After ruling K-pop, BLACKPINK also aims to conquer the world of pop

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NEW YORK – Four years after debuting as the next hot girl group on the K-pop music scene, BLACKPINK’s lofty musical dreams have come true. Show at Coachella. Check.

Record a song with Lady Gaga. Check.

Collaborate with Selena Gomez. Check.

Get a verse from Cardi B. Check.

Another major goal: to record their first full album after being known for releasing hit single after single to showcase a deeper and more personal side of the band.

Boldly titled “The Album,” the eight-song project released on Friday shines a light on everything BLACKPINK has become known for: fun, fat and explosive songs that blend sounds like pop, electronics, hip-hop, dance and trap.

“We had so much to look at. When it comes to a song, the video, the choreography, the fashion, the visual, everything is simply put into one – just multiply by how much. We were nice to panic at first, but we’ve been working on it for a long time, ”Jennie, 24, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It gave us enough time to perfect everything and make it our own. ”

BLACKPINK – which also includes Rose, Jisoo and Lisa – debuted with the singles “Boombayah” and “Whistle”, which quickly topped the South Korean music charts. They have had success with other hits and marked their Billboard Hot 100 debut in 2018 with the gold sale “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”, which has over 1 billion views on YouTube, and “Kiss and Make Up,” “a collaboration with English hitmaker Dua Lipa. A year later, they nearly broke the Top 40 with “Kill This Love,” while a pair of their EPs reached the Top 40 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

They toured the world last year, taking on American arenas like The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., And Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. They became the first K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella when they got there last year.

These moments prepared them for “The Album”, partially recorded during the pandemic. Apart from the great rhythms and the refined choreography, the members wanted to deepen the songs.

“It feels like we tried to put as many personalities of us as possible in the album. We have very personal songs; songs that mean a little more to us, that tell a little more about our story, ”Rose, 23, told me. “Personal songs take a bit more to record, without a doubt. We had to bring our souls to the recording studio. It was we who were very vulnerable. We’ve heard that our fans can feel this. ”

The opposite debut single, “How You Like That,” set a YouTube record for most views within 24 hours for a music video (BTS later broke it); the track won Song of the Summer at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards; and it became their first Top 40 hit in the US, peaking at # 33. Two months later, the second single “Ice Cream”, starring Gomez and co-written by Ariana Grande, debuted at No.13 on the Hot 100..

“She’s like the sweetest girl,” Jennie said of Gomez. “As soon as we talked about collaborating with someone on ‘Ice Cream’ we all thought about Selena maybe and then it came true and we got there. ”

Cardi B is featured on “Bet You Wanna,” and the girls couldn’t control themselves when they heard the Grammy-winning rapper’s verse: “We were screaming. We were literally screaming, ”Rose exclaimed.

“It was the first time that we had a rapping function for our song,” Jennie said. “As soon as we heard the verse, we were like, ‘Ah! Cardi B !!! ”

The collaborations with Cardi and Gomez come months after BLACKPINK recorded “Sour Candy” for Gaga’s album “Chromatica”, released in May.

“It’s crazy because I grew up listening to his songs on the radio. She was still on the radio. I remember when we spoke to her she was so kind and so down to earth and so willing to work with us. She was very sincere about it, ”Rose said.

“She was asking us questions about our opinions and talking about the message she wanted to convey in the song,” Jennie added. “We were like, ‘Yeah, yeah. We are all here ”.

BLACKPINK is excited to see female artists opening their doors to the group to find their way into the international music industry. “We feel very supported,” Rose said.

“The fact that they contact us. The fact that they present us. This movement itself kind of shows that there are no boundaries and that they’re ready to create something fun, which we love to do, ”Jennie told me. “It’s a great feeling and we’re very lucky to be able to make a difference. ”

Although the rise of BLACKPINK came out of nowhere for some audiences, artists have trained for years to get there. Thanks to South Korean entertainment company YG Entertainment – which in 2012 released Korean rapper PSY’s viral and colorful song and video “Gangnam Style” – each singer auditioned individually as their teens, spending years in their teens. train in song, dance and language. It is documented in Netflix’s “BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky”, the streaming platform’s first K-pop documentary. It will be available on October 14.

“We are very worried that they can see these sides of us. It is very new for us to have cameras in the current stages. We’re still very much used to showing our fans the final stages – something we already considered 10 times before we publish anything. Just to have an extra eye in there, more like thousands of new eyes now underway, we feel very vulnerable, but excited to share, ”Rose said.

“It’s like the unfiltered version of us,” Jennie added. “It’s the best way we could have shown that to our fans. ”

These die-hard fans – called the BLINKS – have followed the quartet for four years, helping girls grow stronger on social media around the world.

“How can I make this? How can I show that we love you more than it seems? We are very lucky, ”Jennie said of their supporters.

Rose said she hopes “The Album” can be a bright spot for their fans in a year full of gloom and doom: “We hope our album can be a little light in your life guys because we love and thank you all deep in our hearts. “

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