I’m sorry I didn’t really like that.
BLACKPINK’s ‘How You Like That’ MV is out and its fans, as expected, has given the group their most outstanding and unyielding support with the music video surpassing 10 million views just a little over 3 hours after release. The MV has even broken the record for the biggest premiere in Youtube history. The single has gained lots of traction as well, awarding the group with its first “roof hit” on the Korean music streaming app, MelOn.
But while it definitely did achieve the incredible feat of garnering the most amount of views in the shortest span of time, when you watch the MV and listen to the song closely, it’s quite a hollow win for content that lacks quality don’t you think?
How much of the music video’s success is accounted for by its quality and the quartet’s superb performance? Is the world so superficial as to crown people based on sheer popularity?
Let’s dive deep into the contents of the music video and the song itself which, off-the-bat, I’d say are both pretty disappointing.
First, we need to establish that having a subjective standpoint entails one to assess another by examining it not in comparison to others of its kind but to itself and its own past performance. That being said, this analysis of BLACKPINK was done in comparison to BLACKPINK’s previous releases some of which remain my own personal faves, across the board, to this day (shoutout to the Whistle MV! U da bomb!).
Just from the title of the song you can tell the song is gonna be some form of “karma is a b*tch” type of revenge track and that expectation is well met. The vibe of the entire music video is swagger, ‘haters gon’ hate’, and all that primadonna type thing.
There’s nothing wrong with that idea in itself but when it’s overused, in this day and age, it gets pretty old pretty quickly. Especially when putting in the context of BLACKPINK, a group that has had this vibe for so long, it has not aged well.
‘Visuals’ is another big V for music videos especially Kpop videos who are notorious for being focused more on visuals and aesthetics and it does the work and has carved out a genre for itself in music video production. No surprise that YG Ent has maintained its avant-garde, all bling everything, look for BLACKPINK for this music video as well.
It’s all nice. It’s all pretty. It’s all sparkly and artsy but do they really help with the song’s narrative. I failed to mention that in addition to Kpop videos being notoriously frilly, their notoriety extends to that frilly-ness usually overtakes the song’s essence and in some cases, misses the message entirely. So the fact that this music video didn’t really capture or even support the natural essence of the song it accompanied, isn’t a big deal anymore within the context of Kpop but I guess I was just disappointed by expecting this comeback to be superior (given the superiority of HYLT teaser photos).
The Camerawork and Cinematography
This review was done after a couple of hours spent pitting older BLACKPINK music videos against this one and let’s just say that either this was shot in haste with a really low budget and substandard direction or they were just really lazy and unmotivated because of the pandemic (which admittedly is understandable).
If you check out the dynamism in each cut of other BP music videos like “Whistle” or “Boombayah” or “Kill This Love” you’ll know what I mean when I say I can’t recognize this as a BLACKPINK music video.
This was assessed last because this was honestly the most disappointing part of this release.
BLACKPINK songs are blatantly formulaic.
Say what you want about who’s at fault, but it doesn’t change the fact that all of their songs have the same pattern to it that it just felt like a chore to listen to the entire song. This formula-based songwriting is openly accepted and even patronized in US Pop but in Kpop… why you do that?
When Kpop became renowned worldwide their edge was in the contents of their lyrics. In comparison to the industry leader, American Pop, Kpop held more depth to their lyrics than the booty-booty, makin’ love, and be my girl type music that reigned supreme chart-toppers.
Kpop deviated from all that density and decided to explore the heartbreak of having a clear blue day turn grim from a breakup in IU’s Good Day, holding on to a love that nobody else understands but your partner and you in Red Velvet’s Psycho, or setting your own standards of beauty because you’re different like everyone is in ITZY’s Dalla Dalla.
It’s not just this BLACKPINK song that has not lived up to this standard of Kpop songs which are just lush with meaning and poetic expression, it’s countless others and like everything else I’ve evaluated about this release: It. Is Tiring.
This is not to spare other Kpop songs that bear none of the richness as well, but for a song like HYLT to get this big?
I guess what I’m trying to say is the hype is undeserved and I wish the spotlight could be reserved for songs (or groups) that actually inspire, uplift, enrich, or just generally something of substance.
The Bottomline: Is this really the kind of music we need right now?
I get it. If you’ve been bad to others, bad things will happen to you. If you’ve ever been bullied, the desire to overtake your bully (the bully being either a bad choice, a bad person, or a bad situation) and succeed in life is immense and it could well be the motivation you had to win at life. Succeeding despite being told you won’t make it feels so great and it’s truly worthy of applause!
But the ‘How You Like That’ narrative in itself is so misconstrued and counter-productive to growth and just like what I said about the “bad b*tch” vibe, this messaging is past its time in entertainment.
I hate to bring this up but with everything going on in the world right now, I really would like to know how this narrative has helped in any way. Or does it, as I believe it does, still perpetuate age-old facets of culture that we’ve been trying to get rid of.
I know this article felt like one long rant but honestly, overall, I’m just really disappointed because I was so stoked about it in the first place. And that’s why I didn’t really like ‘How You Like That’.
What about you? What did you think of the latest BLACKPINK MV?
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