The instrumental of “Playing With Fire” has a reggae-esque feel to it that makes it an easy listen and immediately appealing to me. It provides an excellent foundation for the track to build on, and the potential is seen through during the hook when it gets into the memorable territory. Furthermore, the way the vocals were executed and constructed only amplified the effectiveness of the general sound.
An opinion that is sure to run opposite cries of “YASSSSS RAP QUEEN” regards Lisa‘s entire role in this track. Her rapping was acceptably ignorable to me prior to this, but it was distracting on this comeback because she seemed to be doing her best impression of CL‘s intonation and flow. I suppose it’s an attempt to inject the same attitude into her rap while trying to use that to cover for a lack of skill, and it’s not her fault since that’s what she’s being taught, but it just comes off as artificial on this track.
On the other hand, I’m intrigued by Jennie‘s vocal. While she’s not the one tasked with vocal wanking and high notes — thus I’m guessing she’ll be derided for not being able to sing or whatever shitty logic netizens will use — her vocal sections on the track are the ones I enjoyed most. She’s easily recognizable, making her parts her own, and sits nicely into the lower and middle registers that are underappreciated in K-pop.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to the rest of “Playing With Fire”, and think it’s easily their best effort yet. It’s not something that’s immediately an earworm, but I can definitely see this having longevity, and personally I enjoyed the “look at me, look at me now” portion right off the bat. Presumably, this means it will flop on the charts, so I’m sorry to BLACKPINK.
As far as the music video goes, it’s visually quite appealing, both for the members and the sets.
Unfortunately, the choreography seemed simple and amateurish to me (again, I don’t know shit about dance).
That aside, while the concept was something we’ve seen before from 2NE1, they at least pulled it off with some level of believability that dodged cringe for the most part (besides some Lisa sections).
So far, “Playing With Fire” is BLACKPINK’s best single to date, as it’s passively enjoyable at worst and sneaky catchy and addictive at best. There are some problems, as I’ve highlighted, but for the most part they’ve managed to avoid major pitfalls with this release and have managed to cash in on some of their potential.
‘Square Two’ Album
“Playing With Fire” Song