April must be the holy month of comebacks. K-pop queens Blackpink have returned with another mini EP, which Blinks have been ravenous for since their last release in June 2018. The foursome consisting of Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo and Rose have been making headlines from the moment they debuted. This time does not seem any different, with them breaking records after records within a blink (pun intended!) of an eye!
Their new release, “Kill This Love”, features 5 tracks in total; 4 new songs and 1 remix of “Ddu Ddu Ddu”. Despite the slight disappointment of this being Blackpink’s third year into the industry with no full length album yet, there is always hype when it concerns these four feisty gals. Well, without further a-ddu ddu ddu, let the review begin!
“Kill This Love” is ever the bombastic anthem it is, to our delight. To be honest, there was slight fear that this would be yet another “Ddu Ddu Ddu”, which felt very lazy as a song by itself. However “Kill This Love” is exactly what we love the best about Blackpink; it’s loud, catchy and has an aura of badassery to it. The classic “Blackpink in your area!” chant makes a return as well, which we were estatic about. From the beginning alone, we can already see how Blackpink brings a new sound to the table but with strong reminders of their initial influences.
Despite having a similar structure to “Ddu Ddu Ddu”, the new elements and instruments added to the song gives it much dimension. The track’s use of brass and drums gives us the feeling of this being a battle cry, almost. The lyrics speak of a ending a toxic relationship, which is a far better colour on the girls than the message of “Playing With Fire”. In a way, it highlights Blackpink’s maturity; both lyrically and musically. “Kill This Love” probably has the most English that Blackpink has used in a Korean song as well, which is an interesting note as previously this was only evident on Japanese versions of their older songs. Perhaps this is their company slowly opening up more doors into the world of Western music. After all, these girls are Coachella performers now!
The music video itself was just a work of art. Clearly having the budget to blow on sets, the girls look even more expensive than they already do when paired with aesthetically pleasing backgrounds and designer clothing. However there was a bit of controversy being sparked with Lisa’s choice of hairstyle. In her rap scene, the 22 year old is seen sporting box braids – a hairstyle that is deeply rooted in African culture. Not surprisingly, fans voiced their disappointment over Twitter – resulting in a discussion about cultural appropriation.
However with the little control K-pop artists have over the concepts (and more than often, the outfits and styles) they are given, this may have been more of a management issue than it is with the artists themselves. Fans have settled with messaging Blackpink’s official hair and makeup staff member about education on the topic itself, especially considering how they are going to American soon. Blinks were concerned that lack of research on such issues like these might cause unnecessary hate towards the girl group, even more so at a festival as big as Coachella.
“Don’t Know What To Do” starts off as an emotional pop song. However as the song progresses, it builds up to a club banger instead with the EDM in the chorus. The track feels like it has influences from Zedd, “Clarity” in particular. Especially paired with Foxes’ style of singing, the similarities can be drawn to a certain extent. The track is still scattered with Blackpink’s classic sound though, especially notable with the guitar. The club-like EDM isn’t a surprising route to find Blackpink on though, as Jisoo did happily cover “Clarity” during their tour earlier this year! The song has a rather unexpecting ending though, for something rather club driven.
“Kick It” is an interesting blend of a seemingly slow pace song with a heavy bass beat. We see bits of Blackpink’s country influences with the bits that feature Jisoo and Rose singing, very reminiscent of “Stay”. The emotion in the song does register as an honest track sung in a laid back manner. In a way, the track is rather confusing musically with its drastic switch ups. Somehow, the girls make it work, with the throbbing bass in the background.
“Hope Not”, the last original track of the EP, is starts off as an melancholic, youthful ballad. With Rose’s honey-like voice complementing Jennie’s sharp and crisp one; the two singers croon together with the other pair on back up vocals. When it’s time for a swap of roles, Jisoo and LIsa did an equally great job of singing their hearts out. The beauty of this song is that despite the weight it carries, it’s sung in such a delicate manner. Perhaps it’s to signify how heavy the pressure is that Blackpink face yet they continue to tread lightly, making sure they have proper footing before doing anything drastic. The song feels like a perfect farewell song at a concert, which we hope we’ll be able to see again soon next year!
The EP wraps itself up with a remix of last year’s anthem; Ddu Ddu Ddu. The remix actually is an interesting take on the song, completely removing the calamity in the form of electronica that started the song. Instead, we hear a rather chic beat that accompanies the verses and bridge, but they completely lost us in the chorus. The clanging of instruments was not something we expected, but the Skrillex-esque nightmare was probably inevitable when something has the word ‘remix’ slapped on it.
Nevertheless, while the track may not be something pleasant just to listen to— it makes us curious to think about the potential dance breaks that Blackpink would have come up with. When we apply that lens onto the chorus, suddenly it feels like something we can stomach better. Perhaps the remix is more of a performance that requires visual appreciation than being a purely auditory experience for now.
Overall, “Kill This Love” is a mixed bag. With a killer title track that finally brought what we’ve been wanting Blackpink to bring to the game, the rest of the EP pales to all of that. At this point though, we are hoping to see more variety from Blackpink, as most of their songs are starting to echo their former ones.
Perhaps all of this is an elaborate plan to utterly blow our socks off with their long awaited full length album? Only time will tell… and until then, we’ll be replaying this title track until it kills our love for it (though we’re pretty sure it won’t be anytime soon).
Review by Leyasheena Panicker.