Released: November 1, 2016
The new rising talents of Korean band Blackpink have been squaring up the K-Pop scene since the start–mid of 2016, and have already gained a large fan base with their hits “Boomboyah” and “Whistle”. Some may mistake this move as just another recycled K-Pop group that basically adds up to a large tally to the infamous YG Entertainment company, but fear not, because Blackpink managed to smash out some pretty perfect and fresh K-Pop mixes on their new single, “Square Two”.
The single opens with “Playing with Fire”, an infectious three-minute jam that could possibly pose a threat to overseas markets. Blending a fierce pop sound over some subtle elements of tropical rhythms, urban twists and even some strong EDM synths and bangs, the first release from the single showcases a playful delivery with the girl’s vocals. Sure, some parts sound like the members are off-tune to the beat or try to play it out a bit too strong with subtle vocals like theirs, but the overall appeal to the track is stylish and sleek. The following entry is the subtle guitar-driven “Stay”, which boasts saddening lyrics and a vulnerable country-like vibe. It’s pretty fresh coming from a K-Pop band, and hopefully something like this pushes through the girl’s future music.
Two versions of the girls “Whistle” is included here; a cute and agile acoustic version, and the R&B-fuelled pop version. Both edits are quite fun without seeming to try hard or too unconformable, but yet again, Blackpink’s only issue is how they use their vocals; sometimes it works, but other times if sounds awkward or off to the track. But closing the single is their signature EDM number “Boomboyah”, which is currently their placeholder onto the K-Pop map; it’s neither original or an innovative track to be exact, but it still pretty catchy and fun for a couple of spins.
With the rise of Blackpink, a constructive and well-though out release like “Square Two” could possibly prove to be a refreshing open to the K-Pop formula without having to saturate the sound. It’s a fun single that boasts a warm, friendly and pop-ready vibe that could easily be marketed outside of Asia, and, if to focus more on full-length albums, then watch your back… because Blackpink may take over your Korean pop-filled playlist.