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Flying colors: K-pop group Blackpink getting ready to rule the world of music | K-pop

ANDEven though they prospered in the 90s and 00s, girly groups had less of an impact on Western pop over the past decade. With the exception of Little Mix, which recently took a hiatus, the charts of 2010 and beyond were largely the history of solo superstars like Beyoncé and Adele. The four-piece South Korean band Blackpink wants to change that: when their album Born Pink comes out on Friday, it will strengthen their status as the biggest girl group in the world and, along with K-pop compatriots, BTS, one of the biggest groups in the world. world.

Combining EDM beats with hip-hop influences, Blackpink’s music is harsher and much more maximalist than most of the music that makes up Western charts. Their music videos look like dystopian fashion editors and their choreography seems to have been crafted with viral dance trends in mind. Many of their hits begin with the same opening line: “Blackpink in your area” – a text that is both a showpiece and a warning shot, signaling the group’s pursuit of global success.

Consisting of two rappers, Jennie (full name Jennie Kim) and Lisa (Lalisa Manobal), and two singers, Rosé (Roseanne Park) and Jisoo (Kim Ji-soo), Blackpink debuted in 2016 with the single Whistle, which immediately hit the market . at the top of the Korean charts. The group’s follow-up, Boombayah, on which they threatened to “bleed all the guys”, topped the Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales list. It was a rapid rise in fame, even for a group led by YG Entertainment, Korea’s largest entertainment conglomerate that started Psy’s Gangnam Style. These singles were the first in a series of K-pop milestones: in 2019, Blackpink became the first K-pop band to perform on Coachella, and in 2021 they overtook Justin Bieber as the artists with the most YouTube subscribers – around 75 million.

Blackpink music video for Pink Venom

The first single from Born Pink, Pink Venom, had 90.4 million video views in 24 hours last month, and seems to hint at the band’s behemoth status. In the opening bars, Jennie references Notorious BIG and emphasizes her status as a Chanel brand ambassador, while Lisa interpolates with Rihanna’s 2005 debut hit Pon de Replay. The typical eye-catching music video shows Jisoo in traditional hanboku playing a Korean zither, while the New Zealand-born Rosé comes face to face with a wind machine and wields an electric guitar.

Like the Spice Girls before them, Blackpink members have distinct identities by design. Jennie, Lisa and Rosé have released solo music in the last few years; all four members have lucrative brand sponsorships with various luxury fashion houses and are regularly seen at fashion week events. This focus on single activities made full Blackpink releases less frequent, which some fans didn’t like. But focusing on making your mark on Western culture as opposed to catering to current fans is smart. While the Blackpink star continues to rise in the west, new contenders are already emerging in Korea: Pink Venom was defeated in the charts by the debut single from the girly group NewJeans.

“Blackpink are a bit known to have more brand deals than songs,” says culture journalist Iana Murray. But that strategy has resulted in a saturation rare among K-pop stars in the west – with the exception of the mega-star boy band BTS – and has made Blackpink coveted collaborators. The group appeared on Gaga’s Sour Candy Lady Chromatica single, while Selena Gomez and Cardi B appeared in their own songs. Australia and Canada.

Grammy-nominated songwriter Chelcee Grimes, who co-wrote the song, says Blackpink is unique for its ability to move between Western and Asian pop markets: musical, “he says. “Kiss and Make Up had nothing K-Pop about it, and I was like,“ Okay, these girls want to bend the rules a bit. I’m in it. “

K-pop idols often make foray into acting, but Blackpink does it differently: Later this year, Jennie will appear on The Idol, the new HBO show about the pop star who falls in love with the cult leader, produced by The Weeknd and Sam Levinson with Euphoria. “Jennie’s role is very different from what idols usually play when they become actors,” says Murray. “Not only because it’s an American series, but also because it seems provocative.”

Such unconventional moves can be planned: a typical K-pop contract is seven years, which would put Blackpink’s relationship with YG in 2023. As other K-pop groups expand and the West quickly becomes a big market band, it makes sense that they would like to break the mold. Even so, the group has longevity in mind. This year’s Born Pink World Tour begins in Seoul before heading to North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania, and their appetite for performances does not seem to diminish. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Lisa telegraphed to sky-high ambitions: “I see the Spice Girls gather at a reunion concert. Can we also do it sometime?


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