|Members of YG Entertainment's new idol girl group BLACKPINK attend a press conference at Moss Studio in Gangnam, southern Seoul, Monday. From left are Rose, Jennie, Jisoo and Lisa. / Courtesy of YG Entertainment|
By Kim Jae-heun
Blackpink, YG Entertainment's new idol girl group, debuted Monday amid public attention as the agency ambitiously introduced its first all-female group since 2NE1 seven years ago. However, the group is facing criticism that the girl group is not any different from the previous successful 2NE1, other than they have the looks.
An idol group debuting from one of the biggest entertainment companies in the country can hardly fail, especially if it is from YG. The agency's founder Yang Hyun-suk also said during the girl band's debut press conference at Moss Studio in Gangnam, Seoul that he prepared for Blackpink's debut more painstakingly than he had with any of his previous idol groups. Yang said that he hopes for the idol group to fill in the vacancy of YG's recently disbanded 2NE1 and take the title of YG's representative girl group.
Unfortunately, his desire looks hopeless as Blackpink have already confronted fans' complaints that they are not unique and only sing and dance like 2NE1.
"If you ask me to distinguish Blackpink from 2NE1, I want to say I did not try to make them different," Yang said. "If you ask me what differentiates them from other girl groups, I will say I did not form them with that in mind. I tried to make the YG version of a girl group like I did with 2NE1. But this time I wanted the girls to look pretty too, with skills."
He admitted that Blackpink's songs were written by Teddy, the main producer for 2NE1, who wrote hit songs for them including "I'm the Best," "Ugly" and "Can't Nobody."
"But it has a different feeling when different persons wear the same clothes," he said. "Two teams have different voices and different faces."
Blackpink member Jennie said the singers practiced 24 hours a day for so many years that they know each other very well and they hope to perform as much as possible.
The number of members is another reason that people compared them with 2NE1. Blackpink is comprised of four girls: Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa.
"It is very important how to constitute a team. BigBang meets their 10th anniversary and they were able to come this far because they unite well. I watched these four girls hang around together often and heard they get along well. So I decided to debut them in a group of four," said Yang.
Past rumors on YG's new girl group started four years ago included that the candidate members had been swapped many times as the talent agency first auditioned their 50 trainees and the number of those shortlisted shrank down to nine. Reports said the group would consist of five singers but it turned out to be four. The average age of the members is 19 and they all have been practicing in YG as trainees for more than four years.
Blackpink unveiled the mini-album "Square One" that consist of two lead singles "Whistle" and "Boombayah." "Whistle" bases its 808 drum beats and bass sound on the concept of whistling with attractive hooks in the verse of its hip-hop music. "Boombayah" plays on synthpop with rhythmical rapping by Blackpink and it is a crossover between Jamaican dancehall and Puerto Rican reggaeton with electronic house beats.
The mini-album topped the iTunes charts in 14 countries including Hong Kong, Finland, Colombia and Malaysia upon its Monday release.