BLACKPINK has been making waves since they debuted in 2016 with their rap heavy, “girl-crush” singles, “Whistle” and “Boombayah”. Members Jisoo Kim, Jennie Kim, Rosé Park, and Lisa Manoban rose together as one of the top K-pop girl groups of this generation. They’re also luxury icons, landing major endorsements with French fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Celine. Although only releasing one title track a year on average, the girls are among the most followed Korean artists on Instagram and boast a large international fan base of BLINKS, their fandom name.
On August 28, BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez made their highly anticipated comeback with the bubblegum dance track, “Ice Cream.” Prior to its release, the song gained attention for being co-written by Ariana Grande and produced by Tommy Brown, whose discography includes “7 Rings” and “Thank U, Next.” “Ice Cream” offers sing-song hip hop verses sung over elements of electropop combined with trap. One of the most noticeable features is the ongoing whistle hook and choppy synths that bolster their vibrant and youthful theme.
The music video incorporates pastel-toned, Candy-Crush-like bouncy houses, impeccable fashion statements, and of course, multi-colored ice cream shops. It even features furry friends such as Jennie’s Capybara, Rose’s Goldendoodle, and pictures of Lisa’s cat Leo glued on top of ice cream cones. To put simply, the aesthetic is the epitome of my 13-year old self’s Pinterest inspirations.
The immediate response was, to put it simply, explosive. “Ice Cream” reached monumental milestones, debuting at #13 on Billboard’s Top 100. The collaboration racked up 200 million views on YouTube in 10 days and 13 hours, topped the iTunes Top Songs chart in 38 countries, and drew 18.3 million U.S. streams in the first week. Many BLINKS celebrated these accomplishments, which reaffirmed BLACKPINK’s influence as one of the most popular girl groups worldwide.
With this release, BLACKPINK seems to echo a fellow K-pop girl group, Red Velvet, whose songs alternate between bright “Red” songs to mellower “Velvet” ones. Similarly, BLACKPINK has attempted to alternate between bubbly “Pink” tracks and badass “Black” ones, but has more often leaned towards the latter style: The group’s popular hits—such as “Kill This Love” and “Ddu-ddu Ddu-du”—tend to fall into the “Black” category. Because of this, fans appreciate “Ice Cream” as the group’s second “Pink” track after “As If It’s Your Last” released in 2017.
Many BLINKS and “Selenators” praised the song pushing boundaries, as it diverts from both artists’ traditional music styles. They look forward to the day when BLACKPINK and Selena can perform the vibrant, catchy summer tune in person. However, some fans and critics are divided on the release. Hugh McIntyre of Forbes underscored the song’s “upbeat nonsense,” as Lisa raps, “Mona Lisa kinda Lisa / Needs an ice cream man that treats her” and Rosé simply repeats “looks so good yeah / looks so sweet.” Others argue that, while “Ice Cream” is a collaboration, the amount of time given to BLACKPINK members makes it feel like they are featuring on Gomez’s song. When considering the success of BLACKPINK’s previous collaborations with artists such as Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga, some BLINKS believe “Ice Cream” pales in comparison.
Regardless, this high-profile collaboration between top artists proved to be an impeccable conclusion to the summer of 2020. BLACKPINK has been breaking records left and right, and with pre-releases like “How You Like That” and “Ice Cream,” the group gains momentum for their first full album set to debut on October 2nd.