Four days have passed since the highly anticipated comeback of BLACKPINK and they did not disappoint as shown by the masses of support for the girls, leading them to even break their own records set last year with ‘As If It’s Your Last‘. They built up a reputation of dominating the charts, both domestic and international – and that was before they had their own album.
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Leading with the theme of their previous releases, the title of the album was revealed to be ‘Square Up‘. It offered up an indication that they were gearing up to fight, conquer and to reclaim their spot on the charts as if they had never left. While fans were left with the bittersweet feelings of the album only containing 4 tracks, including the double title songs ‘DDu Du DDu Du‘, ‘Forever Young‘ and also ‘Really‘ and ‘See U Later‘, it teases fans on just a glimpse of what the girls can do. It may keep their fans sated for the time being while they promote this album, though only time will tell over what BLACKPINK’s next move on the chessboard will be.
DDu Du DDu Du
“Black to the Pink, we’re pretty and savage”
The immediate thoughts that popped in my mind after the first listen of this song was that it seemed to be a mashup of ‘Whistle‘ and ‘Boombayah‘ – combination equals a winning title track that instantly won over the Korean public, leading BLACKPINK to be the first girl group to achieve a PAK following the chart reform. Looking at the song title and once the M/V teaser was released, it was revealed to imitate gun sounds, which is symbolic to the nature of the album title ‘Square Up‘. It could be argued to be their most aggressive song to date, bringing forward the member’s individual strengths together to create this earworm track. They don’t hold back in the slightest, not just in this song but over the course of the rest of the album.
There’s been some theories circling over the music video and the various scenes that take place, for instance with the first of Rosé’s solo parts, the two versions of herself could show the contrast between how she may see herself and how others perceive her. It was confirmed that her part was inspired by a goddess theme, so it also could indicate as that they have been placed on a pedestal and are regarded as being ‘untouchable’ due to their status in the industry. Moving over to Jisoo’s second scene, she has been hailed for her visuals since their debut, furthermore this specific part depicts the public’s reactions, how one second they idolise and adore her and the next after a slip up, they turn on her in an instant. It plays on the mentality of when each person, who is now wearing a mask, thus hiding their own identities, feels confident in directly attacking her, which could hint at the concept of keyboard warriors. In terms of the choreography, it was the strongest during the chorus, and while BLACKPINK isn’t widely known for being having intense dance routines, I couldn’t help but feel there was something lacking with the dance in this song specifically.
“Blackpink is the revolution”
Next up on the tracklist is the first song featured in the teaser posters, the 15 second videos showcasing the upbeat chorus that would suit the upcoming summer. ‘Forever Young‘ provides yet another strong candidate for a club song that incorporates the best of both worlds with the ‘black’ and ‘pink’ concepts that has practically integrated into the girls’ music since their debut. It’s the latter part of the track that surprised me as there was a sudden shift, almost like it did a 180 on us, as the Middle-Eastern inspired trap music ends the song, which could imply that the party never ends with BLACKPINK. It was recently brought to light that this was recorded before they have made their official debut back in 2015, which only shows a glimpse into how much work had gone into this 4 track piece album.
“If you kiss me once, I’ll kiss you twice
If you’re rudely forward then no no”
The pace slows down for the next song, there’s definite hints of pink concept, with the exception of Lisa’s English based rap verses. There’s a common theme of unapologetic confidence with the songs in this album, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind and to be direct. The message that the girls try to convey is that they want to know that the other person is truly genuine and being honest about their feelings. The beat of the song takes a gentle flow in contrast to the other three, it balances out the overall feel of the album especially if you want to listen to a more relaxed tune and it lets you takes a backseat for a brief moment before the last and final song.
See U Later
“The man that you are ain’t sh*t, even though I gave you all my heart”
The final song to close the chapter on their first album comes across as being a dismissal track to the disappointing boys in the form of a metaphorical middle finger. Even if there was any feelings of lingering heartbreak following the aftermath of the breakup, they aren’t anywhere to be found in the lyrics. They aren’t pulling any punches and certainly don’t mince their words. If anything, there’s only anger remaining in the place where their love used to be and as a result the girls don’t waste anymore time as they move on. Overall, it looks like the album has come full circle, or square in this case – with BLACKPINK hitting those boys out of their lives with that ‘DDu Du DDu Du’.
And that concludes our review of ‘Square Up‘, it’s been a fun ride and we’ll be looking forward to seeing the live performances of the songs during the award show season. The girls offered up a great selection of tracks, adding up their list of songs to a grand total of 9. We hope to hear more of BLACKPINK’s music, though maybe much sooner than waiting another year. What were your thoughts on the album? Let us know in the comments!