One of Blackpink’s problems thus far has been their inconsistency and their new single, “As If It’s Your Last”, is not exempt. Sonically, I can excuse this as they’ve only put out a few double sided singles and are trying to explore their overall sound. They haven’t yet established a “Blackpink” sort of sound and are still having difficulties separating themselves from the image of 2NE1 2.0 (especially difficult to achieve if their productions continue to use quirky synths and a reggae/dancehall base, the same foundation for much of 2NE1’s discography). However, Blackpink isn’t yet a year old and I can forgive these transgressions. But what I can’t excuse is the inconsistency in terms of quality. Their productions are either stellar or amateur. There’s no in between for this group so far and I shouldn’t be going into each of their releases with trepidation, wondering whether or not I’ll be disappointed.

Unfortunately, “As If It’s Your Last” falls into the “extremely disappointed” category. It starts off with so much potential: the echoey whistle sound, the playful drums (also a unique choice…is that actual drums in those verses??), and the mix of overall darker, minor-based synths with a thoroughly major melodic vocal line and horn section. The pre-hook isn’t as good and the sudden tonal shift into country-inspired guitar is jarring, but Rose’s voice carries us through well enough. This sound isn’t a total shock either as they’ve explored it on tracks like “Whistle”, one of their better songs. But what officially lost this song for me was the lackluster chorus. The synths are uncomplex and lack balance and any sort of diversity or support. It’s literally just 2 synths circa undeveloped pop music circa 2007 with an 808 beat. The production of the chorus sounds like a demo and doesn’t match the quirky originality of the first verse, let alone come close to the level of production I’ve come to expect after tracks like “Whistle” and “Playing With Fire”. Even Lisa, who is usually an indispensable additions to Blackpink’s tracks, sounds disjointed and harsh at the chorus and into the second verse, a grating opposition to the instrumentation (or maybe it’s just so bad that nothing would sound good with it) and I can’t help but feel “As If It’s Your Last” would have been better off without her part. And this doesn’t even take into account the awkward English and Lisa’s uncomfortable (and incorrect) use of the word “finna”.

I hope Blackpink doesn’t pursue this mediocre sort of sound in their future. I know they can bring great tracks because “Playing With Fire” was one of my favorite releases of 2016. But they have yet to show me they can be consistently good and it’s difficult to get hyped for their next release if I’m let down half the time. In terms of inconsistent releases, it’s only fair their to assume that their next track will be fire. But will it be good enough to make me forget “As If It’s Your Last”? I don’t know. We’ll see…

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