Editors' Notes Who could’ve seen them coming—a K-pop girl group reaching total global ubiquity and instantaneous virality without a full-length album to their name? And yet BLACKPINK have been announcing their plans for world domination since their first single, 2016’s “Boombayah”, when rapper Jennie Kim opened the song with the quartet’s now-illustrious slogan, “BLACKPINK in your area!” It was not a request or a demand—it was a declaration of arrival.

Jennie, Lisa (Lalisa Manoban), Rosé (Chae-young Park) and Jisoo (Ji-soo Kim) have been meticulously preparing for this moment since meeting as trainees in 2011: the release of their long-awaited debut LP, appropriately titled THE ALBUM. (If most new artists go the eponymous route for their definitive work, BLACKPINK have taken it a step further, claiming the format as a whole.) From their A-list collaborations (2018’s “Kiss and Make Up” with Dua Lipa, 2020’s “Sour Candy” with Lady Gaga) to their world-record-breaking hits “DDU-DU DDU-DU” and “Kill This Love”, BLACKPINK have worked hard with their long-time producer, YG Entertainment’s Teddy Park, to establish their sonic signatures: big, brassy production; sprightly raps; stacked multilingual harmonies; and genre-ambivalent transitions. On THE ALBUM, they’ve perfected the equation, offering saccharine girl-crush confections (“Ice Cream” with Selena Gomez, cowritten by Ariana Grande and Victoria Monét—their “pink” side) and fierce, no-nonsense empowerment messaging (“Pretty Savage”—their “black”) in equal measure.

Across eight tracks, THE ALBUM is expansive. “Bet You Wanna”, co-written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and BTS songwriter Melanie Joy Fontana, is BLACKPINK’s first collaboration with a rapper, the pre-eminent Cardi B. “Lovesick Girls” echoes big, loud and feminist Icona Pop-esque dance music, and “Love to Hate Me” is Y2K-era R&B pop worship. Even THE ALBUM’s closer “You Never Know” traverses unexpected territory: an anti-judgement anthem, a ballad for their beloved Blinks. How you like that?

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