BLACKPINK finally dropped their much-anticipated debut music video, “Whistle”, which didn’t quite live up to the hype but showed promise if you remember that they’re just rookies.
The instrumental is distinctive but understated, so while it makes an immediate impact it doesn’t need the loudness to do it, which was impressive. Furthermore, the vocals during the verses were sensual and emotional while still maintaining the lowkey vibe that I enjoyed.
The pre-chorus is probably going to impress a lot of fans, but I thought it was unfortunate in that it sounded like it became a different song entirely. Sure, it had a more typical K-pop run so fans can say “omg my bias so talented” or whatever, but it was a jarring switch from what they had established previously and didn’t seem to make all that much sense. That said, I understand the reasoning behind it, because it build and builds and then drops an anti-chorus of sorts that mainly revolves around the instrumental.
As such, a lot of what you feel about this song depends on how you feel about the instrumental. For me, while I enjoyed a lot of aspects of it, including how it establishes itself and the titular whistle effects, the main problem I had is that nothing really connects with me or stands out. That’s a problem I have with a lot of instrumental anti-chorus songs, and this isn’t any exception despite the fact that I was drawn to it initially. It’s almost impressive that it doesn’t drag as much as it really should, but that speaks more to how well BLACKPINK execute than anything with the track.
Perhaps most noteworthy is the rapping portions, where whatever manipulation Jennie is using on her voice isn’t working. She sounds like a low-rent Kisum that has a lisp, and it’s grating to listen to. That’s especially so during the chorus when she’s doing the “ba-dum ba-dum ba-dum” section, and it’s unfortunate because she has the swag and all that down, just not the skills it seems. Fortunately, Lisa was there and she was a lot more natural and smooth with it, and while she might not be a great rapper I think she can do adequately for the idol group’s requirements.
Visually, the music video was impressive for a variety of reasons, starting with the visuals of the girls themselves. They all look great and their established image sets a high baseline and it all helps them exude charisma. The comparisons to early 2NE1 are inevitable, and while they’re not that charismatic yet, this was definitely a good start.
Also impressive visually were the variety of sets and the colors used. Furthermore, one can see immediately the influence of the director of Red Velvet‘s “Dumb Dumb“, which is definitely a positive.
From the members sitting around the table to the shots of the members in a car, the parallels were obvious, but most importantly was the use of static subjects and using camera movement, zooms, and tilts to create the action and life instead of getting busy with the editing or making the subjects themselves go nuts.
Even if the song lost me at points, the music video kept me visually engaged.
If you loved the “Whistle” instrumental and enjoyed the anti-chorus composition of the track, then I could see how one would come away with a different opinion of the song than me. But it’s just difficult to say anything I heard made me want to hit the replay button or that I would be remembering this track at this time tomorrow. It’s not bad or anything, it’s just that for the most part “Whistle” is just … there.
That said, they were able to showcase a lot of their potential, they’re visually impressive, and the music video was definitely well done, so there seems to be a bright future ahead even if this track lets them down more than it helps.