I was surprised to hear BLACKPINK’s Rosé sing “Eyes, Nose, Lips” by BIGBANG’s TaeYang, her label-mate… because of how unstable and off-tune her voice sounded.
One of the reasons why 2NE1 disbanded is because Minzy – the girl group’s main dancer, lead vocalist, and youngest member – decided to leave YG Entertainment during her group’s ridiculously long, two-year hiatus.
Since YG singers, producers, song writers, etc. work under the strict restrictions of their “company” – which is run by brothers Yang Hyun-suk and Yang Min-suk (both of whom I’ll refer to as the “company” throughout this post) – they seldom see their ideas and dreams realized.
That’s why Minzy left YG, and why CL has either left the company or is most likely leaving the company soon. 2NE1’s members didn’t just suffer from their final group hiatus; they became tired of wishing for group and solo activities to happen (since everything from song and TV appearances have to be checked and approved by their bosses), and annoyed by the lack of support from their company whenever they were criticized (about their appearance, skills, behaviors, and thoughts).
2NE1 will probably reunite. I don’t know how soon, but it’ll probably happen for a YG Family Concert. And it’ll probably be one of the most popular “2nd gen.” K-Pop comebacks of that year.
Jisoo officially serves the visual role in YG Entertainment’s girl group, BLACKPINK.
In BLACKPINK’s latest comeback, she stole the spotlight and captured the hearts of many with her huge vocal improvement, versatile beauty, and powerful dance in the music video for “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”.
But few noticed how she has always exceeded the expectations of a visual even long before the group’s debut.
I decided to make a separate post about Jisoo because my tone is gonna be different for her. Despite how I wasn’t satisfied with BLACKPINK’s four new songs, I was super-duper impressed by Jisoo’s improvements.
When I saw the MV for “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”, I thought that Jisoo’s vocal lines really stood out to me. In my opinion, her voice sounds more pleasing than Rosé’s now, and more mesmerizing than Lisa and Jennie’s vocals.
I honestly thought that the “Square Up” album would have solo songs for each member to showcase their vocals. If the album was formatted like that, then I probably would’ve appreciated the album more.
Anyways, back to Jisoo… Her dancing has also drastically improved. Her dancing seems to compliment everyone else’s dancing now; the other three members have been pretty good dancers since their debut.
If Jisoo continues to improve herself as a YG performer, then she just might exceed 2NE1’s Dara. I love Dara, but she (like ANY OTHER ARTIST), has flaws and weaknesses – she’s not a great dancer, but her visuals are one of the (and perhaps the ultimate) best in the K-Pop industry. Jisoo is often compared to Dara because of her stunning visuals, but also how she didn’t quite have strong vocals to showcase when she debuted. Both Dara and Jisoo really do justice to the visual role, and work hard to perfect themselves as performers.
A little bit about myself: I don’t consider myself a BLINK (a fan of BLACKPINK), but I do enjoy listening to some songs by BLACKPINK and other K-Pop artists. You have been warned.
BLACKPINK’s comeback didn’t impress me.
The first song I listened to was “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”, and of course I saw the MV on the release day. The song seemed very… bland and flat? I don’t know how else to describe it, but I just wasn’t feeling it. The MV seemed all over the place, and the color scheme was pretty simple – black and pink.
I was kinda hoping for BLACKPINK to release another ballad song different from “Stay”, but I was disappointed to find that no such song existed in the album.
Moreover, the album didn’t feel brand new. All of the songs had that familiar Western vibe. It’s almost as if Teddy and whoever else worked on the album’s four songs was trying to conglomerate Taylor Swift, J-Lo, Rihanna, Beyonce, Calvin Harris’ musical styles… Overall, the songs sound all over the place like “I Got A Boy” by SNSD, yet seem strong enough to compete in the Western music market. Also, since the producers tried to mix Oriental styles into the four tracks unsuccessfully, I thought that the producers were trying to go for a concept that’s similar to “Jai Ho” by PCD.
The comeback felt rushed. It’s as if YG and the producers were really pushing for Western concepts by making BLACKPINK’s “Square Up” mini-album a mix of EDM, Tropical House, and other familiar genres that Westerners are used to listening to. Lyrically, all four songs don’t really have any catchy or unique messages; the lyrics mostly focus on singing to the beat. At least they could make good shopping music.
Would I listen to BLACKPINK’s “Square Up” tracks again? Most likely not. “Square Up”, in my opinion, has got to be their worst album. If I had to rank the songs, I’d say that “Forever Young” is the best, followed by “See U Later”, and then “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” and “Really” are tied for last place.
BLACKPINK’s best song to date is “Stay” because of the song’s interesting usage of harmonica, the shift between sad and happy tones from bridges to choruses, and the good balance between soft-spoken rapping and emotional singing.
If YG were to release a second music video for BLACKPINK, it’d be for the song “Forever Young”. I saw the live performance for “Forever Young” on YouTube, and the choreography for that song is so much better than the choreography for “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”. Plus, the song is quite catchy (minus the Oriental music at the end of the song).
Red Velvet – a South Korean K-Pop girl group – recently performed at North Korea.
North Koreans, and Kim Jong-Un, loved the performance much to Red Velvet and the world’s surprise!
Of all the cultural exchanges that have to be evaluated and approved by the Kim regime, why K-Pop? Why Red Velvet? Why are they allowed to gain exposure in North Korea – a country that punishes its citizens for accessing foreign entertainment, especially South Korean stuff.
It’s the “Red Flavor”.
Yeah, I’m referring to Red Velvet’s song “Red Flavor”. Go listen to it below if you’ve never heard of it.
“Red Flavor” is one of Red Velvet’s many songs that give the girls a playful and delightful image. It’s easier for guys and girls to enjoy Red Velvet’s presence and music than those of other popular K-Pop singers that have a powerful image.
Also, maybe Kim Jong-Un isn’t too comfortable showing K-Pop acts like “South Korea’s Beyonce”, Ailee, because he doesn’t want his citizens to feel powerful and autonomous?
Aaannd, maybe North Koreans want to share their pride for their country with “Red Flavor”.
Synchronization and Asynchronization
Both synchronization and asynchronization have been characteristics of K-Pop, but synchronization has stood out the most.
Synchronization in K-Pop was influenced by Japanese pop (J-Pop).
Asynchronization is a characteristic that K-Pop has refined recently when their choreography became heavily influenced by that seen in Western music videos.
Order, unity, and harmony in K-Pop and Red Velvet’s choreography make them seem a bit more appealing to North Koreans than, I guess, listening to solo artists like Justin Bieber dance with total asynchronization with his dancers to electronic music.
Going back to my point about how Kim Jong-Un might not be comfortable with showing “powerful” music and entertainers to North Koreans yet, Red Velvet is a favorable candidate to Kim because they’re girls. Male acts in K-Pop generally have a masculine and strong image, although there are some cases where male acts have a “soft” and cute concept.
Imagine if BTS was invited to North Korea. If they performed “Not Today” to North Koreans, then either people are going to react with patriotism or feel autonomous. It’s a 50/50 I guess.
BTS is South Korea’s most popular K-Pop act ever. They’ve won American music awards and have been guests at American shows. The group’s style is kinda reminiscent of 90’s boy bands infused with some street hip hop style and various other unique music genres. It’s really hard to describe their style. If you listen to their other songs, you’ll see that each song and album are vastly different from each other.
North Koreans might not be ready for BTS’ creativity and messages behind their songs. The messages behind Red Velvet’s songs don’t really seem “deep”. (I don’t mean to come across as offensive towards Red Velvet.) Really, their songs are just simply “bops”.