‘Square Up’ Is Proof: It’s Time to Join the BLACKPINK Revolution
Look, they said it themselves: BLACKPINK is the revolution.
It’s been approximately 84 years, give or take, but the fabulous foursome known as BLACKPINK – that’s Jennie, Rosé, Jisoo and Lisa – are not only in our area again, they’ve gone and razed our homes, set fire to our crops and let our livestock loose into the wild. (And bludgeoned us with their painfully adorable light sticks while doing so.)
“DDU-DU-DDU-DU” marks the long-awaited return of the South Korean girl group, and picks up right where we left off exactly one year ago with “As If Its Your Last”: the girls have a defined aesthetic, a sound, a style, and a clear mission to make us all whistle like a missile.
The track is more on the swaggy side than a full-on dance floor stormer – don’t worry, they’ve got some of those, too – making it a cross somewhere between the sound of “Whistle” and “Boombayah.” Their rapping has never sounded more aggressive and assured, and the beat drop is truly a slap across the face with that ddu-du ddu-du.
And this music video? This video, which is already breaking records after over 20 million views in less than a day? Where does one begin, really?
While Queen Lisa is, well, Queen Lisa – a s-t-a-r! – Jennie thoroughly steals the show, looking effortlessly cool while chomping down on some popcorn atop a motherfucking DISCO BALL TANK.
I mean, fuck.
In fact, she wanted to be up even higher: “The chandelier wasn’t as high up as I’d expected, so I asked for it to be raised up, and I rode it higher up than it was supposed to be. I wanted the thrill!” she said during the comeback press conference.
Question: when will Pink?
Oh, and that dance break-slash-mile-a-minute-montage of moments? The shopping bag fling? The BLACKPINK sword? THE DISCO BALL TANK ONCE AGAIN, FOR GOOD MEASURE? I seldom feel shaken, let alone stirred by most pop releases these days. But the way they’ve come at us like this? I have…thoroughly lost my mind.
The craziest part of all this is that “DDU-DU DDU-DU” is only one of four songs the girls released on Friday (June 15) as part of their first-ever mini-album, the Square Up EP…and it’s not even the best song of the bunch.
“Forever Young,” an us-against-the-world youth anthem (add it to a playlist with “Teenage Dream” and “Run Away With Me”!), plays like a Diplo ass-shaker that only grows exponentially more bonkers as it goes on – in the best way possible, obviously. (For some reason, Girls Aloud comes to mind with their similarly oddball aural assaults, a la “Waiting.”)
The song’s also the most quotable of the mini-collection: “Say life’s a bitch, but mine’s a movie.”
“Blackpink is the revolution,” the girls helpfully remind us before suddenly diving into the nastiest of breakdowns. “Whatta bum-bum, whatta bum bum!” What a what now? Who cares?! Just dance!
Need a breather? “Really” provides the album’s only chill moment, flexing with trendy Choice37-produced #SomethingMoreUrban trap hi-hats, summery synths and chopped vocals as the girls lay back and challenge their respective baes to prove their love. “F a love song, I need you to say it,” Lisa demands, presumably while buffing her nails with a Louboutin stiletto. (Do not fuck with Lisa.)
Assuming their boys fail their love test, as all boys are objectively dumb, there’s “See U Later,” a brilliant kiss-off that alternates between a nostalgic, strumming pulse in the verses and jaw-dropping EDM drops crafted by R. Tee and 24: “Woulda, coulda, shoulda…didn’t.” Boom. (Bayah.) The sheer attitude!
“See ya lata, maybe…nevah!”
The fact is, this group is carrying the torch passed off by our beloved, dearly departed 2NE1. And in many ways, YG is shaping them – super slowly, but surely – to be the rightful heirs to the throne as the leaders of the pack, from their aggressive attitude (fuck a cute concept, bitch!) to their raucous brand of EDM-laced hip-pop – updated to 2018 production standards, of course.
And while charts, sales and streams are the least important factors in determining what’s actually good, and crossing over isn’t necessarily the goal for international acts, it’s clear from the pandemonium that these girls are going global, regardless – quite possibly more than any Korean girl group has ever gone before.
Blink now, and you won’t miss it.
Square Up was released on June 15. (iTunes)
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