[Paper Magazine = Erica Russell] With a fanbase and impact as large and as international in scale as BLACKPINK's, it's easy to forget the K-pop foursome made their debut a little more than three years ago. SQUARE ONE their first singles album released in 2016, only contained two tracks, but they were heavy-hitters: the melodic drum 'n' bass hit "Whistle," which topped the Korean charts, and the razor-sharp dance banger "Boombayah," which earned the group their first Billboard World Digital Songs chart No. 1. The release was a promise of sensational things to come, like the band's history-making 2019 Coachella set, during which they became the first K-pop girl group to perform at the event. Also making history this past year? The girls' record-shattering single "Kill This Love," which became the biggest-ever music video debut on YouTube at the time, earning 56.7 million views in its first 24 hours (and beating out Ariana Grande'siconic "thank u, next" video in the process). It also earned the group a nomination at the MTV Video Music Awards, landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — as well as the Billboard Digital World Songs chart, where it crowned at No. 1 — and racked up a staggering 253 million streams on Spotify since its April 4 release.
Beyond the numbers though, BLACKPINK's booming 2019 single is a perfect sonic synthesis of members Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa and Rosé's fiery brand of global girl power, and effortlessly captures what makes them so special — their palpable chemistry and kinetic energy — while simultaneously delivering one of the most addictive hooks of the year. It also packs a message we could all stand to learn from: burn those toxic relationships to the ground and don't look back. (That grody boy who won't return your texts after you hooked up? "Kill this love." That admittedly delicious restaurant chain you found out doesn't offer its employees fair wages or overtime? "Kill this love." That charismatic political candidate you were going to vote for 'til you found out they blocked pro-clean energy legislature in the past? "KILL THIS LOVE!")
The song is also an explosive culmination of the musical styles that ruled the last decade, incorporating the maximalist, neon-hued electro-pop of the early 2010s; the skittering trap beats and slick rap verses of the latter part of the decade; a swaggering vocal delivery that commands attention; and the kind of big, floor-shaking beat drops that have flooded clubs in recent years. It's an air horn blast of a pop track: unapologetically loud and impossible to ignore. Even its music video is an unrelenting onslaught of audio-visual stimulation, clobbering viewers with glossy digital effects (like a giant bear trap that, at one point, threatens to snap around the girls as they dance), eye-popping fashion and mesmerizing whiplash choreography. That thunderous horn that kicks off the track isn't just an intro — it's a warning. "BLACKPINK in your area," indeed, and we hope they stay awhile.