Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Blackpink – Ddu-du Ddu-du

How ddu we feel about them this go-round?


Alex Clifton: Blackpink nearly doubled their entire extant discography with the release of a four-song EP, and yet they managed to give us their weakest single yet. “Ddu-du” works far better for Jennie and Lisa’s rapping skills — Jennie’s second verse is the best bit of the song — but the Jisoo/Rosé vocal line is given vague lines about “go ahead and test me” that they never really sell. Moreover, those last 30 seconds kill the energy with a drop that comes out of nowhere. A song that should have been way more straightforward for maximum impact. 

John Seroff: Manic, maximalist fun that’s as compulsively binge-worthy as anything in the Fifth Harmony catalogue. Bonus point for a luxurious and gonzo video that features a disco ball tank and a fennec fox.

Maxwell Cavaseno: There was a world where Blackpink continued in the direction “As If It’s Your Last” hinted at, where they avoided the pitfall of having to prove every single record is a monstrous smash, and where they could find an identity, avoid the obvious 2NE1 Replacement Debt they were unfairly given, and turn the page for the rapidly old-hat-looking YG Entertainment. Then someone decided what we needed was a generic hook, a bunch of beat drops, and rhinestone-plated tanks. Lisa’s secretly become a much better rapper than CL ever was, but this group still threatens to capsize under the weight of its own opulence, without actually good songs to buoy them.

Michelle Myers: I honestly preferred Blackpink when they were a vehicle for whatever leftover material from 2NE1’s unfinished third album was in the YG basement. Jennie’s verse is thrilling, but Rosé is underutilized, Jisoo is awkward, and whoever is writing Lisa’s raps should probably stop.

Will Rivitz: A beat that should have been left in about 2014, a prechorus that sounds like it was sewn in from the scraps of another song entirely, a gloriously inane hook, and yet I’ve listened to it about ten dozen times since it came out — yep, Blackpink is back. Plus, would it really be a Blackpink song without at least one incredible, infinitely memorable and colossally stupid line repeated a few times? (What are you coming through with, Lisa? Unparalleled swagger and confidence? A killer outfit? A nice book recommendation? A dog? How can I knew what I’m gonna do without knowing that?) (Are dogs even allowed in the club?)

Katie Gill: Somewhere, some K-pop exec wrote a chorus, couldn’t find a song to put it with, and slapped it at the end of this piece. Did we really need that last “fire” thirty seconds when we were already doing ddu-du du? Blackpink bring the energy and deliver their lines with braggadocio that the music video unfortunately can’t match. But structurally, it’s a bit weird.

Katherine St Asaph: Garish, maximalist and messy — the exact opposite of US pop’s chronic illness of chill. I can’t tell whether that’s making me over- or underrate this.

Ryo Miyauchi: “Ddu-du Ddu-du” shifts shape every other section like an EDM-pop puzzle to crack, and its last robotic roar is admittedly thrilling. But the constant change of environment conceals the fact that they haven’t quite figured out how the rap and vocal sections ought to work in relation to each other. Everyone gets to share the stage, but no one feels as though they’ve had enough airtime to get out all of what they want to say.

Alfred Soto: There’s enough going on rhythmically to threaten my woofers, and the drops surprise me. Not enough to distinguish the singers, but that’s my fault.

Jessica Doyle: I mean, I know the storyline that YG won’t give these women a break is both shopworn and underinformed, but it feels kind of typical at this point that “Ddu-du Ddu-du” only starts getting interesting after everyone’s finished singing.

Anjy Ou: A noisy, plodding mess. The vocals are uninspired, the rapping is dull save Jennie in verse two (bless her, these two points are hers and hers alone), and the belting in the pre-chorus leads you nowhere — the only thing indicating that it’s a chorus is a “point” dance move. The girls think they’re talking a good game as empowered, badass chicks, but it’s painfully obvious they’re not the ones holding the pistols. I highly doubt that, if given the choice, they would choose “2NE1 but younger/hotter/skinnier” as their gimmick. It’s not their fault that the spectre of the older group lingers — their management has stuck them with Teddy as songwriter/producer/director(???), who can’t seem to find that dynamism that made me love his work with CL et al. If you’re here for an in-your-face girl group, BananaLemon is much more convincing. If you’re here for the music, you’re better off going back and listening to 2NE1.

Reader average: [4.25] (16 votes)

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8 Responses to “Blackpink – Ddu-du Ddu-du”

  1. Imagine scoring this less than an 8

  2. Right? Can we all agree the choreo is a 10 at least…

  3. forever young >>>>>> this whole EP

  4. I prefer “Really.” Or any of their 2016 songs. MV is a solid 8/10. I like these girls, I just wish YGent would let them branch out and work with producers other than Teddy.

  5. Forever Young is definitely the best song on the mini, but the final minute is frustrating.

    This song, however, is pretty awful. Loved Whistle and As If It’s Your Last but everything about this feels like it’s made out of a really obvious template. Every single rap part feels purely functional, which I would be ok with for most K-pop songs, but it sort of feeds into how trite this sounds. The biggest thing that makes me dislike this is how the country section is both uninspired and unimpressively implemented (compare with the two aforementioned songs and Bae Bae).

  6. I agree that they need to branch out more. But considering that they took a year to release four Teddy songs, and that all of them except Ddu du were old (Forever Young was recorded back in 2015, before they even debuted), it doesn’t seem like that will happen anytime soon.

  7. for me i think it’s more about the girls being stuck with this sound – Teddy is out here cranking out certified bops for queen sunmi and BP just gets this mess

  8. I don’t think Blackpink have found a compelling identity of their own yet, but their continued success sure shows the industry that we need more girl groups with a ‘cool’ sound.