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As If They’re Our Last: BLACKPINK Are Still K-Pop’s Great Hope

BLACKPINK

BLACKPINK‘s back in our areaaa — and not a moment too soon.

To be fair, there must have been an immense amount of pressure on the girls to make their comeback this week. (Err…beyond the already too intense, exhaustion-inducing expectations put upon Korean pop acts as it is, of course.)

Seven months after last year’s “Playing With Fire” and “Stay,” they’re finally back in the form of “As If It’s Your Last” — which happens to be their first “pink” concept.

More on that in a moment.

If you’ve not been paying attention to my writing or my vlogging or my whatevering, the easiest way to describe the Diplo-approved troupe is: they’re basically the new 2NE1. (But, like, actually — same agency and everything.)

Between the in-your-face attitude, fashion-forward styling and infectious, rambunctious personalities (have you seen how much they bully Lisa?), there’s no mistaking that Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé and Queen Lisa picked up the glittery YG Entertainment baton straight from CL, Dara, Bom and Minzy — and at this rate, they’re on their way to achieving the same kind of global domination.

After all, they shot to impressive heights instantly after their 2016 debut with “Whistle” and “Boombayah,” breaking records and walking away with two Song of the Year Awards and the New Artist of the Year title at the Gaon Chart Music Awards this past February.

Their 2017 journey begins today.

Like “Boombayah,” “As If It’s Your Last” sounds like about three songs squeezed into one so-hectic-this-somehow-makes-sense Frankenstein EDM production. But as the chorus arrives, as opposed to diving harder, the girls serve a sonic switch-up in the form of a more sparkly, “pretty”-sounding K-pop production. (Or, well, a 2NE1 discard.)

Baby hold me like I’m gonna burst / Stop thinking, what’s so hard about it? Kiss me like it’s a lie, as if I am your last love.”

It’s a move that’s underwhelmed some, garnering mixed initial reactions. Lisa’s English verse, however, is universally accepted as the best part of the whole damn thing. (“‘Cause we gonna get it, my love you can bet it on black / We gon’ double the stack on them, whoa!“) And, thank God, the “Blackpink in your area” call-out is now officially A Thing — and it should be in many more of their songs to come.

The video follows suit — it’s bright, glossy, shiny neon sleekness. The concept? It’s all part of the pink plan to present the cuter side of BLACKPINK. (Get it? They’re hard when they’re in “black” mode, and softer when they’re “pink.”) Cue the aegyo.

The black-pink marketing strategy’s annoyed some of their fans — their edgy concept is what first won us all over, after all — but others see it as a stroke of genius to win over the Korean and Japanese pop fans who crave the cute. (Give me the darkest, hardest black of BLACKPINK any day, but I suppose a little frothy fun now and then is fine.)

Lisa Cute Blackpink

“As If” might be a grower, but it should be enough to score the girls top marks across the board on the charts and various Korean music shows this summer. It’s even earning them some stateside chart love, too, seeing as the song’s hovering within the Top 30 on U.S. iTunes. Is a crossover attempt potentially on the horizon? (Hey, just look at the leaps and bounds BTS made over the past year. It’s not such an impossible dream as when BoA was giving it a go almost a decade ago.)

Yes, there are plenty of great up-and-coming girl groups in South Korea (CLC!), which helps make up for the fact that there are about one-and-a-half decent groups on the West, though we do seem to be hemorrhaging troupes every other day. (RIP SISTAR.)

But there’s something distinctly unique about the energy of BLACKPINK feels like they’re about to dominate the scene. (We just need an album already.)

Square Three is reportedly on the way, and their Japanese debut is already scheduled for August.

Here’s hoping BLACKPINK invades every other areaaaa, too.

Blackpink As If It's Your Last

“As If It’s Your Last” was released on June 22. (iTunes / Spotify)