It’s no secret that in recent years, almost anything YG Entertainment releases sells. Of the three major entertainment companies in Korea right now, YG is the only company to have all of its acts post-BIGBANG debut at the top. 2NE1 hit #1 with “Fire” and, similarly, so did all of LEE HI, Akdong Musician, WINNER, and iKON’s debut songs. Due to the streak of hit debuts, pressure was on the company’s long-awaited new girl group to perform to standards.
It took YG Entertainment a good four years to debut BLACKPINK. After the company started releasing teaser materials to promote the new girl group they were planning to debut, members started to come in, with a lot dropping out as well. It was assumed for years that the company was planning to debut a nine-member group, so it was a surprise when it was announced that the new group would only contain four members. Many have thrown shade at management for the decision, but if there’s one thing we should trust YG Entertainment with it is their ability to debut well-seasoned acts. That being said, BLACKPINK is definitely another group Yang Hyunsuk should be proud of.
Dropping their first single SQUARE ONE, BLACKPINK achieved success with their double title track single. “Boombayah” was strong enough to debut at #7 in the gaon weekly charts, while “Whistle” earned the group their first #1 single in the country, continuing YG’s eight-year streak of having their debuting acts go straight to #1 on the charts.
The girls went straight to preparing their next single when promotions for SQUARE ONE ended. They released “Playing with Fire” and “STAY” as part of SQUARE TWO in early November. “Playing with Fire" is possibly the best track the group had put out by this time, so expectations were high regarding whether the group would be able to come out with another banger. A few months later, the group released “Like It’s Your Last,” which confirmed that the group could definitely come out with another good track.
A Song Like No Other
When you first listen to “Like It’s Your Last,” the first thing you notice is how it sounds very unexpected for a YG-released single. It starts off with a synthy club beat that's prominent in other YG hits, before switching things up with a marching beat that works pretty well on the verses. When you think that’s all there is to it, things take a complete 180 with flashes of an 80’s influenced beat that isn't usually found in a TEDDY-produced track.
Despite how unique the arrangement sounds, all the changes work perfectly to the point where you start to realize how smart TEDDY was for not utilizing one formula for the song. That being mentioned, I have to say it took me quite a while to fully get hooked on the track. It was a surprising listen, and at first I thought it sounded a bit too outdated for my taste. Once I got around to replaying the melody, though, I finally understood that that itself is the charm of the track. "Playing With Fire" was a very challenging song to beat because it immediately draws you in once that catchy drop hits, while “Like It’s Your Last” only draws you in by the end of the track. Nevertheless, it is definitely a great follow up, especially because the concept is a lot more fun and relaxed than their last.
The music video definitely uses the BLACKPINK formula, though. It maintains the video style that the group is known for: colors, dynamic camera work, and extravagant sets. The video feels a lot more approachable than their previous ones, as there’s a wide range of colors used, from pastel to neon shades. The standout scenes were definitely the solo and group shots at a subway-esque set, as well as Lisa’s rap part where fire and neon lights flash in LED with a car behind her. The use of bright yellow in their group shots was really refreshing as well, mostly because this is the first time they straight up used the color in any of their videos. Plus, all the smiling and the scenes in yellow really suit the summer season. Jennie, Lisa, Rose, and Jisoo all look stunning in the video, but I’m pretty sure you all know that.
As the group stated in one of their interviews, the purpose of this comeback was to let people know more about them. That being said, the track has successfully done its work. The girls show a lot of individuality with this comeback, which was definitely essential in getting the job done. The new release is a fresh attempt at getting more public recognition, but what’s smart here is that despite how they made something lighter visually and audibly, BLACKPINK still used the key ingredients that allow them to appear as seasoned performers: swagger and confidence.