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Blackpink initially emerged almost 6 years ago, with the K-pop girl group racking up billions of views, selling countless merch, and even playing in 2019’s Coachella festival—a first for such an act. In June of 2020, their taunting track of “How You Like That” got more than 80 million views within the span of 24 hours. However, the quartet’s quick ascent into stardom is coming in at a moment where their approach seems to be out of place in comparison to the pop music industry’s prevailing trends.
The album, aptly named The Album, features guest performances by Cardi B, Selena Gomez, and Ed Sheeran. The WAP co-author might have found herself in a more austere setting than usual, setting aside the sexual innuendos and metaphors in “Ice Cream,” where the narrator asks their partner to stay on top of them like a cherry piece. The closest sex reference in The Album is about a gentleman who seems to want to give the narrator an “all-night hug.”
Being one of the only K-pop groups whose popularity blew up on an international scale right after BTS, it’s unsurprising that fans compare their music and get into arguments about it. BTS’s Map of the Soul was an entire blockbuster, with 75 minutes of uninterrupted heavenly music and its release followed by a global public art project featuring Tomás Saraceno and Antony Gormley. Compared to that, The Album’s 24 minutes of audio and lack of solar-powered hot air balloons seems a bit underwhelming.
The only massive thing about the album is the packaging. The bundle of album swag comes in at a whopping $180, featuring a regular CD, signed art cards, luxury box sets for the CD, and cassette versions for the fans stuck in the 90s.
The music itself is like a finely honed weapon in the rap-pop part of the music industry, making many western musicians’ efforts seem wan in comparison. You can’t spend a single second without being in the presence of a catchy tune that you’ll struggle to erase from your mind for the rest of the day.
While The Album has extremely high-quality control and big western names working on the album, the lyrics leave listeners unsatisfied due to the lack of any overarching concept. Overall, the album is impressive, if a bit depthless.
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