BLACKPINK Live Lives Up To the Hype, But There’s One Big Thing I’d Change

They're definitely good at hitting you with that Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.

After months of seeing BLACKPINK strut their stuff all around the world, the quartet finally brought everything they got to Australia.

And let’s not beat around the bush, they were unreal live performers.

From the second the lights went out and the opening beat of their hit song, ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ kicked in, every single one of the many thousands of fans packed into Qudos Bank Arena immediately became putty in their hands.

If Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa were the puppet masters, the fans were all willing puppets who wanted to go along for whatever ride they had in store.

Just casually painting a masterpiece.

For over two hours, the four kept everyone enthralled with slick performances of the group’s back catalogue, which was better than all the YouTube videos would have you believe, as well as several crowd-pleasing moments where they eschewed their tight choreography and just goofed around.

But it was when each member got to perform their own solo stages that highlights just why BLACKPINK are so damn good.

Rosé received a huge homecoming welcome from the Sydney crowd (she’s from Melbourne) and she duly returned all the love with a stunning medley that included ‘Coming Home’ and The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’. Her voice is truly something else and no amount of YouTube videos or fancams can do it justice.

If Rosé was all about the voice, then Lisa was all about the moves. She didn’t have to sing or rap a single word for everyone to be enraptured by her performance. There’s a reason why she’s the group’s main dancer – she’s got attitude overflowing from her pockets. It was a wonder she didn’t slip over from all the swag she was leaving all over the stage.

Jisoo was up next and she was a genuine surprise. She may be known for being the cute and goofy one but she knows when to switch the stage presence on whenever she feels like it. Hearing her really go for those high notes during her cover of Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ was goosebump inducing and it makes you wonder why she hasn’t been given a solo album yet. She’s more than ready for it.

And finally we got to Jennie’s solo stage, and it was… okay?

Whereas the other three gave me goosebumps Jennie just didn’t for some reason, which is odd because her dancing and singing was perfectly fine, and she killed during her solo moments for the group songs.

Was it because I had subconsciously hyped her up because she’s the only member to have a solo debut? Was it because her stage was the final one and the other three had set the bar super high? Maybe I’d seen her performance of ‘Solo’ enough times for it not to be a surprise anymore? Perhaps she was just tired after all the touring BLACKPINK have done?

Whatever it was – and I’m probably in the minority here based on the crowd’s reaction on the night – it felt like Jennie’s stage needed just a bit more refining or a few small changes in an otherwise excellent concert.

Then again, trying to tweak her solo stage is kinda like trying to fix a Da Vinci painting – it’s pretty good already and finding what’s wrong with it is going to be hard.

There was no time to dwell on it at that moment though because whatever was missing during Jennie’s solo stage, she more than made up for it during all the other parts of BLACKPINK’s concert.

The group obviously played a big part in why the concert was so good but props must be given to the production design, which was arguably the best I’ve seen in a very long time, and the backing band, who deserve all the accolades in the world for bringing BLACKPINK’s songs to a live setting in bombastic fashion.

2019 has seen its share of brilliant performances but there’s no doubt that Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa are among the best at hitting us with that Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.

BTS's Rapid Rise To The Top Makes Justin Bieber And One Direction Seem Small

From performing at UNSW's Roundhouse to selling out Wembley Stadium in just 4 years, their rise has been insane.

Back when One Direction were still a thing and Justin Bieber was still a teen idol, it seemed like they had the world in their grasp as they made their way to the top of the pop music scene. Millions of fans adored them (sometimes a bit too much), every event, producer, and artist wanted to work with them, and their songs were on rotation literally everywhere. You simply couldn’t escape them.

But Bieber and One D’s rise all seem comparatively tame – if not downright small – compared to what is going on right now with BTS, aka the biggest K-pop group and arguably the biggest boy band in the world right now.

Just to illustrate just how big they are, the lads released the music video to their new single “Boy With Luv ft. Halsey” at around the same time the first trailer for Star Wars Episode IX dropped. Star Wars got around 20 or so million across Twitter and YouTube at the time of writing, which is enormous.

But BTS? Their video got over 55 million on YouTube alone at the time of writing. It’s just insane on so many levels.

It’s quite hard to believe that BTS were performing in small venues like UNSW’s Roundhouse as recently as 2015 and now they’re selling out stadiums like Wembley Stadium. That kind of meteoric rise is almost unheard of and the only thing that’s comparable to it was when the Beatles caused untold millions of people to faint at their mere presence and countless pairs of underwear thrown in their direction.

So what is it about this plucky little seven-member group who survived the rigors of a grueling and often scandalous K-pop industry (which is a story for another day) and managed to rise to the top in more bombastic fashion than what Bieber and One Direction did? How did a group like BTS go from playing unibars to selling millions of copies of their albums and topping the Billboard charts like it was nothing?

Well there are a bunch of reasons but let’s start with the most obvious one: there are seven members and they’re all good-looking. Like, Zoolander “Blue Steel” levels of good-looking.

There’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Okay, maybe not.

But perhaps the biggest thing contributing to BTS’ rise is an eclectic cocktail of a massive and loyal fanbase, being damned good at social media, and you know, just pumping out good music.

The lads have been pretty prolific on social media since their early days and this has resulted in some serious impact that any artist would kill to have just a small fraction of. BTS hold a bunch of social media related Guinness World records and nearly everything they post online gets shared, liked, and memed many times over.

When you start trending on Twitter any time you accidentally did something goofy or cute, that’s when you know you’ve mastered social media.

At least 300k retweets and likes alone right here.

And of course, there’s BTS’ enormous fanbase, known as ARMY.

There probably hasn’t been a more passionate and loyal fanbase since, well, the Beatles really and somehow everything is even crazier than when Beatlemania was at its peak some six decades ago.

Millions of fans around the world all interact with and support each other as much as they support BTS. We’re talking about things like coordinating time zones so people can enjoy a BTS performance at the same time, translating news, videos, and interviews so everyone can enjoy it, and making enough homemade merch to make giant companies seethe in jealousy.

But as it is with any huge fandom, there are always some bad eggs and hoo boy does it go crazy when it comes to BTS. This isn’t new in music of course as the double-edge sword with having such a big online presence is that the bad stuff also gets as easily noticed as the good stuff.

Just expect there to be some backlash if you ever say anything that’s not pro-BTS, like how I thought “Fire” was overrated and far from their best work.

This fan loyalty also ties in with BTS’s music, which is introspective and focuses around themes like self-love, vulnerability, and youth. There’s no concrete reason why it is but the group’s music just resonates with fans on another level altogether.

That being said, there’s probably more to connect with on a personal level from BTS’s “Idol”, which is about individuality and confidence, than Bieber’s “Baby” or One Direction’s “Best Song Ever.”

So relatable.

With BTS making waves across the globe, we’re certainly witnessing something right now that hasn’t happened since the 1960s.

As with anything that’s good in the history of humanity, the spotlight will inevitably move on from BTS at some point, much like it did from Bieber and One Direction, though it seems like the group are poised to stick around and break every music-related record for a while yet.

But for now, let’s just be amazed that something akin to Beatlemania 2.0 is happening because who knows when something like this is going to strike again.

Move Over Thank U, Next, This Is 2019's Wildest Music Video

Explosions? Check. Greek goddess references? Check. Dancing on a giant bear trap while the sun turns everything red? Check and check.

With a quarter of the year already officially over, let’s take stock of what the best music video of 2019 is so far. Oh who are we kidding, it’s likely going to be Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, next” because it has everything from celebrity cameos from Troye Sivan and Kris Jenner to all the Mean Girl references.

But having said all that, we may have a new frontrunner for that accolade.

K-pop group BLACKPINK has dropped the video to their new single “Kill This Love” and holy hell is it filled with all sorts of crazy stuff. If it isn’t the best music video, it’s definitely a heavy favourite for wildest.

Rather than lean on the pop-culture references thing, the video is all about vivid imagery and wild colours. Instead of Bring It On references, we get some epic dance scenes complete with dozens of dressed up back-up dancers.

There’s a dash of heartbreak while going over the speed limit on highway at night. Don’t try this at home, kids.

In place of Thank U, Next‘s Christmas talent show scene we get BLACKPINK pulling off some epic moves dressed as Lara Croft while explosions go off behind them:

And there’s even a little has of what appears to be Greek goddess imagery mixed in with some Katniss Everdeen:

While there’s no topping Kris Jenner’s cameo as Ari’s overbearing mum, “Kill This Love” does feature the group dancing on a massive bear trap that looks like a giant heart.

Ooooh, kill this love, I get it now.

I could keep going but that would fill an entire novel. All you need to know is that the “Kill This Love” video is absolutely bonkers and the only thing that’s crazier is the fan reception.

In just 10 or so hours of the video’s release, it has already racked up over 20 million views, putting it on pace to reach “Thank U, Next’s” 300+ million views in – *does some math* – very little time.

Whether “Thank U, Next” or “Kill This Love” is better remains in the eye of the beholder (and the fans) but one thing’s for sure, we’ve been spoiled with some great music videos in 2019 so far.

Check out “Kill This Love” right here and hold onto something for the ride.

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