Ok, the title for my review of Black Pink’s “BOOMBAYAH” may have been slightly clickbaity BUT only because “Whistle” is every bit as good as “BOOMBAYAH” even though “Whistle” can more accurately be described as Black Pink’s slow burn to “BOOMBAYAH”‘s flash fire.
Unlike “BOOMBAYAH,” which did a better job highlighting the singing and rapping talents of Black Pink, “Whistle” takes a much more subtle approach which comes with its own set of positives and drawbacks. On the bright side, the spacey, almost echo-infused production on the verses combined with the mind-grippingly addictive whistle ensures that “Whistle” will stick in the mind for hours on end. The restraint also plays well with the transition into the chorus, as the acoustic guitars and Black Pink’s vocals layer the song with a warmth that contrasts nicely with the steely cool verses. The video’s imagery is inventive, even if each shot doesn’t really cohere into any sort of conceptual whole. The sets alternate between huge swaths of color, close-ups and mostly Black Pink’s confidence to sell itself. The overall effect is dreamlike which works with the song’s stupid(ly good) whistle and Black Pink’s ability to occassionally puncture that pleasant fog with aggression. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the video succeeds largely on the backs of the video’s stars. The members are convincingly in their element whether they are rapping, singing or ever so slightly mean-mugging the camera. In “Whistle,” Black Pink sounds and looks the part of K-Pop hip-pop done right.
By comparison, “Whistle’s” blemishes are small. Like “BOOMBAYAH,” the video, at the end of the day, is mostly disjointed glamour shots with a side of dance-in-a-box. “Whistle” gets more of a pass because of the video’s use of color and the way that the camera employs dramatic pans and sweeps to create movement and energy in a way that is not distracting (no seizures! YAY). The single’s more low-key tempo works well for Black Pink’s rappers but it doesn’t give its vocalists as many chances to shine as Jisoo and Rose are basically dispatched to ensure that there are some lyrics to go with the chorus in order to fulfill the Unspoken K-Pop By-Laws Of Hip-Pop. Still, at the end of the day, this is admittedly nit-picking. For whatever tiny flaws “Whistle” may have, it’s not going to stop anyone from listening to it again and again (and again, and again, and again).
It’s easy to see why Black Pink released “BOOMBAYAH” and “Whistle” at the same time. Both videos represent two different takes on hip-pop with “BOOMBAYAH” opting for high-energy ass kicking and “Whistle” going for slow and steady dominance. I personally may like “BOOMBAYAH’s” approach a bit more than “Whistle’s” but I can easily see why people would prefer the latter over the former. “Whistle” can be bumped for entire car rides. If sounds were personality traits, “Whistle” would be swagger. Now, excuse me while I play “Whistle” for the fifteenth time tonight.