Ice Cream by Blackpink and Selena Gomez


On 28 August 2020 at approximately 11am Thailand time, the world of Blinks and Selenators collided; the result of a phenomenon known simply as Ice Cream

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, South Korean girl group Blackpink released their latest song, Ice Cream, in collaboration with former Disney kween Selena Gomez.

As someone who had a brief K-pop phase at age 18 that lasted a grand total of 2 months and consisted of just Shinee (iconic), the only time I’d listened to Blackpink was through shopping mall playlists and my friends who were diehard Blinks – what fans of the band call themselves.


Blackpink – the K-pop gamechangers


“Blackpink’s new MV with Selena is coming out in 2 minutes,” is the first message I see from a friend in reference to the video. 

I’d known about the news from days before thanks to a story about Selena releasing some ice cream to celebrate the collab, but even that didn’t get my bells ringing.

For the fun of it, I hopped on to the link to see what the hype was all about. 

I’m not sure if it was the power of YouTube’s premier countdown that naturally incited anticipation, or the barrage of comments from excited Blinks in the live chat, but I found myself getting pumped.

Before I knew it, a candy-coloured universe came on screen, with snippets of the girls prancing around to the introduction. I’m a sucker for anything pastel, so I loved the way the MV looked right away.

blackpink selena gomez

S E L E N A !
Image credit: YG Entertainment

I grew up a Disney kid, so seeing Selena back on screen is always pretty nostalgic. Besides her 2013 hit Come & Get It (it’s a friggin’ bop), I don’t listen to her music – so I was interested to see what she had to add to the K-pop scene.

After Selena started the song off, me and the millions of others that had tuned in were treated to Lisa busting out a rap verse – her speciality. 

For the uninitiated, every member in a South Korean band has a USP. There’s usually a lead vocalist, dancer, “visual”, and rapper. 

blackpink lisa

As the rapper, Lisa takes on an edgier onscreen persona that fans love her for
Image credit: YG Entertainment

What surprised me was that the rap came on pretty early. If my vague K-pop memories serve me well, I remembered looking forward to rappers having their time to shine only midway through the song. But hey, times have changed, I guess.

Lisa goes in and out of rapping between everyone else’s verses – and to be honest, I’ve got no idea what she means. 

Snow cone chilly
Get it free like Willy
In the jeans like Billie
You be poppin’ like a wheelie 

I get the pop culture references, but lyricism? We don’t know her. 

But we don’t mess with Thailand’s #1 pop princess. I might not listen to K-pop, but the sheer iconic-ness of Lisa over the years has been enough for me to be a fan of her as a person. So if she says to “play the part like Moses” and “keep it fresh like roses”, I’m all for it.

*

The song goes on like a Lisa Frank fantasy. There’s even a Golden Retriever as a special guest. I love a good puppy cameo. 

AND ALSO A CAPYBARA?

blackpink jennie
Hardcore Blinks would die to be that capybara
Image credit: YG Entertainment


The cinematic universe of Korean pop


One thing hasn’t changed much about K-pop: the extravagance.

Just when you thought the likes of Beyoncé did something with Lemonade comes along a K-pop group with equally mesmerising set work for a single video.

The musical experience goes beyond listening to the lyrics and melody; it becomes a cinematic masterpiece. 

From elaborate set designs, scripted interludes akin to a Netflix drama, and costumes one can only dream of having in their wardrobes, Korean pop isn’t just a genre – it’s a universe of its own. 

In Blackpink’s June release that broke the internet, How You Like That, fans were treated to a kaleidoscope of an MV.

blackpink how you like that lisa
Lisa’s rap scene takes her through an intricately put together souk…
Image credit: YG Entertainment

blackpink how you like that video
…to 10438 other sets in a sheer 3 minutes
Image credit: YG Entertainment

Not being able to understand the lyrics idols are singing is not an issue when the culture gap is bridged via interpretation and emotion. It’s no wonder the Hallyu phenomenon has amassed millions of fans worldwide, Korean or not. 

It’s a cultural zeitgeist, and Blackpink is very much a frontrunner in these times. 

blackpink how you like that
Even Incognito mode forbids finding a YouTube tutorial for anything without knowing Blackpink first. And uh, Roblox too. 

Heck, KBank in Thailand even has the girls as its ambassadors, with Blackpink-themed credit cards.


What the fans are saying


I’m almost 2 minutes into the song when Lisa gets her full-on rap break. At this point, the MV has my full attention for its visuals alone, and I’m living for how cute it is.

blackpink
Image credit: YG Entertainment

It’s also here where I begin to suspect that the girls and Selena aren’t even in the same country, as they’re never in the same shot at once. Thanks a lot, COVID-19. (This is true, as I later find out)

And with a final verse from Selena, the song ends. To wrap up my thoughts:

  1. Seeing Blackpink collab with Selena seemed like a surprising choice, considering the latter has been pretty under the radar lately.
  2. While not a fan of the song for its melody, watching the video was hella fun. Plus, it felt like a throwback to the days of Katy Perry’s California Girls, which was a nice homage to the past decade – though probably unintended.
  3. THEY HAD A CAPYBARA?!

I then spoke to some friends who were fans of the girls to see what they had to say. Lo and behold, the Blinks weren’t all too impressed. 

blackpink review 2

One friend felt a little underwhelmed as the song was a diversion from Blackpink’s usual high energy tunes. However, she still enjoyed the aesthetics of the video, and gave the song a total score of 8/10. Not bad!

Another friend, however, didn’t take it very well. 

blackpink review
Oof. The lack of Ariana in Ice Cream had melted his expectations, leaving him with a goopy puddle of disappointment. Luckily for him, Selena has no time for the h8rs and will probably not be reading this.

Their opinions were surprising, but understandable. As someone unfamiliar with the K-pop scene, the MV seems over the top and pretty out there to the untrained eye. However to fans that knew Blackpink inside out, something about Ice Cream just fell a little short.

On that note, the support for the girl group is undeniable. It’s been a little over 6 hours since the MV premiered, and has since gotten over 32 million views and 2 million likes.


Blackpink’s world domination


blackpink coachella
Image credit: Christopher Polk/Shutterstock

Blackpink previously collaborated with pop legend Lady Gaga on Sour Candy for her newest album, Chromatica. They even performed at Coachella last year, making history as the first K-pop girl group to ever do so.

It’s exciting to see K-pop and other Asian entertainment channels like Bollywood break international barriers, especially as global citizens in 2k20. 

Am I a Blink? I wouldn’t say so just yet – but maybe their upcoming album might change that. 

Snow cone chilly, over and out.


Featured image adapted from: BLACKPINK

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