Every BLACKPINK song, ranked
Written by ABR on 11/08/2022
The wait is nearly over: after a year or so of relative silence, BLACKPINK are emerging back into the world, inevitably armed with a new collection of hits on their forthcoming record Born Pink — due 16 September on YG — that’re guaranteed to smack us round the face like a stardust-doused lightstick.
Since they debuted six years ago this month, the K-pop group have firmly planted their feet into the modern history of pop music, breaking records globally, topping the charts in Asia and collaborating with everyone from Selena Gomez to Cardi B. In that time, they’ve dropped a modest number of tracks with juggernaut levels of impact. To mark their imminent return, here’s their entire musical catalogue, ranked.
24. Kick It
Part of the KILL THIS LOVE project, this track is about the push-and-pull reliance of a partner. Mixing acoustic elements with a guttural bass on its chorus, it’s loud but not hugely impactful. Even that punchy final bridge can’t elevate it from being anything bigger than a footnote in the K-Pop group’s career.
23. You Never Know
Part of their 2020 full length album, THE ALBUM, this ballad about what goes on beneath the surface, and never judging a book by its cover, is a little meandering and banal.
22. Hope Not
The softer side of BLACKPINK shines through in this ballad on the KILL THIS LOVE project. There’s some interesting writing here on the effects of loneliness and breakups, but you find yourself yearning to skip to something more smouldering.
In 2018, BLACKPINK dropped their SQUARE UP project featuring a track that sees the girls asking their imagined, coy other halves to open up and admit their love to them. It’s smooth and breezy, laced with bites of hip-hop production, but doesn’t punch as hard as the tracks around it do.
20. Ice Cream (ft. Selena Gomez)
The group turned to American pop royalty to appear on this track, part of their 2020 full length record. Co-written by Ariana Grande, it had the hard task of following the impeccable “How You Like That” and ultimately paled in comparison. Creamy and sweet lyrically, but its sonic colours are a little stale.
19. Crazy Over You
Armed with the kind of snake-charm, Timbaland-esque production that made the mid-2000s a hotbed for sexy R&B-laced pop, this is BLACKPINK at their most hectic and hot. The dangerous breakdown for the outro? Excellent.
18. Love to Hate Me
The trap production was dialled up to 10,000 on this track from their full length debut. Short, punchy and to the point.
The group were fully in their Taylor Swift self-titled bag when it came to this track from SQUARE UP. A country-twanged track with a simple, straightforward message, it’s frill free and serves its purpose.
16. Don’t Know What to Do
Heartbreak harbours all the violent energy of a city collapsing in an earthquake in this song from the KILL THIS LOVE project. The widescreen synth drop at the chorus? No notes!
15. Bet You Wanna (Ft. Cardi B)
By this point in time, K-Pop’s male groups and idols had slowly begun to attract western talent to feature on their tracks. BLACKPINK said “hold my drink” in 2020, snagging Cardi B — arguably the world’s hottest rapper at the time — to feature on this light love song. They have the rare flex of being the one act that managed to coax a clean verse out of the rapper.
14. Ready for Love
Acting as the segue track between their last era and the forthcoming one, Born Pink, BLACKPINK’s collaboration with PUBG Mobile didn’t really have to go this hard. And yet, it does! Delicious, to-the-point dance pop.
13. See U Later
The male species really did crumble the moment BLACKPINK dropped this track on their debut EP. What starts off as an acoustic guitar track soon ascends into this gut-shaking ‘fuck you’ anthem about waving goodbye to the men who’ve screwed you over. Iconic.
12. Pretty Savage
From Jennie’s purr in its opening through to the whistles of its conclusion, this is BLACKPINK music-making at its most audacious, sexy and smart.
11. Forever Young
When Jennie uttered the words “BLACKPINK is the revolution” on this track’s introduction, she cemented the band’s position in global pop culture. Flexing their take on Moombahton (that’s a genre that mixes elements of house and reggaeton), it’s stadium-filling stuff with a message that reverberates throughout their catalogue.
10. Sour Candy (with Lady Gaga)
When K-Pop’s brightest stars met the greatest pop star of her generation, people were killed. Nothing was ever the same again.
Pop songwriting is yet to reach the wild, iconic heights of this track’s opening line: “Make ‘em whistle like a missile / Bomb, bomb”. Bouncy, grossly catchy and a true BLACKPINK classic, it gives each member of the band the chance to flex their strongest performance skills. It’s a killer debut, and the live choreo slaps too.
8. Lovesick Girls
It could be argued that BLACKPINK are in their most effective state when they lean into the tropes of early 2010s EDM, pairing it with the most extreme lyrics about heartbreak. Case in point: “Lovesick Girls”, in which the band sings over a behemoth dance beat, “We were born to be alone”.
7. Playing With Fire
Another example of BLACKPINK’s immaculate early work, “Playing With Fire” leans into that aforementioned penchant for massive production and life-or-death lyricism. This live performance goes OFF too.
6. Kiss and Make Up (with Dua Lipa)
In the moments before Dua Lipa became the biggest pop star in the world, BLACKPINK linked up with her on this bonus track for her self-titled debut. What should have been a throwaway track actually went aggressively hard, winding up being a highlight in both artists’ wider catalogue.
5. As If It’s Your Last
Originally intended as a gift for their fans between records, this catchy, singalong track wound up being one of BLACKPINK’s best. After solely moody ‘Black’ tracks, they made their ‘pink’ debut with “As If It’s Your Last”, a mishmash of pop, house, reggae and moombahton.
4. Kill This Love
In 2019, as part of their self-titled record, BLACKPINK dropped the track that sent them stratospheric. For the first time, they broke the top 50 in the UK and US with this song, a track about the most extreme dissolution of a toxic relationship.
The band’s debut double single (paired with “Whistle”), featured this extreme, high-octane EDM number that hits you with the energy of a whack-a-mole hammer. Lyrically, it’s a cacophonic concoction: “F-You pay me”, “90s baby” and onomatopoeic ‘bad-a-bing’ sounds — but it symbolises everything that makes BLACKPINK great. Sometimes, it’s not so much about the deeper meaning, but the sugar rush feeling of being blasted with sounds so loud they leave your ears ringing.
2. Ddu-Du Ddu-Du
Speaking of cacophonic lyricism, it just so happens that another of BLACKPINK’s greatest tracks rely on nonsensical wordplay to get to the heart of an emotion; that indescribable feeling of being savage in the wake of a man screwing you over. The trick is that they channel it not like human beings but like superheroes, and as this 2018 song reaches its climactic chorus, you’re half expecting them to shoot off into the stratosphere like all-seeing beings that rule over earth. Sheer masterful madness.
1. How You Like That
It was the single that marked the arrival of their debut album, and thus their ascent into the realms of global K-Pop glory. “How You Like That” — a crystallised vision of all that makes the genre and the band great — is pop music with every dial spun to maximum. Dropping in the summer of 2020, the song and its accompanying video arrived with a fury and fervour that, to date, hadn’t been felt at this level, breaking five Guinness World Records within 24 hours of it dropping. Over 86 million people watched it within its first day online; 200 million in its first 7 days. The song itself plays a huge part in that — the verses passing effortlessly between each group member, from Rosé’s blissful segues into the crunch of the chorus. It combined the power of BLACKPINK’s harsh and soft sides, forming an IMAX-sized pop song with a killer video to boot. By the time that final lap comes around, and the women sing in unison — “Look up in the sky / It’s a bird, it’s a plane” — the song has proudly claimed its spot as one of the greatest in K-Pop history.
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