on blackpink's triumphant return with first mini-album: square up

by emily richardson

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blackpink’s mini-album, square up, was released june 15 and even an entire week later listeners all over the world (including myself) are shaken. after a bleak ten months without any music dropping, it seemed to fans that there would be no end in sight. perhaps the positive response to the four new songs is due to fans accepting anything they can snag at this point; more likely, the catchy choruses and addictive edm inspired sounds of the entire album are what’s drawing in million of listeners every day.

the album leads with title track “ddu-du ddu-du” alongside an impressive music video, reminiscent of yg entertainment veteran bigbang’s “bang bang bang”. the video features members jennie, rosé, jisoo, and lisa on a number of impressive sets, including but not limited to lisa robbing a bank, rosé swinging on a chandelier, and jennie riding a bedazzled tank (yes, as in the military). a scene that stuck out to me in particular was vocalist jisoo walking past a number of masked individuals all taking photos of her. she trips on her high heels, and in just an instant the cell phones being used to take pictures are guns pointed straight at her. this scene provides a commentary on the constant pressure celebrities and artists like blackpink are under at any given moment, and how just a simple mistake can be used against them. the video has already amassed 70 million views after only five days, and the exponential growth shows no sign of stopping.

members jennie, rosé, lisa, and jisoo courtesy of yg entertainment

as for the song, the heavy dance beat of the chorus and tagline (‘hit you with that ddu-du ddu-du du’) are bound to get stuck in your head. the same goes for side tracks “forever young”, “really” and “see u later”. “forever young” in particular has the distinct carefree aura that makes an anthem.

personally, “really” was my favorite track on the album. it has a relaxed and laid back soft-trap beat that is, so far, the soundtrack to my summer.

“see u later” is a great finale to the album. a song about a typical ‘good riddance’ breakup, leaves us with a tune that’s impossible not to sing along to; i can guarantee that i will never, ever be able to say ‘see you later’ to anybody without including a ‘maybe never’ afterwards.

square up has the potential to become a lasting hit, not only in korea, but in the anglophone world as well. three of the four members are fluent english speakers, and a respectable portion of every song is in english. the tone of the entire album is suited for the dance pop scene of the states, but even if the general american public never gets over it’s stigma against anything non-western, blackpink will continue to make record-breaking strides in south korea into the foreseeable future.

stream square up on spotify now.