The solo debut of BLACKPINK‘s Jennie with “SOLO” always seemed a bit confusing, both the timing of it by YG Entertainment and the rather vague buildup for it through the teasers. However, she’s always gorgeous and Teddy was producing, so I figured if nothing else it would result in an average hype song. For better or worse, that wasn’t quite the case.
“SOLO” was definitely surprising in a way, because with Teddy at the helm I thought the instrumental would be a lot busier. However, for the most part it’s kept rather simple, with the booming bass carrying it throughout. That minimalist atmosphere can be good or bad depending on the ability of the artist to carry it, but Jennie isn’t quite up to the task. There’s a certain feeling of emptiness to the whole effort, and I’m not sure the rest of the members couldn’t compensated for Teddy’s choices, but it probably would’ve felt a lot better.
The pre-chorus was one of the highlights of the effort, where you can feel the build through the foundation going up the scale. However, instead of a quality chorus or even a decent drop, there’s just a similarly sparse instrumental played before she speaks “bichi naneun solo” (I do wish it was “bitch naneun solo” too) and later “I’M GOING SOLO LO LO LO LO LO” is like yodeled out. It honestly doesn’t do anything at all, not even in a way where it’s annoying to you now but might grow on you later because of the lack of melody to it.
Well, she was definitely attractive in the music video at least.
Anyway, not to be an apologist for Jennie, but much of the lack of appeal that “SOLO” has falls on Teddy’s production. From the start to finish it felt uncharacteristically flat, and it’s hard to figure what exactly this does for either Jennie or BLACKPINK that a group comeback wouldn’t have accomplished better. If the rest of the group do actually end up getting their own solo releases, then hopefully they’re at least all in a different vein from this.