Blackpink’s first full-length album drops, exceeds expectations
Sometimes it’s better to keep expectations low. But not when it comes to Blackpink — the band’s newest album is guaranteed to beat anyone’s expectations, however high they may be.
“We put our heart and soul into the album,” said member Jennie during an online press conference held on Friday afternoon, an hour after the band’s first full-length album titled “The Album” was released at 1 p.m.
“This is our first new album in such a long time and we felt that a lot of people were waiting for us. We wanted to show everyone the best we could, especially because this is our first full-length album. So we took part in writing the music, all out of our wish to pay back the love we got.”
“The Album” is Blackpink’s first-ever, full-length album, which strikes as a surprise to K-pop fans, considering the band has stormed global music charts with just singles and EPs until now.
Anticipation for the album had soared ever since the band’s agency YG Entertainment first shared the news of its drop earlier this year in spring, and the countdown began when the release date was set for today in July.
Preorders for “The Album” surpassed one million copies as of Friday, the highest number for any K-pop girl group so far. The 18,888 copies of the limited edition LP have also sold out, and the numbers are expected to go up even more until the day that sales for the hard copies go on sale on Oct. 6, according to the agency. There are eight tracks on the album, including the singles that were released earlier this summer: “How You Like That” and “Ice Cream.”
“We’ve released a variety of music so far, but having the first full-length album is very meaningful in itself I think,” said Rose. “We were so excited when we first found out that we’ll be releasing it. We thought the songs that could go on the album and spent all our time in the studio. Some songs were taken out at the end, but I think the album is filled with a variety of genres such as hip-hop, R&B and dance that will be enough to let listeners have a good time.”
The lead track “Lovesick Girls” marks a first-time venture into a new genre of country folk that Blackpink has never set foot in before, but sees the group maintain its iconic style, poise and flair. The song comes to an exhilarating apex in the refrain when the quartet sings its lines along with a backup chorus of voices, which was a style of music the band had shown beforehand with “Kill This Love” (2019), but with a more accomplished sound this time.
"Lovesick Girls" currently sits at No. 3 on Spotify's Global Top 50 chart as of Sunday, while "Bet You Wanna," "Pretty Savage" and "Ice Cream" sit at the No. 4, 8 and 10 spots on the same chart. The music video for "Lovesick Girls" surpassed 10 million views within just an hour of release, nearing the 100 million view mark as of Sunday afternoon. The video has also topped YouTube's list of most-watched videos in 24 hours, and the band's official YouTube channel saw 800,000 new subscribers to near a total of 50 million.
“We were younger girls when we first debuted [in 2016], but now we’ve grown,” said Jennie. “We have in ourselves the urge to run around free, and I think we got that across in the music video. I hope that after listening to the chorus, people would want to sing along and dance with us.”
The members of Blackpink took part in the writing process of the songs on “The Album” like never before. Members Jennie and Jisoo contributed to writing the lyrics of “Lovesick Girls” and Jennie helped with writing the music along with producers Teddy, 24, Brian Lee, Leah Haywood, R.Tee and David Guetta.
“'Lovesick Girls’ is the story of everyone — all of us,” said Jisoo. “It has the factor that everyone can relate to I think. We all fall once, whether because of love or because of something else. But we find something to go on for and then we try again. That’s a story that we repeat in our lives, but it isn’t a sad song. It’s a song that carries a positive message that tells everyone to have hope.”
While the unexpected outbreak of the coronavirus may have kept the band from meeting fans in person, it hasn’t stopped them from collaborating with some of the world’s biggest music stars, like Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and Cardi B. Blackpink was featured on Lady Gaga’s album released in May through the track “Sour Candy,” while Gomez lent her voice to the band’s single “Ice Cream,” which has been included as a track in “The Album.” Rapper Cardi B has been featured on track No. 4 of "The Album," titled “Bet You Wanna.”
“We grew up listening to their songs, so it’s just such an honor to be able to collaborate with them,” said Lisa.
Jennie added, “I feel like going back to when we were trainees and we were listening to their songs. It’s just so inspirational to be able to work together with them. And it makes us feel like we’re going on the right track, so it’s always so fulfilling to hear [people want to collaborate with us].”
Blackpink broke multiple records this year with its two pre-released singles “How You Like That” and “Ice Cream,” especially on YouTube, winning the nickname “YouTube Queens.” Its music videos for "How You Like That" hit 500 million views in the fastest time ever for a K-pop act and "Ice Cream" hit 200 million views on YouTube on Sept. 8. It was the fastest time for any K-pop act's music video to hit the 500 million-view mark, and also beat the group's own record of 111 days it had set with "Kill This Love" (2019) by almost 40 days. The band also surpassed DJ Marshmello to become the artist with the second-largest number of YouTube subscribers in the world.
“We’re honored to have that nickname,” said Rose. “We’re grateful that we get to accomplish everything with our music. We’re so happy that people related to our music in different ways, not just simply listening to them.”
After the coronavirus subsides, the first thing on the members’ minds is getting on stage to meet with Blink, the official fan club, all over the world. But even before that, they have a variety of new content waiting for fans, such as the first-ever Netflix documentary program “Blackpink: Light Up The Sky,” set to be released on Oct. 14.
“It’s sad to go on stage without Blink,” said Lisa. “When everything gets safer, the first thing we want to do is tour. We miss Blink so much — especially outside of Korea. But we have something in store for Blink, so I hope you all look forward to that.”
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]