Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Dua Lipa & Blackpink – Kiss and Make Up

Are we the forgiving type?


Jessica Doyle: The other day, leaving the supermarket, I glanced at the magazine racks and saw a pop-issue devoted solely to BTS. Dang, I thought, maybe this K-pop-increasing-in-global-prominence thing really is happening. And now here’s another milestone: a perfunctory, spiritless collab where the invitation came from the Western side.

Katie Gill: This is definitely a Dua Lipa song that Blackpink got invited to collaborate on, not anything that the two worked on together. Which means that unfortunately for Blackpink, they’re stuck on a middle of the road Dua Lipa song. Everybody’s voice is amazing: all the women get to show off their lower registers to beautiful effect. But the song itself is third single filler: boring lyrics with a boring hook.

Alfred Soto: On first listen the fader tomfoolery and decent hook compensate for the invention; on second listen the kinetics create the impression that “Kiss and Make Up” has something to say, and the fader tomfoolery remains such.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “Touch me like you touch nobody” is a compelling phrasing of an old lyrical conceit, and Dua continues her hot streak, providing a charismatic performance on the first run through the verse-pre-chorus-chorus that sets the tone well for the rest of the song. The song itself is a bit too slight to support the full integration of all four parts of Blackpink, but not for lack of trying. Yet in the end, “Kiss and Make Up” feels deeply unnecessary, both in neither-here-nor-there position it holds in the discographies of both artist and group and in its overall attempt to bridge pop styles. Even with that in mind, though, the song is fun enough to not wear out its welcome.

Nortey Dowuona: Tapping bass synths wash ashore with flat, clattering percussion as Dua Lipa glides over it all without picking up a thing, while Blackpink sink into the production and swirl it into cotton candy around them to float out of the mush.

Vikram Joseph: This sounds instantly recognisable — that buzzing, burrowing hook which screams early-2010s pop, the achingly familiar chorus melody — but feels full of character, loose-limbed and breathless. It’s elevated by spacious, clubby production and an oscillating left ear-right ear trick that succeeds in drawing me deeper into the song, which reveals itself as an atmospheric, idiosyncratic bilingual banger.

Matias Taylor: As of late, pop stars have been shying away from hyper-kinetic, unabashedly catchy bangers so it’s refreshing to hear a major-pop-star-pop-song so urgent and frantic it basically interrupts itself to launch into the chorus. Blackpink show up halfway sounding as clipped and polished as the expensive-sounding synths behind them. Their earnest, brassy performance contrasts well with Dua’s underrated ability to emote while maintaining an impossibly cool, detached aloofness.

Juan F. Carruyo: Cool vocoder intro that’s probably the third coolest thing about this song. Dem-bow riddim contributes to a heavy tropical feel that’s probably not as in vogue as it used to be. However, the best thing about this is how the melody constantly rides the upbeats in syncopation, both in the “ayayayayay” that denotes the pre-chorus and after in the bridge. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Much like the generic dancehall beat that Banx & Ranx provided for boy band Rak-Su, “Kiss and Make Up” benefits from having production that’s tastefully inoffensive. Anything too flashy would distract from the vocals, and there’s plenty of fun sing-along moments that allow for a personal insertion of personality. That titular line can be sung with the lustful wink of “Put your hands all up on me,” the casual directness of “This love’s important/don’t want to lose you this way,” or the anxious desperation of “Can we work this whole thing out?” And at the very least, it’s as amusing to replicate as Rosé’s “I, I, I, I” sequence. Your personal Choose Your Own Adventure, where taking part in the journey is more exciting than the familiar end result.

Alex Clifton: I like Dua Lipa and Blackpink both, but…

Reader average: [4.66] (12 votes)

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