Review: A look into the most awaited Kpop album: The Album

Is the hype for the girl group’s first album worth it?

The cover for

Photo BLACKPINK

The cover for “The Album,” BLACKPINK’s widely anticipated first album.

Pim Kruthun, Staff Writer

The long-awaited album from the global girl group BLACKPINK is here. Iconically titled, The Album, it is the first album of the 4-year-old group, consisting of eight songs. Fans have anticipated a full album since the group’s debut in 2016, always urging the company to release more music and constantly supporting BLACKPINK.

In the past 4 years, they have only released four consecutive EPs, yet somehow have climbed their way to global stardom. Nonetheless, many fans agree the album was worth the wait. On a recent interview with the Grammys, member Rosé expressed her thoughts on releasing their first full album. “I think now is the best time to come out, because any later would be too late and any earlier, we might have been in a rush.” They revealed how they wanted to take their time creating the album for fans and make it as personal of a process as possible, in other words, quality over quantity.

The album has sold over 1.5 million units and currently #1 on iTunes music charts, recently debuting number 2 on the Billboard 200, number 1 on the Billboard Global charts, another number 1 on the Billboard 100 Artist chart, and as well as being the first Korean artist with a number 1 on Spotify’s album of the week. Is it as good as the numbers say? Here are my thoughts on The Album by BLACKPINK.

Starting with “How You Like That,” the album’s prerelease single, and probably one of my favorite tracks. The song is an influence of many genres but mainly a battle between Trap and Pop, it is a song that makes me feel empowered. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the chorus mixture with the heavy bass carries a powerful feeling, and the bridge is a bone-chilling buildup to an energetic dance break and catchy chanting in the outro. I would give this track 9/10.

The second prerelease featuring Selena Gomez, “Ice Cream,” is probably the closest BLACKPINK will get to a bubblegum pop genre. I was not the biggest fan of the instrumentals, but I did enjoy the subtle bass drops in parts of the song. Some of the lyrics were written by Ariana Grande, so I did notice her influence in a few short verses. The vocals and catchy lyrics were probably the most memorable part for me.

The whole song is in English, excluding the rap which is a mixture, but mostly Korean. The rap lyrics were a little funky, though surprisingly fit well with the song. Aside from that, the outro was very fun to sing along to and is the best part for me; it’s truly the cherry on top. Clearly, “Ice Cream” was made to show the versatility of the group and I think it was executed well, I give this an 8/10.

To officially begin with the album’s title track and recent release, “Lovesick Girls,” a melodic pop song. Aside from the EDM chorus by David Guetta beautifully mixed with the acoustic pre-chorus, I really appreciate the message in this song as well. In this track, BLACKPINK crafted a meaning to love, more specifically, self-love.

“Lovesick Girls” tells the story of the different stages of love and in the end, love is not always worth it, and if you haven’t found love yet, that is okay, because we are strong and capable of loving ourselves. The lyrics resist societal norms and reassures all the young people venturing into life not to let absurd standards and expectations get to them. A large demographic of BLACKPINK’s audience consists of young women in their 20s that may feel rushed to find love and purpose in something, and I believe this message was especially a valuable one but can also be oriented for everyone. This song is a 10/10.

Next is a sidetrack, “Pretty Savage.” Judging from the lyrics, this song is most definitely a diss track, a clap back, a party song. The intro starts with a piano that is vastly different from the rest of the song and a sudden beat drop happens. The rest is a bassy sound with a hard beat and rapping, but during a singing verse, the mood turns soft and the tone becomes low and acoustic. Though there are some noisy parts, this song is supposed to be energetic after all, I enjoy the transitions and the way the song can evoke many feelings and the sudden tone changes in the vocals are chilling to listen to as well. This song is an 8/10.

The second sidetrack is the second collab on the album, “Bet You Wanna,” with rapper Cardi B. It has a 90s influence, and the lyrics are repetitive, but I enjoy the different ranges they sing in this song, the adlibs and high notes, which are truly the most memorable parts of the song. One letdown has to be the emptiness in the rap, I don’t think it really fit well with the vibe of the song and I believe it could’ve been better without it. I have to give this track a 7/10.

Up next is “Crazy for You,” another one of my favorite tracks on The Album. I absolutely love the instrumentals in this pop/hip hop song, with a Middle Eastern influence. This sound was popular in pop songs in the early 2000s, and it gives me throwback vibes. The rap flow is super attractive in this song and is one of the best outros in Kpop I have ever heard. All in all, the mini vocal run at the end really does it for me. Yes, 10/10.

Next, “Love to Hate Me,” a slow tempo song with a vocal build-up. The pre-chorus has a husky tone that I think flows well with the instrumental, but ultimately what puts this song at the top of my list is the rap, and the technique, the first thing that came into my mind while listening to the rap verse was Eminem. I love the hip hop sound in this track, and it is something you must listen to yourself to know why I am rating this track a 10/10.

Finally, “You Never Know,” this ballad made me tear up before I could even look up the lyrics’ translation. Although not explicitly told, the lyrics hold personal meaning to them it seems. It tells a story of the sorrows of stardom, but the feeling of being misunderstood is something everyone can feel; so I think this is why this song hits close to home for me and for the fans as well.  There is a melancholic piano that you can hear blend in with their sad voices, it keeps a simplistic style but is a sensational listen. It is a 10/10.

Overall, I had a blast with this album, I think it is versatile and is made for everyone of all music taste to dip their toes in, partly due to the girls of BLACKPINK also experimenting with different sounds during the creative process. As for me, there were no skips from this album. I really liked the influences in some of the songs as well, like the early 2000s, and it made me feel almost nostalgic. This album evokes different emotions with every track and even many emotions in one. I think it was an astounding first album and will look forward to their second. So was The Album worthy of topping charts and sales? Most definitely for me.