[Review] BLACKPINK return with a grating mish-mash of sounds on “Kill This Love”

BLACKPINK‘s “DDU-DU DDU-DU” didn’t captivate me immediately upon release, but over time I found the hook and the instrumental addictive enough to put it on the year-end list of 2018’s best. For whatever reason, people were upset about that, as many preferred “Forever Young“. However, as the former grew on me, the latter’s instrumental wore over time.

I rehash all this because with the much-anticipated release of “Kill This Love“, I get the feeling it ends up a lot more like “Forever Young” than “DDU-DU DDU-DU”.

The remarkable thing about “Kill This Love” is that it manages to attack the listener with a grating combination of brass and distortion but still manages to not be able to use that noise to make it feel anywhere near as anthemic as it wants to be. It’s surprisingly downbeat at its core and there’s never much the way of a decent melody.

When it comes to producers trying different things, I try to keep an open mind, but this just didn’t come together for me on any level. The flow utilized during the rap verses isn’t to my taste regardless, but the vocal effects used on Jennie‘s quasi-rap (Lisa‘s was fine) and then during Jisoo‘s sung pre-chorus were just a baffling choice as it washed out a lot of their individuality and added an unpleasant piercing effect to their parts. By far the best part of the song followed in the form of Rose‘s unburdened vocal, as she takes the baton from Jisoo and successfully builds and builds to the chorus.

At this point, “Kill This Love” is still salvageable as long as the said chorus delivers. Unfortunately, it somehow manages to be both underwhelming and noisily grating at the same time. There’s honestly not a whole lot going on other than tooting brass pipes that quickly irritate and an occasional drum pound, which creates a slog of an instrumental and kills any momentum the song was building. The “let’s kill this love” line would be fine enough as a hook, but it’s just repeated intermittently and the rest of the chorus isn’t fleshed out at all despite the instrumental having ample gaps to fill.

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It’s hard to find much that I enjoyed about “Kill This Love” other than select sections here or there. It was visually impressive and the girls themselves did their best, but baffling production choices somehow made this come off both a bit irritating and surprisingly flat. The song should do well on the charts and all that, but it’s difficult to see this growing on me like their other efforts have, as I think the more you listen to it the more apparent the flaws become.

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