As part of BLACKPINK’s double title track debut, Boombayah (붐바야) acts as their more uptempo party offering. But whatever BLACKPINK released, the comparisons with YG’s other girl group, 2NE1, were inevitable. Boombayah feels a lot more like 2NE1 than their other track, Whistle, and that becomes both its strength and weakness.
Boombayah kicks off with some truly cringeworthy English, failing to set expectations particularly high. Luckily, the song quickly improves from there, transforming from hip-hop hype to something a little less forced. The verse and bridge melody owes much to early 2NE1 hits. You can practically hear Bom singing it. This is to the song’s credit, though it does limit its ability to establish a unique identity for BLACKPINK. Like Whistle, the actual chorus is an example of favoring production over melody. A distorted electronic beat takes precedence, though the girls’ titular chants do a nice job of tempering what would otherwise be a bit of a letdown. I like the vaguely middle-eastern feel of this hook. It’s easily the track’s most distinctive moment.
With that said, Boombayah still struggles to reach the heights expected from a YG artist’s debut. It feels refreshing simply because we haven’t heard this particular girl group sound in awhile. But when it comes down to it, the song itself really doesn’t offer anything new or unique for BLACKPINK. Instead, it feels like comfort food. We know we’re going to like it because we’ve consumed it before. But once the hype has faded, I can’t help but wish for something that feels new and vital.