By Natasha Mulenga
Blackpink’s The Album has finally arrived, and it feels like a long time coming. Though they’re the most-followed K-pop girl group on Instagram, the first Korean girl group to perform at Coachella, and the group whose music video for “How You Like That” garnered a record-breaking 86.3 million views in its first day, it’s hard to believe that The Album’s eight tracks make up the quartet’s first full-length Korean-language album since they debuted in 2016.
But since they dropped their 2018 Japanese-language album Blackpink in Your Area and teamed up with Lady Gaga on the dance-pop “Sour Candy” earlier this year, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa have plotted a course for this very moment. The Album shines. Mixing genres is a natural occurrence in K-pop, so it comes as no surprise that Blackpink’s latest project — out today (October 2) — draws from EDM, trap, and hip-hop, with a drizzle of South Asian beats and a dollop of pop rock. The only two collaborations are extremely high-profile; Selena Gomez brings the sweetness on “Ice Cream,” and Cardi B — whose “Bardipink in your area” tweet set a tone of excitement earlier this week — lets loose on “Bet You Wanna.”
Let there be no doubt: This is very much a confident pop album that Blinks will be satisfied with. And it’s got a song for every mood. Below, we break down how The Album can soundtrack your life.
“How You Like That”
Listen to it when: you need a confidence boost
Key Lyrics: “Those dark days when I was trapped / You should have ended me when you still have a chance”
“How You Like That” is a song that positively oozes with sass, and with lyrics about finding self-love in the face of those who might enjoy your downfall, it’s a helpful self-esteem boost for anyone who has been in a dark place. The track starts off soft and vulnerable, only for the chorus to arrive with a powerful beat drop. “How You Like That” lets you know that you are in for an audacious ride.
“Ice Cream” (ft. Selena Gomez)
Listen to it when you’re feeling: flirtatious
Key Lyrics: “Even in the sun, you know I keep it icy / You could take a lick, but it's too cold to bite me”
Just like the title suggests, the song is sugar, spice, naughty, and nice! But what else would you expect from a track co-written by Ariana Grande and Victoria Monét, among others? Fittingly, “Ice Cream” makes many light, tasty dessert metaphors: Blackpink are approaching their guys with grown-women energy and are not being shy in their approach of what they want.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: brazen
Key Lyrics: “Yeah, we some bitches you can’t manage”
Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo, and Rosé are making it very clear that they aren’t bothered by what people think of them. In fact, they find the criticism laughable and are not pulling any punches as they curse at their haters. “Pretty Savage” makes it clear that you can call out their weight, popularity, and attitudes all you like. You are the one with the problem.
“Bet You Wanna” (ft. Cardi B)
Listen to it when you’re feeling: seductively cute
Key Lyrics: “From the club to the tub, you said you wanna / Give me an all-night hug, I bet you wanna”
“Bet You Wanna” is a seductive, come-hither track carefully disguised as a carefree bop that you’ll want to have playing in the background as you get ready for a night out — whenever we can safely do that again. The girls slyly sing about “all-night hugs” and wanting to be taken to “paradise,” which leaves listeners understanding their flirty sex appeal amid a PG setting. Cardi even toned down her verse, but the intent is still there: “Grab my waistline, but don't ever waste me,” she raps.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: heartbroken and needing to dance
Key Lyrics: “Didn't wanna be a princess, I'm priceless / A prince not even on my list / Love is a drug that I quit”
This bass-heavy electro-pop song finds the four members singing about the fact that they were “born to be alone” while lamenting the loss of a relationship. They appear to be dancing on the borders of two of the five stages of grief, anger and denial, but who hasn’t gone through those emotions when going through a breakup?
“Crazy Over You”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: possessive
Key Lyrics: “I know I have enemies / Long as you’re into me / But I don’t care ‘cause I got what I need”
All’s fair in love and war, and here, the ladies of Blackpink are preparing for battle over their love interests. They also don’t care if they make enemies, or in Lisa’s words, if you think they are “loco.” They what they want, and on this dizzying carousel of a pop gem, they’re going to get it.
“Love To Hate Me”
Listen to it when you’re: not stressing about the haters
Key Lyrics: “Stressing over nothing, baby relax / Why you getting angry? I’ma kick back / Only thing I think about is big stacks”
“Love To Hate Me” is a no-nonsense song about dealing with a jealous, “stupid” ex who see your success as a threat instead of a celebration. Just like every song on this album, Blackpink’s intentions are clear: “You ain’t worth my love if you only love to hate me.
“You Never Know”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: vulnerable
Key Lyrics: “The brighter that light gets, the longer my shadow becomes / Can I look back when it gets too bright?"
The Album ends with a heartfelt ballad, as Blackpink urge listeners to have tolerance and empathy on what’s probably the most emotional song of the eight. They may be the most popular girl group at the moment, but there are days when things get overwhelming, and as they remind us, you will never know what they have been through. The song ends with triumph but serves as a reminder that we all need to be careful before we pass judgment on anyone.