyrics in this song are some of the best on the whole album. I honestly don’t think there’s a line in this song that I don’t like. I also am a huge fan of the buildup in the refrain to a super lowkey pre-chorus (from “no drama in my life” to “wake up, yeah”). The pre-chorus is so, “Yeah, I’m unbothered.”

I also like how Jennie and Rosé sing “liiiiiiife” in the last line of the refrain, and I think this might be one of Lisa’s best raps in the past few years. The song overall is really strong in my opinion, and I hope it gets more recognition.

Favorite lyric: ALL THE LYRICS.

Favorite musical moment: Again, I love the buildup in the refrain to the pre-chorus, and I also really like the instrumental behind Lisa’s rap!

You Never Know

I hate to say it… but I skip this one almost all the time. I understand that this is probably meant to be the “STAY” / “Hope Not” of this album, but it falls flat for some reason. Maybe because there are plenty of other artists who have made “you-wouldn’t-judge-me-if-you-were-in-my-shoes” songs? I also think that the “The more I do, I’ma shine, baby” part in the chorus sticks out and seems sort of weirdly place. The only thing I do like is the fact that Jisoo finally starts a song. Maybe if you, reader, find that you don’t like the song either, you can tell me why I might not like this song, haha. It also just seems like a weird way to end the album—I understand why they would want to include a song like this on the album, but I think it would have been really nice to end the album with a song about unity or sisterhood. Something like “The Cure” by Little Mix would have been awesome.

Favorite lyric:Sunday night, I’ve been swallowed by my bed / I’ve been all over my head” (relatable)

Favorite musical moment: I like the chord progression in the chorus? That’s pretty much it, haha.

Final Thoughts

None of my criticism is directed towards the girls, because I know they work extremely, extremely hard and are always trying to give their best to their fans. I do like this album, but I definitely was disappointed that it was so short. Yes, it’s technically their first full-length album, but two of the tracks on The Album were released months before the full album was released, so we were really only getting six new songs. I guess I was disappointed but not surprised, given YG’s track history of being unexplainably limited and selective in what they have Blackpink release. There are songs that I really like on here, but I actually feel like the Kill This Love EP was a really good, well-curated mix of high-quality songs that I tend to revisit more. I’m not sure how often I will revisit certain songs on The Album, notably “Crazy Over You” and “You Never Know” months from now. I guess time will tell! Thanks for reading :)

Lover of Jesus, music, and people. Discovering how to better analyze and appreciate music one track at a time.

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Cat Cheng

Cat Cheng

Lover of Jesus, music, and people. Discovering how to better analyze and appreciate music one track at a time.

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