Just like with their debut, BLACKPINK dropped two singles and two music videos for their comeback, and since “Playing With Fire” was already covered, we’re now left with “Stay“. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know this is the least likely type of idol track to gain any traction with me, and yet it managed to actually make me write about it.
The tempo of the instrumental is slow and nondescript to start, so my inclination was to skip “Stay”, hence why I reviewed this after “Playing With Fire” to begin with. And while I still liked that effort a lot more, BLACKPINK actually made me enjoy this campy mess of a folk song. While the tempo crawls along and the use of a guitar invoked images of a generic white dude with long hair playing in his college dorm (“WONDERWALL,” BITCHES!), what kept my interest is that the pace of the vocals is rather rapid as it builds in volume towards the chorus.
Speaking of the chorus, once that hits, the tempo picks up and a clapping effect is added to the instrumental. That makes everything a lot more fun to listen to and while the volume does pick up, the chorus somehow resists the temptation for high-note vocal wank and instead opts for an anti-climax of sorts at the end. Kudos for both not giving in to standard expectations in the construction of the song as well as giving us a payoff for the build with the foot-tapping chorus.
While the rap sections are a weird inclusion in a song like this and seems like it’s shoehorned in just to give Lisa something to do, I actually didn’t mind it in this. Lisa uses her normal voice without the tryhard attitude garbage, and the rapping is not a whole lot different from the verses with pace, so I would argue it didn’t sound that out of place.
While “Stay” probably still isn’t something I’d search out to listen to on the regular, it is a rare song at this tempo that I can enjoy listening to all the way throughout. The fact that it’s not actually a ballad and doesn’t pretend to be helps, as it stays (heh heh heh) within its range, going for minimal high notes and sticking to the concept of the song throughout just like it should. Hell, even if I didn’t find the track listenable, I feel like it deserves credit just for that alone.
The music video is basically all about the aesthetic, and it looks good.
Not sure if it was intentional, but I liked the mirroring of the ribbon-covered statue and Rose‘s jacket/hair in particular.
Unfortunately, there were also cliched, campy-ass scenes that could easily be described as cringe, but it’s K-pop and I did like it visually overall anyway.
“Stay” is actually a weird choice at this point in BLACKPINK’s career path. It’s a slow-paced melancholy acoustic track, and it’s basically made for nostalgia … or perhaps that’s the whole point? To be able to call back to this track 10 years down the road (AKA one comeback later) and use it to remember their careers seems like the perfect way for this to be used.
Either way, just the fact that I’m writing a review for “Stay” is a win for the song in itself. Normally, I would just throw it into the pile of tempo-deficient idol tracks where they try to be artsy and use vocal wank for credibility points with fans, but after listening to “Stay” I found I actually rather enjoyed it for what it was.
‘Square Two’ Album