2022 is a glorious year for the world-famous BLACKPINK, but the girl group also suffer from a fair share of controversies
As the 2nd girl group to debut under YG Entertainment (following 2NE1), BLACKPINK has been drawing attention since day 1. The group come from YG’s PINKPUNK project, which was expected to form a 9-member girl group, only to result in the 4-member lineup of BLACKPINK. At first, BLACKPINK was constantly compared to their senior 2NE1, but now, 6 years into their career, they have been named “Entertainer of the Year” and enjoy popularity both in and outside of Korea.
Outstanding return with full album and world tour “Born Pink”
BLACKPINK is perhaps one of the most curious cases in the Kpop industry, seeing that most other artists have to make frequent comebacks to retain their fame. However, after releasing their 1st full album “The Album” in 2020, the girl group spent almost 2 years with no group activities, instead focusing on solo promotions. It was only until August of 2022 did BLACKPINK finally drop their 2nd full album, “BORN PINK”.
After 2 years with no group releases, fans of BLACKPINK were more excited than ever. The MV for BLACKPINK’s pre-release song “Pink Venom” achieved over 90 million YouTube views within 24 hours, making it the most viewed MV of a female artist on YouTube in the first day of release. In addition, “Pink Venom” surpassed 100 million views after just 1 day, 5 hours, and 36 minutes, making BLACKPINK the fastest Kpop artist to achieve such a number in 2022, and the fastest girl group to do so in the history of Kpop.
At the same time, “BORN PINK” also set a new record for girl group physical albums with over 2 million copies being pre-ordered. BLACKPINK also landed on top of Billboard 200, while “BORN PINK” was selected as one of Billboard’s best albums in 2022, and title song “Shut Down” as one of the best songs of the year. In addition, “Shut Down” is the only song from a Kpop girl group to debut at No.1 on the global Spotify Weekly Top Song chart.
In 2022, BLACKPINK also returned with their world tour BORN PINK. The girl group has finished the North American and European leg, and is preparing to kickstart the Asian leg of their tour. With their remarkable popularity and strong fanbase, BLACKPINK earned huge profits from their performances, attracting numerous fans to every single concert night. In fact, their concert in Newark, USA, alone, has earned BLACKPINK over 3 million USD, leading to a phenomenal accumulated number for the tour. In addition, alongside BLINKs (fans of BLACKPINK), a lot of neutral Kpop fans also came to the show just to enjoy the atmosphere and witness one of the world’s top girl groups.
On the other hand, footage of BLACKPINK during soundcheck, performance, backstage, and send-off all became viral across the net. One movement of the group can become the talk of town, while their outfits easily set off new trends. It is simply impossible to deny the sheer impact that BLACKPINK has summoned in this world tour of them.
Critically acclaimed by global experts
While BLACKPINK has only released 2 full albums in their entire career, it was enough for the girl group to show maturity in their discography. In particular, “BORN PINK” is shorter than “The Album”, yet it comprises various different genres, ranging from hip-hop, pop, disco, to ballad and pop-rock. The American media Rolling Stone even described BLACKPINK as a global pop sensation, taking over the US without any warning of what’s about to come.
However, after the release of “Shut Down” and “BORN PINK”, fans started to worry that BLACKPINK would not renew their contract with YG Entertainment. Analysis of this supposed termination based on details in the “Shut Down” MV gained a lot of interaction, especially when the MV seems to pay tribute to previous works of BLACKPINK. For example, there are iconic scenes from other MVs like “Boombayah” and “Lovesick Girls”, and the action of “shutting the door” in the end scene lead can be inferred as an ending.
6 years after their debut, BLACKPINK is named 2022’s Entertainer of the Year by Time Magazine, and it’s true that their career has been glorious. The girl group’s impact does not stop at music alone, but also transpires to other realms like fashion and acting. At the moment, BLACKPINK is a role model and aspiration of various other artists and entertainment agencies.
Controversies about styles and quality of music
BLACKPINK’s journey to global popularity has a strong connection to Teddy and his production crew. When BLACKPINK dropped the pre-released track “PINK VENOM,” Korean critics were highly critical of the song for a hyper-focus on image promotion, not music quality. When “PINK VENOM” came out, the song was criticized for having a “similar structure” with “How You Like That” and was a “setback” in their discography.
Teddy’s strength and style lie in the combination of Hip-hop and electronic music. He has applied the formula in almost all of his production for BLACKPINK. Nonetheless, “branding creation” is a double-edged sword when tough listeners and stern critics will not easily be pleased with formulaic songs. Therefore, BLACKPINK often comes into criticism for “catchy but not profound” tracks, a supposed weakness of Teddy.
“Shut Down” was considered a “clapback” to quality scandals. The track received positive reviews from world-famous music magazines and serious consideration from the critics by sampling the classic “La Campanella” by Niccolò Paganini.
BLACKPINK is able to successfully convey the “trendsetting” images with the support from top designers. Nevertheless, their ties with luxury brands are often thought to instill image-centric thinking in the youth and build unhealthy shopping habits. Their enthusiastic fashion promotion in the face of sparse music releases often received complaints from outsiders to be distracted from the field they were supposed to be “better at.”
While the group only had two albums in the year, each member has made to the magazine covers many times.
Jennie was embroiled in the most scandals this year when she was caught in an alleged date with V (BTS) right before their comeback. The news spread rapidly and sent the internet into a frenzy. Jennie’s private life was scrutinized and talked about.
During the “BORN PINK” World Tour, Jennie’s sexy and bold image was frequently criticized for “deviating from the ‘idol’ norm” and was “too liberal” while their concert performances could still be improved.
Although BLACKPINK has had a hard-working year with many successes simply from the figures, the actual works from the group did not gain much attention due to various reasons. They might be able to build a brand for themselves, but at the expense of accompanied malice.
With rising popularity and shifting competition in the industry, BLACKPINK is thriving to be a central artist on the global market based on their deep influence.