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.
I’m not an Ariana Grande fan, so I’m surprised that I found myself enjoying this song yesterday.
So, without further ado, here are my honest opinions about Ariana Grande and her latest song, “No Tears Left To Cry”:
I know that Ariana Grande’s voice and music have been compared to Mariah Carey’s, and that she’s criticized for being a “rude diva”. I don’t really follow celebrity news, but I’ve heard those things about her from comments on YouTube and social media :-/.
I’ve heard some of her songs in the past (i.e. “The Way”, “Baby I”, “Right There”, etc. etc.), and understand people when they criticize about her “not-so-understandable pronunciations” when she sings.
I also know that her brother’s gay from an interview that her brother did of BTS :-/.
I’m not a fan of “Western music” because 1.) I’ve been too immersed in K-Pop, and 2.) I never really liked the “messages” behind Western music nor the happenings in the Western music industry.
The Western music industry seems to thrive on sexual behaviors, sexy images, illegal behaviors, rudeness, scandals, negative gossips, etc. etc. …
That’s why I’m such a huge K-Pop fan. Yeah, the K-Pop music industry shares the same negative things I mentioned about the Western music industry, and they bank on “enslaving” K-Pop artists. But on the bright side, the K-Pop music industry promotes a more positive image that includes politeness, cultural exchange and understanding, and friendly interactions between singers and fans.
The main reason why I gave “No Tears Left To Cry” a listen is because of BTS’ appearance in the Billboard Music Awards 2018. One of the nominees for Top Social Artist (I believe) was Ariana Grande, and she performed her song “No Tears Left To Cry” at the awards show. Her performance was okay to me, and I didn’t really get attached to the song yet. I also saw fan-cams of BTS enjoying Ariana Grande’s performance, so that’s cool.
I even saw the music video of “No Tears Left To Cry” when it was trending on YouTube. The song didn’t really catch my attention then either because the MV didn’t really look that interesting to me. Yeah, the MV was quite cinematic, but still…
So I gave the song another chance by just listening to the audio. And I gotta say that her voice sounds really crystal clear and the sound effects in the background are stunning (particularly, that strange low whistle during the chorus sounds unusually great).
I don’t really know what kind of message is behind this song, or if this song really says anything meaningful. But from what I’ve heard in the YouTube comments, this song is “dedicated” to the victims of her Manchester concert bombing. I don’t really know if that’s true, but for sure she did comeback with this song after the bombing happened.
The song sounds catchy for a Victoria’s Secret runway show and malls. Heck, this song makes me feel like a fashionista.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem like the song has a specific choreography to go with it. (Or maybe the Billboard Music Awards 2018 performance showed the actual choreography for the song?) Anyways, if that’s the case, then I wish choreographers would come up with something energetic to compliment the “vibin’ ” that goes on throughout the song. For instance, Madonna’s “Vogue” dance really captures and accentuates that fashionista-vibe you get throughout her song.
From what I’ve seen, Ariana Grande isn’t really a dancer. That’s the case for most singers in the Western music industry – they heavily rely on backup dancers while they sing and maybe dance a little during live performances and in MVs.
The Western music industry usually fails to showcase singers who have great raw, un-auto-tuned voices and great dance skills. “No Tears Left To Cry” is a great song for Ariana Grande because it kinda breaks her away from that “Mariah Carey image” and the usual pop genres like EDM (which are quite evident in a lot of her “non-Mariah Carey sounding” songs like “Break Free” and “One Last Time”). It might be too much to wish that she can learn to dance (just like how Bruno Mars learned how to dance along to his “jukebox songs”), but if she can show a little more sophistication in her dance performances and MVs, then maybe her songs may seem a little more enjoyable to me.
Today’s my third time watching the MV.
I don’t have any new impressions since the first time I saw the MV. So everything that I’ll be saying about Lisa will be my impressions of her since I first saw the MV.
Since I’ve always believed that Lisa was the group’s best rapper ever since I heard the song “Stay”, I was kinda hoping that Lisa’s wardrobe would look better for the “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” comeback.
Honestly, I wasn’t too disappointed with Lisa’s fashion in the “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” MV. My three favorites would be her pink, white, and red outfits (all ranked equally). Those outfits really make her look like a fierce lady – not quite the same kind of fierceness as Beyoncé or CL, but much better because Lisa ~owned~ those looks.
On the other hand, there were some outfits that weren’t too bad, but weren’t too great either. Lisa’s outfit with the checkered top and red leggings kinda looked like an outfit that an Instagram model would wear – basically, it looked… basic. Then there’s Lisa’s grey outfit with the orange jacket and pink fox tail. The outfit doesn’t really seem to suit Lisa, but I guess the stylist gave it to her because she wanted the outfit to compliment Lisa’s verse – “I’m foxy”. And then there’s her black outfit at the end of the MV. I wish she and Rosé were given colored outfits because it looked like they blended in the background. But, like what Producer of the “Form of Therapy” YouTube channel said, it looks like the stylist gave black outfits to the members with vibrant hair colors (Lisa and Rosé), and colored outfits to the members with natural hair colors (Jennie and Jisoo).
Last, but not least, I was kinda expecting Lisa to comeback with a different hair color.
I’m disappointed by how all of the members except Rosé had the same hair color for “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”. I get that it looks like the members have “found” their signature hair colors – Lisa rocks different shades of red hair; Jisoo mostly has black hair, but at one point had purple hair; Jennie mostly has black hair, but seems to be rocking the dark blonde hair pretty often; and Rosé is mostly known for her warm blonde hair, but now shows that she can pull-off the red hair look as well (because her name is Rosé).
Lisa can probably look great in hot pink hair. Now that’s a brilliant concept. I guess it’s because Lisa has doll-like features. That kind of hair wouldn’t make her look too similar to Rosé because Rosé’s new hair color is pretty dark. Giving Lisa hot pink hair can probably give the BLACKPINK name a little more ~oomph~ because in MVs, Lisa seems a lot more fiercer than the other members. (Maybe it’s just me who sees Lisa that way.)
Lisa isn’t always given great outfits, yet she somehow pulls them off like Dara of 2NE1. Perhaps the YG stylists were consciously giving her “ugly outfits” because they wanted to showcase BLACKPINK’s beauty the same way they did for 2NE1 – through giving the “most beautiful member” the oddest looks.
When Lisa does wear beautiful outfits, there’s no doubt that she’s really beautiful. This image below shows the kind of outfit that we sadly don’t get to see Lisa in for performances and MVs.
Now, there have been moments when everyone in BLACKPINK had questionable outfits, like what’s shown in the left picture:
But I think for the most part – in MVs, performances, guest appearances, and interviews – Lisa’s outfits look “Instagram tacky”. I guess that’s the best way I can describe them.
It’s no joke that the BLACKPINK members are wearing expensive and trendy outfits. Lisa’s boots in the MV “As If It’s Your Last” were kinda made popular by Kylie Jenner and some other American celebrities. Seeing them on Lisa made me think that the stylists were choosing clothes for their name and trendiness, and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that when you’re trying to help make BLACKPINK marketable and trendy. But I wish that Lisa’s outfits, or all the BLACKPINK members’ outfits, made everyone look more harmonious and united.
I don’t know if the stylists of BLACKPINK are necessarily the same people who worked for 2NE1, but regardless they should take notes on 2NE1’s “revolutionary” and “unique” K-Pop styles in order to make Lisa and everyone in BLACKPINK stand out in their own way and equally together.
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).