Review: BLACKPINK “How You Like That”

Hannah WilsonMusic, New Music, Opinion, ReviewsLeave a Comment

If you have a Twitter, you’ve seen one.  

Over the last few years, it’s become expected that a viral tweet will have replies full of k-pop idol videos. These focus cams, more popularly known as “fancams,” have polarized the twittersphere. While the intention of k-pop fans is to promote their favorites and help them gain a following, it often ends in bullying from the Twitter thread. K-pop fans are a common enemy on Twitter, which sadly means that the music itself becomes the enemy too.

Even if you aren’t familiar with this Twitter phenomenon, or don’t have any negative feelings towards k-pop, you may not know much about it. Not to paint with a broad brush, but as Americans, we are reluctant to consume content in a language we don’t understand. We value the power of lyrics — the kind we can sprawl on tee shirts, tattoo on our bodies, and share with the world. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this preference. But as k-pop begins to grow among young audiences, I would venture to say it’s going to hit the mainstream soon. 

Maybe Twitter fancams aren’t the way to reach America’s heart. Maybe what we need is already here: BLACKPINK. If you’re well versed in music, (or Twitter for that matter), you’ve probably at least heard of the girlcrush supergroup. 

Formed by YG Entertainment, BLACKPINK debuted in the summer of 2016 to high praise. Though the four-piece doesn’t have a full album to their name, the girls have managed to accrue a loyal fanbase of “blinks,” a string of Youtube records, and influence pop culture. For example, they hold the title for most viewed music video by a South Korean group for DDUDDUDU, currently sitting at 1.2 billion. The 2019 music video for Kill This Love managed to dethrone Ariana Grande’s “thank u next” as the most viewed music video within a 24 hour period. BLACKPINK became the first South Korean act to ever perform at the iconic American festival Coachella, and have collaborated with Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga. Their talent and influence is undeniable.

After the aforementioned release of Kill This Love, BLACKPINK entered a quiet period. Blinks waited over a year to finally hear the good news from YG Entertainment: we are getting a June comeback. 

How You Like That was officially released on June 26th, 2020. The girls commemorated the release with a performance of the new single on Jimmy Kimmel

How You Like That is an ambitious, upbeat revenge track. We begin with a harsh horn intro, perhaps an homage to Kill This Love, and fade into a much softer verse. This introduction from Jisoo and Jennie gives us the classic, clean vocals we know the girls for. Rosé gets her turn next with a gentle pre-chorus. Everything so far is classic BLACKPINK, nothing more, nothing less.

That being said, absolutely nothing can prepare you for the chorus. We have shifted from a bubblegum pop song to a much dirtier, trap beat — one that may bring to mind A$AP Ferg or Travis Scott. Between the studio vocals, music video, and Jimmy Kimmel performance, what makes this chorus so special is you can tell they are having fun. They smirk and laugh as they dance through the lines: “look at you, now look at me.” The repeated English lines are simple, yet empowering. 

From the chorus, we go directly into a rap verse from Lisa, another BLACKPINK staple. This verse continues the warehouse club energy of the chorus while adding a twist that pays homage to Lisa’s Taiwan routes. Her vocals are as confident as ever, flawlessly weaving between Korean and English.

After a repeated pre-chorus and chorus, the song closes with a post-chorus that acts as the main dance break. This section contains a unique lyric spoken by all members at once: “look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane.” While critics were quick to gloss over the line as simple and random, Jennie herself gave us a hint at the true meaning via her Instagram. The two objects mentioned in the sentence, “bird” and “plane,” allude to the name “BLACKPINK” by matching the first letters to the two-syllable group name. The members are telling you to watch the sky because they’re coming to take over the world. 

How You Like That is the perfect song to finally turn America into a country of blinks. The clear trap influences are well in line with the American top 40, and the inclusion of English phrases gives us something to sing along to when it comes on the radio. Combined with the accolades they have already accomplished, the timing has never been better to find BLACKPINK in your area. Sooner or later, you’ll be the one posting How You Like That fancams on Twitter.

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Hannah WilsonReview: BLACKPINK “How You Like That”