20160901_seoulbeats_blackpink2YG Entertainment has finally debuted its much-anticipated girl group and, like its predecessors, Black Pink embodies a strong bad girl image. The comparisons to 2NE1 are clearly warranted. They have four members, the music is very hip hop, the styling is very urban, and the ‘good to be bad’ concept is certainly the kicker. However, I wanted to look closely at the lyrics of the group’s two debut songs to see how far YG is willing to go with the bad girl concept; and to my surprise, the lyrics weren’t quite what I expected.

Aside from being musically spectacular, these songs go much deeper than your generic bubblegum pop. On the surface, “Boombayah” seems like your typical hype song serving the purpose of introducing the group’s members, much in line with 2NE1’s “Fire,” but a look at the song’s rap verses reveal that there’s more to it. “Whistle” is very sentimental, more in line with 2NE1’s “Lonely,” yet the lyrics reveal a much more “Ugly” side that I don’t think many people would expect from a rookie group.

Keep in mind that the lyrics presented have been roughly translated and may not represent the original views of the artist. Please react accordingly.

“Boombayah” starts out as your typical debut song with some basic hype lyrics but it soon takes a dark turn in the middle of Jennie’s rap in the first verse.


Been a bad girl, I know I am

And I’m so hot, I need a fan

I don’t want a boy, I need a man


Click clack botta bing botta boom

All eyes on me when I step in the room

Everybody staring like “who that damn”

I pull my glock in the air like bam bam bam

Gettin dumb on the drum like rum pum pum pum

Cause a girl’s gotta eat like nom nom nom nom

Hands up, I hit ‘em with a bottle full of Henny

I’m that girl on the news, the most wanted, Jennie

The bad girl concept goes a bit overboard here as the implication seems to be that the group is conducting some sort of robbery. The violent imagery certainly plays a big part in conveying this message but I’m not so convinced that this is precisely the direction they’re heading. Let’s examine Lisa’s rap on the second verse for further context.


20160901_seoulbeats_blackpink5Got sirens in my ear like see if I care

Pedal to the metal cause I have no fear

Middle finger up, F U pay me

90s baby, I pump up the jam

Hop in my getaway, o look it’s a Lambo

Russian Roulette, to Macau I go gamble

Each Rose has its thorns but this one’s a bramble

I spit hot fire like brrrr, Rambo

That certainly convinced me. They’ve clearly just robbed a bank or something as there’s a reference to a getaway. There’s also some 90s references thrown in there to cash in on the nostalgia of older fans. YG certainly knows its audience. Let’s skip to the outro and see where they’re going with all this.

By night we’ll get drunk and get lifted way up high

Up in a cloud that’s floating in the sky

By day we’ll just run cause forever we gon’ ride

If we get caught they won’t ever take us alive

Let’s go, let’s go

The outro certainly drives home the point that Black Pink is some form of crime squad whose members enjoy getting cross faded while evading the cops. I’m not yet sold that this group is a badder version of 2NE1 but it’s certainly a good effort.

Now that we’ve seen their bad side, it’s time to take a peek at the group’s soft side with “Whistle.” I imagine it’s about the angst and heartbreak of not being noticed by a boy man and how they desire for their male love interest to ‘whistle’ at them as some figurative form of romantic pursuit. Let’s look at the lyrics and see if that’s what it’s about.


Make ’em whistle like
 a missile, bomb bomb

Every time I show up
, blow up

Make ’em whistle like
 a missile, bomb bomb

Every time I show up, 
blow up

Lisa begins the song with this haunting verse which we’re not sure exactly what it means. It’ll also return at the end of the song so perhaps the verses will provide some context.


That starry night, I can’t forget

The screams in back and up ahead

The scene comes back into my head

Your voice rings loud like boom boom

We get some backstory from Rose’s verse as we learn that she hears a person’s voice ringing loudly in her head. From this, we know that the voice in her head comes from someone she knows as she is addressing this person directly. In a sense, this makes this unknown person the intended audience of the song, the person she is talking to. We also get some violent imagery of people screaming which tells us that something traumatic may have happened to the narrator and to the person she is speaking to.


20160901_seoulbeats_blackpink_jennieTwenty four, three sixty five

I only want to run and hide

During the day and late at night

The thoughts still hurt like ooh ooh


I get these visions like every day

They play with my mind in like every way

I try to forget but they won’t go away

I want to get better but I’m not ok

When it’s bad I tremble like shake shake

I want to be cool but I ain’t like chic chic

So hot so hot, wake up in the night scared

A voice calling to me like a whistle in my ear

After Lisa and Jennie deliver their lines, we get a sense of just how severe the narrator’s condition is, with her stating that it may at times cause her to tremble, sweat, and wake up in the middle of the night.



Stop and listen for a moment

Make it stop cause I don’t want it

Where it comes from I don’t know it


My heart feels like it’s on fire

My heartbeat’s getting higher

I can hear it getting closer now

Closer and closer now, that



Whistle whistle whistle

Can you hear that

Whistle whistle whistle

The chorus addresses the voice as a whistle but it also incites visions in the narrator’s mind so this mysterious whistle may also be conveying messages or perhaps providing glimpses of the past.


Hold up, it’s like a dart

Just whistle to my heart

It has no end, it has no start

My heart pounds like boom boom


20160901_seoulbeats_blackpink_lisaListen hard, to what he says

Stop and wait, shh

Every day, all day

My thoughts race like zoom zoom


Uh, I’m always hidin’

All this pain cause on the inside I’m dyin’

It’s getting hot in here like a desert island

Each time I gotta hear it I feel like cryin’

I hesitate cause when I get to checkmate

I realize there’s no way for me to win

I fight it but there’s no one to confide in

I can’t breath in this ocean I’ve drowned in

Lisa’s part in the second verse is probably the most heartbreaking as she conveys that this voice has basically driven her to the point of dying. Skipping past the repeated bridge and the chorus, the bridge before the outro may provide some clues on what is it that’s causing her condition.

This beat got me feelin’ like

All this time I’ve had no regret

But this voice won’t let me forget

All that I’ve done can’t be undone

Your whisper in my head

Reminds me that you’re dead

It isn’t until the bridge before the outro that we get the most revealing line of the song: “Your whisper in my head reminds me that you’re dead.” From this, we can conclude that she’s been hearing the voice of a dead person all along, perhaps from someone she’s previously loved. She’s also clearly filled with regret for something she did which may have lead to the cause of his death. Lisa’s haunting verse appears again at the end of the song.


Make ’em whistle like
 a missile, bomb bomb

Every time I show up
, blow up

Make ’em whistle like
 a missile, bomb bomb

Every time I show up, 
blow up

20160901_seoulbeats_blackpink7This was not at all what I expected. Instead of your typical pop song about love and longing, this is clearly a vivid depiction of a disturbed mind. The lyrics seem to have been pulled straight from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” with a narrator hearing voices that are driving her towards insanity.

However, beneath the descriptions of madness, there’s also a tragic and poignant story that is being told. Notice that Lisa’s verse of making them “whistle like a missile” serves as the intro and the outro of the song. We’re not quite sure what it may mean in the beginning but by the end of the song, the message becomes more clear. The verse is what the narrator has been hearing the entire time in her head. It’s a message from the dead person which we can’t fully comprehend — and I’m not sure if she can either — but it’s clearly been driving her to the edge of madness.

And like any good song, the voice is now stuck in our heads. Can you hear that?

(YouTube, Images via YG Entertainment)