Although they debuted with bang, Blackpink have since recessed into one of modern Kpop’s most confusing release schedules. Their 1 song a year promotions since 2017 have transformed each Blackpink comeback into more a musical moment than just any standard song release. However, more often than not these year long waits result in rather underwhelming material, regardless of how successful the track may be. Such is the case with new single How You Like That, which proves that lazy production can single handedly ruin a track. No matter how hyped or popular a group may be.
In my mind, having a signature sound is an asset. There is much good which come stem having a set musical template that groups adhere to or form their entire identity around. Groups like Astro and Seventeen built their entire early years around upbeat funk to great effect. The same could be said for groups like ITZY and IZ*ONE who strongly adhere to their respective concepts both musically and aesthetically. But when does aping your signature sound veer too close to imitation? This is what How You Like That suffers from the most, resorting to the exact same structure and template as the groups past two singles and twisting them in the most unbearable directions possible.
Now, I didn’t like last years Kill This Love but at least that track had a great pre-chorus and nice brass to salvage some of its shortcomings. HYLT unfortunately has no such redeeming factor. To my ears this is about as unbearable as you could get. The grandiose operatic opening points to a larger than life spectacle that unfortunately never materialises. Instead, we get a rather decent opening verse underlined by a rather generic, yet enjoyable moody synth line. It’s a rare chance for the girls to shine light on their under-utilised vocals before that atrocious drop comes crashing in.
Rather than have any semblance of an engaging melody, HYLT collapses into one of the worst drops I’ve ever heard. Knowing Teddy was behind the track, I was expecting such a structure (especially since it has worked wonders before). But this is by far the worst thing he’s ever produced. Not only is the instrumental incredibly grating, but the vocal lines that we do get are annoyingly repetitive and pretty much make the track unlistenable. Blackpink spend most of the track too engrossed in swaggy posturing and ”looking badass” to really do much and for a comeback of this magnitude it’s quite a shame. It’s going to be a guaranteed hit on the charts because of name recognition alone but that’s not enough to salvage this train wreck of a track.
Final Rating: 3.75 / 10