I don’t know how it happened, but YG Entertainment rookie group Black Pink just dropped a sledgehammer on K-Pop with “BOOMBAYAH.” (Hell, “Whistle” is pretty good too.) Everyone else is officially on notice.
Where to even start. The music video’s relative weaknesses are fairly trivial. The sets and imagery aren’t particularly memorable and the over reliance on neon tones (especially that pink and green motif) is an eyesore that should have died with Suicide Squad. And the various set pieces and wardrobe changes do little to mask the fact that “BOOMBAYAH” is little more than a dance-in-a-box concept with some solo glamour shots interspersed throughout. Played on mute, “BOOMBAYAH” would register as a boilerplate YG offering – lots of loud colors mixed with an commercially individualistic pop-ready attitude (with the twist being a JYP-ish injection of sexual overtones).
However, when one takes the standard YG music video and overlays “BOOMBAYAH” on top of it, the whole project rockets to the stratosphere. “BOOMBAYAH” works both as an incredible single and an introduction to Black Pink. Within two minutes of “BOOMBAYAH,” Black Pink is able to establish a “brand” (I have grown to hate that word), a group personality, and “introduce” each member’s individual talents. And that is pretty damn remarkable. Most rookie groups have trouble defining the sound for the group, let alone individual members but Black Pink lets its audience know right away who does what and how well they do it. Spoilers: THEY ALL DO THEIR THING VERY, VERY WELL. As far as intros go, it’s going to be hard for any song to beat the combination of YG-ified synth heavy dance pop and the straight hot fire that Lisa and Jennie spray like unrepentant machine guns (If you’re not stanning Lisa, I’m not sure if we can be friends anymore). And then Jisoo and Rose make their own entrances and Black Pink is able to claim victory over eardrums before the song even reaches it’s first ground shaking chorus. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time that a K-Pop hook and chorus (and the hooks and choruses in “BOOMBAYAH” are pretty good too! The bass and reedy woodwind sound like something straight out of an early 2NE1 track.) were so thoroughly overshadowed by a group’s vocal work on the verses. Usually, even in groups as small as four, there’s one member who seems extraneous – who comes in and sings half a verse before being relegated to “prominent backup dancer.” The quartet of Black Pink scoff at that notion, then they stuff it in a canon and fire it into the sun. Each member of Black Pink gets their own moments to shine and not one wastes a single second of spotlight. Even if one’s not blown away by the video for “BOOMBAYAH,” the song itself more than makes up for it.
“BOOMBAYAH” is a killer track but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a showcase of the perfect mixture of song and talent that would border on brash if Black Pink wasn’t able to back it up. Luckily for Planet Earth, the rookies were able to execute “BOOMBAYAH” with the panache of a multiple world heavyweight champ. If “BOOMBAYAH” is a hint of what’s to come from Black Pink, then we’ll have comebacks to look forward to for a very long time.