Music Blackpink

Members of Blackpink at Sir Lucian Grainge's 2019 Artist Showcase Presented by Citi in Los Angeles on Feb. 9, 2019. The band released its new album, The Album, last week.

As the South Korean pop phenomenon continues to take the world by storm, the girl group Blackpink has finally released its long-awaited first full album, leading even more people to fall in love with the K-pop genre.

Since the four-member group’s debut in 2016, they’ve thrived on singles and short EPs, all of which reaped instant global success. The Album, which came out Oct. 2 and features eight tracks, was no different. In just the first few days after its release, most songs on the album had been played hundreds of millions of times around the world. Spotify shows there are some 28 million Blackpink monthly listeners.

The song “Lovesick Girls” had the biggest streaming debut of the album, with the music video racking up 51 million views on YouTube within the first 24 hours and peaking at first place on the Billboard charts.

The Album features two previously released singles, “How You Like That?” and “Ice Cream,” a collaboration with American pop artist Selena Gomez. Seven of the eight songs are in mostly in Korean, with the exception of “Ice Cream,” which is entirely in English. Fans of American rapper Cardi B are especially excited about her role in “Bet You Wanna.”

Blackpink, formed by the South Korean label YG Entertainment, has been one of the most successful groups in the K-pop industry — perhaps even more popular than Big Hit Entertainment’s boy group BTS. Known for its empowering, anthem-style music, the group has three music videos with over 1 billion views on YouTube, the most by any K-pop artist, with “DDU-DU-DDU-DU” currently at 1.3 billion and “Kill This Love” with 1.05 billion.

Their debut song “Boombayah” hit

1 billion earlier this week. They also have some of the biggest video debuts ever, holding four of the top 10 most-viewed music videos within 24 hours of being released to YouTube. Their most successful video is for “How You Like That,” with 86.3 million views.

Blackpink really puts into meaning the statement “quality over quantity,” having taken over streaming platforms such as YouTube with their catchy songs and fiery music videos, despite having little output. Since 2016, the group has only put out two, four-track EPs, Square Up in 2018, and Kill This Love in 2019, with three additional singles in years prior. They’re also featured in the song “Sour Candy” on Lady Gaga’s new album, Chromatica, and have an album of the Japanese versions of all their songs.

The lack of output has drawn lots of attention and controversy from fans. Many complain that YG Entertainment is using Blackpink as a money-grabber and for clicks, while not properly using the girls’ talent. YG Entertainment has also been the subject of various lawsuits over alleged mistreatment of the group, including poor management and harsh treatment of the girls — an issue way too common in the K-pop industry. I think if the group were managed better and were able to release more music, it could be the biggest group in the world, not just within the K-pop scene.

While the album is incredible, and I’m shamelessly obsessed with the group, the new album has drawn criticism for good reason. Many, including myself, are disappointed to see collaborations with American artists, since K-pop aims to appeal to a more global audience. Some also claim the album is more “bubblegum pop” than the traditional anthem-type songs Blackpink is known for. Other fans were let down by the album’s length; they say eight songs feels like the bare minimum.

Still, despite all the criticism, the group continues to shatter streaming records with its music and videos. And as more and more people become K-pop fans, it’s inevitable they’ll also fall in love with Blackpink.

Lincoln Byrd is a senior at Santa Fe High School. Contact him at lincbyrd@gmail.com.

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