Review

Buried Treasure: BLACKPINK – Don’t Know What To Do

Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


Though I never featured it as a Buried Treasure, I felt like Forever Young should have replaced Ddu-D Ddu-Du as the BLACKPINK single of 2018. And now, with the release of new mini album Kill This Love, I find myself in a similar situation. The album’s title track did not connect with me, and I don’t seem to be alone in that feeling. My favorite BLACKPINK singles tend to be more on the melodic side, but we haven’t heard that style from the girls in quite some time. With this in mind, album track Don’t Know What To Do would have made a much more appealing promotional choice.

The song is not perfect, and verges on generic, but it does offer the chance for the groups’ vocals to shine. The opening verse is a slow burn of subtle electronics and guitar, coming across as Avril Lavigne-esque pop-rock instead of the synth-fueled dance track it will soon become. The chorus brings in strong EDM influence, which carries through the rest of the instrumental. This chugging beat is addictive, especially during the breathless post-chorus refrain. If I have one overriding complaint about Don’t Know What To Do, it’s that much of the vocal performance feels too affected. I’ve heard this kind of nebulous pop-star accent too many times before in western music, and the kewpie-doll vocalization doesn’t feel natural when it comes to BLACKPINK. This is most evident during the main hook, where the girls sound as if they’re trying to emulate quirky artists like Ellie Goulding. BLACKPINK are too cool to be anyone but themselves, so I hope they don’t go too far in pandering to American tastes.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

6 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: BLACKPINK – Don’t Know What To Do

  1. Been reading this site for the past few months. Love how you stay positive as best as you can fro each song! I’ve been influenced by you to make a website of my own and reviewing songs! 🙂

    Regarding BLACKPINK, you are pretty spot on with your recent reviews on them. I like to go more into the objective side (which is hard to do) rather than being opinionated when listening/reviewing a song. Tbh, Kill This Love was bit of a letdown. it has a great, marching chorus, but didn’t really reach that satisfactory level all around. Kill This Love and 4D both have great choruses, but still needs a little more improvement on the production.

    For the EP, Don’t Know What To Do is obviously the best song, and quite possibly the only song that really passes. The rest of the songs needs a more on the production, specifically the choruses. It’s sad for the members to be in this position. Honestly, it’s quite confusing on what the members want to accomplish. It seems they look more of like products than true artists. It would be highly appreciated if the members can reveal more of themselves and have more freedom on their music rather than relying heavily on the in-house producers.

    With that said, them being the most hyped group is quite ridiculous. Not saying it’s the member’s fault, but there needs to be a change with them, and it’s on YG to think of a new strategy. His strategy right now is working, considering that BP is one of the most popular kpop groups, especially in America. But, casual music listeners who aren’t crazed fans might be ticked off a little that BP doesn’t seem like actual true artists. The members are capable and have potential to be true artists, but we’re not seeing that as of now. BP needs a new change from YG, or BP needs to go to a different company that could offer them better qualities, as well as more respect from the public.

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  2. The verses are admittedly super generic, but that chorus is really what I’m focusing on here. I’m really, really living for that main keyboard riff as well as the harmonic movement underneath. Everything surrounding the choruses is essentially filler (and I, as well, would appreciate BP not doing Western dreampop-lite impressions), but otherwise the song definitely stands out.

    P.S., it’s been a day and I still don’t hate “Kill This Love.” I’m honestly shocked, since everyone except hardcore Blinks seems to think its at-best mediocre.

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    • I wish I could share your enthusiasm for Kill This Love. A week later and I think I like it even less than I did when it was first released. The way the group is being handled just feels so try-hard. Style over substance, when I know the girls are capable of delivering so much more.

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  3. I’m glad Don’t Know What to Do made it as a buried treasure. I actually listened to it and Kick It before “Kill This Love” and had a feeling we were going to get another Forever Young/DDDD situation again. Then again, I do think personal taste wise I like the pre-chorus vocals for KTL more than in DDDD, still it’s pretty saying that I found a 30 sec clip of a remix’s breakdown on instagram more catchy than the entire song the first time I heard it (I was curious and went searching, so it’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiCcUWaQfqs if anybody’s curious. Breakdown starts at 2:51).

    [Also I was searching through some EXID solos and b-sides (thanks for leading me to Alice btw) and noticed you didn’t write a review for their Japanese “Trouble” song. I know the full version isn’t on youtube but I’ve listened to it on Spotify (thank god, japanese licensing laws are the death of me) and I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a very different sound from their Korean title tracks. Sort of distantly reminded me of their Boy b-side from the Eclipse EP that always makes me immediately think of Marian Hill]

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    • Yeah, I missed out on writing about Trouble when it was first released, and now I feel that that ship has kind of sailed. I like the song fine, but I much prefer the edgy Vaporize Yourself from the album.

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  4. Pingback: Song Review: Limesoda – Wave | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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