We’ve reached the point in BLACKPINK’s career where we’re literally applauding them for releasing anything. It’s certainly not fans’ fault. They’ve been starved for new content for years now, making just the idea of a BLACKPINK song more exciting than an actual BLACKPINK song. This scarce promotion might serve to build hype and the allure of elusiveness, but only if you release amazing music. How You Like That is anything but amazing. It continues along the Teddy-produced template of past hits Ddu-Du Ddu-Du and Kill This Love, yet somehow manages to be even more obnoxious.
There’s no excuse for this. YG Entertainment is working with arguably the biggest girl group on the planet right now. Even after being blunted by a series of 2019 scandals, the agency has incredible resources behind them. The group has been absent for over a year. Yet, How You Like That would be laughed off the stage if performed by any act without BLACKPINK’s name recognition and rabid fan base.
The song opens with a bit of promise, as a bubbling electro beat underlines a melodic segment that sees Teddy recycling past 2NE1 glories. From here, How You Like That stumbles and never regains its footing. Its chorus is one of the worst 2020 has offered, amounting to little more than a taunting, sing-song series of irritating English-language brags, performed in a bratty, clown-like manner that’s beneath a group of BLACKPINK’s caliber. “Look at you, now look at me,” repeated ad nauseum is not a chorus. It’s not badass, either. It feels like the ravings of an insecure boaster, and forgive me if that kind of empty braggadocio reads as particular tiresome in our current climate.
My feelings would be different if How You Like That, as an actual song, lived up to BLACKPINK’s confidence. It’s unconvincing to hear them rattle on about how great they are for two and a half minutes, only to build to a tired, double-time beat drop just like every YG hype song in history. When it comes down to it, BLACKPINK simply have not been given enough material to persuade me that they’re as amazing as the world seemingly wants them to be. Back in 2017, on the heels of hits like Playing With Fire and As If It’s Your Last, I would have believed the sentiment fueling How You Like That. But in 2020, after a string of lukewarm, infrequent comebacks, their bluster feels increasingly hollow.
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