The South Korean group Blackpink has finally debuted their first full-length album, titled The Album. It includes a total of eight songs, including a collaboration with singer Selena Gomez in “Ice Cream,” and a surprise collaboration with rapper Cardi B in “Bet You Wanna.”
The Album was released October 2, 2020. The songs are unmistakably pop, while liberally drawing on EDM and hip-hop, with bits of South Asian beats. The mixing of genres is a signature of K-pop music, which Blackpink does extremely well.
The music video for “How You Like That” broke the record for the most viewed YouTube video in a 24-hour period with a total of 86.3 million views on the day it premiered, while also breaking three and setting two Guinness World Records. The four members, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa successfully deliver versatility across both musical genres and aesthetics.
Along with the release of The Album, Blackpink also released a documentary film called, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky. The documentary film premiered on Netflix on October 14, 2020, and covers the four years since the group’s debut in 2016. The documentary includes footage from their training days, behind-the-scenes stories, looks of their home lives, and interviews with each member of the group.
The director of the film, Caroline Suh, hopes that the documentary “humanizes all of the Blackpink members and that people can kind of see them as three-dimensional people rather than just these idols or icons.” Seen this way, the documentary manages to offer a welcome reminder that even for K-pop’s reigning queens, all that glitters isn’t always gold.
The K-pop group’s fans, affectionately known as “Blinks,” tend to focus on the glitz and glam that the girls demonstrate throughout their careers. Yet the documentary shows the sacrifices and stresses placed on these young women to achieve the success they dreamed of.
Kassandra Chuquilla, a senior attending Chicopee Comprehensive High School commented on this much-anticipated release for fans of K-pop. “The documentary was eye-opening and endearing in the way the film emphasized each member’s individuality,” Chuquilla said.
For Chuquilla, the documentary provides an endearing back-story to the creation of The Album. “The girls had spoken about the challenges of their debut and the sacrifices they had to make in order to become successful,” she said. Chuquilla also values the film for the glimpse it offers “behind the scenes of their first hand experiences.” A devoted “Blink,” Chuquilla became a fan when Blackpink first debuted. She supported the group from the beginning and watched as the girls became a global phenomenon.
While Blackpink receives the utmost support from their devoted “Blinks,” there are some who feel that The Album is incomplete. The album release made some fans and “K-pop stans” feel as though the eight tracks barely kicked in before the party was over. The Album leaves you wanting more: more experimentation, more grit, and more than eight songs.
Former graduate of Chicopee Comprehensive High School Kaylee Santiago shared this sentiment. “Although the album had major bops, I just felt like they could have had some raw ballads in the album as well,” Santiago said. “There were too many of the up-tempo songs, and not enough of the sad ballads to counteract the setup of the album… It felt like songs were missing from the album, which disappointed me.”
Many fans like Santiago strongly feel that the girls focused mainly on the upbeat and EDM style, while leaving out the soulful ballads the members usually stick to.
Although people credit Blackpink for the lack of ballads in the album, many feel that the members purposely left fans on the edge of their seats as a signal that they had more schemes and surprises in store for them.
The Album is Blackpink’s first studio album. The members are trying to portray a more mature aspect of the group through singing not only about love, but also about diverse emotions experienced by girls growing up.
The song “Bet You Wanna,” which is a collaboration with rapper Cardi B, is an upbeat song with lyrics about promising your significant other a good time. Although Cardi B does not seem like a likely K-pop collaborator, her rap verse flows perfectly with Blackpink’s vocals.
“Pretty Savage” is exactly how it sounds–a song calling out Blackpink’s haters, with lyrics about how the success of the group was different from everyone else’s. The track includes strong beats and raps from Lisa and even Jisoo, who usually only does vocals.
Angiee Chuquilla, another “Blink,” finds a number of Blackpink’s songs relatable. “My favorite song on the album would definitely be ‘Lovesick Girls,’ because the lyrics from the songs state that the girls were ‘born to be alone’–which, to me, signaled a loss of a relationship. It’s as though they were not letting the hardship of a fallout from a relationship… affect them anymore because they are much stronger than they were before.”
The Album serves up a dazzling palette of the group’s trademark colors, but also includes a spectrum of shades in between. If “black” represents a darker, more edgy side of the four artists, and “pink” represents a brighter, kinder side, then the girls do an amazing job in expressing it through the album.