Blackpink debuted in 2016 with four strong and well-written singles that helped them quickly rise up to stardom. At the time, they captivated the K-pop scene with their impressive songs, dance abilities, and high-quality MVs. However, YG Entertainment, doing what they love to do, decided to lock this group up in a dungeon as one of their marketing tactics. On top of rarely releasing music, their last three singles have brought no originality, with similar beats and concepts.
Still, Blackpink has persevered and has broken Youtube records while gaining a solid Western fan base. Collaborating with Selena Gomez is a great marketing step, but “Ice Cream” also helps diversify Blackpink’s discography. Topping it off with a high production MV, you have a charming end-of-the-summer song.
The MV is a summer delight with a bright and colorful set made of desserts with equally cute fashion. Possibly due to current safety and traveling restrictions, Selena and Blackpink unfortunately filmed their scenes separately. However, sticking with similar color schemes and concepts help create an almost seamless transition between scenes. Selena has the least amount of sets to work on and is typically seen either standing or laying down next to an ice cream truck or retro car. Blackpink, on the other hand, is having more fun with bicycles, jumpers, balloons, and other props. They also have a dance routine which was more on the simpler side than normal them. Unfortunately, Selena did not participate in the choreography, which was a miss in the MV.
This is likely the girliest we have ever seen Blackpink both in fashion and concept. Selena stays simple with 1940s inspired outfits and hairstyles. Blackpink, on the other hand, sport colored hair, tons of accessories, and more daring fashion choices. They also have more fashion changes with tennis outfits, chic dresses, and sleepover pajamas. While they choose different fashion styles, the theme is still all about summer fun.
“Ice Cream” does not sound like anything either act would have put out on their own. Selena Gomez has dabbled in electro-pop, R&B, and soulful ballads. Her lyrics tend to be personal–revealing details about her former relationships. Blackpink, on the other hand, has mainly done hip-hop, trap, and electronic music. Their music tends to be less personal but about female empowerment with dance-heavy beats. While Teddy Park, Blackpink’s normal producer, did work on this song, he was joined by others, which included pop artist, Ariana Grande. This is likely why we were treated with a more refreshing song than what we typically expect from Blackpink. “Ice Cream” has a childish appeal in melody combined with a flirtatious tone that we do not normally see from the girl group.
As a girl group, adding more vocals can sometimes feel crowded. Luckily, Blackpink is on the smaller side when it comes to members, and “Ice Cream” dispersed the lyrics fairly evenly between the two acts. Selena’s voice also fits right in with Blackpink. Unfortunately, within Blackpink, Jisoo was left out in the cold with the least amount of lyrics contributed to the song.
Lyrically and musically, there is nothing too impressive on the song. The lyrics are flirty and filled with several innuendos about ice cream. It is also, surprisingly, almost all in English. While Rosé is from New Zealand, the other members know English as a second language. Jennie has shown to be the most fluent with Lisa and Jisoo both claiming to be beginners. Regardless of this, even the less fluent members’ pronunciations are crystal clear.
The song has a nursery rhyme type melody that stays fairly consistent throughout the song. However, lyrics also repeat to the point where it gets redundant. Lisa’s rap break helps to give more life to the song but the song is still missing some sort of climax to really push it to its potential. While Lisa has a great delivery, she also repeats the same verse sticking with the song’s repetitiveness:
Keep it movin’ like my lease up
Think you fly, boy, where your visa?
Mona Lisa kinda Lisa
Needs an ice cream man that treats her
While Blackpink has worked with other Western artists, they went all out with this collaboration. Concept images, teasers, and merchandise were all released prior to the single’s release. They made a great choice to include Selena on their own comeback instead of participating in someone else’s album again. With Selena, they have combined their fan bases and brought us an uplifting summer pop song for what has been a chaotic 2020. It may be more on the shallow end, but it shows that Blackpink is not afraid to tackle different genres. If this single is representative of their upcoming album, then hopefully they will keep challenging themselves by expanding beyond their typical pattern when it comes to music.