Our Take: 2/5 Stars
Blackpink’s Lisa made her much-awaited solo album debut “Lalisa” on Sept. 10 after a social media whirlwind developed by YG Entertainment. “Lalisa” consists of two songs, the title track “Lalisa” and a B-side track “Money,” so the album is arguably more comparable to an EP.
“Lalisa” the song erupted with heavy hitting 808s after a buildup of poppy synth instrumentals, very reminiscent of Blackpink’s recent discography. There were some needless beat switches throughout the track that make the song lack coherence in its theme. The rap interludes were bold and gave space for Lisa to show her vocals off to the audience. There was room for her to be more aggressive and unique with her vocals but they were probably hampered by her production agency, which is notoriously controlling of its artists. The strong buildups and drops contribute to the song’s catchy nature, although it would be nice if there was a longer amount of time spent toward the buildup. This would allow more space for a bridge with more substantial lyrics.
Although “Lalisa” is catchy with its trap beat development and backing track, the lyrics leave much to be desired. The majority of the song sounds like Lisa repeating her name over and over. The music itself is catchy due to the expert production but is not very memorable. The remainder just reflected other catchy pop-trap songs with nothing to differentiate Lisa from the rest of the genre.
The production and atmosphere seem like the same type of song that any of the three other members of Blackpink could perform. Lisa’s rapid change in cadence and flow when rapping was a bit abrupt and not as smooth as intended. The chorus mostly consisted of her repeating “Lalisa love me, Lalisa love me,” which began as an interesting hook but became tired toward the end of the track.
The music video used set designs inspired by Thai mythology and architecture, which was a nice homage to Lisa’s Thai background. The video switches between dark and light themes, creating an excellent contrast that was reflected in the song’s instrumentals.
“Money” continues the same pattern of standard instrumentals and punchy bass with a bright beat switch towards the end of the track. However, the buildup for the drop was longer and had more impact than on “Lalisa.” The trumpet backing instrumentals provided a punchy atmosphere for Lisa’s vocals, and the song’s cadence is more consistent and fiery with a high bpm that lends itself to being a fantastic dance track. The final beat switch incorporated a phrygian scale which lends itself to a more “exotic” change in sound and re-energized the track to bring it home. As a B-side track, “Money” also falls flat. The lyrics reflect other standard pop songs talking about making money and independence. Lisa’s flow is surgical and almost reminiscent of Megan thee Stallion or Saweetie, but it does not illustrate her personality like they do. It is raucous, but not anything that could be deemed “unsafe” by YG Entertainment.
Within Blackpink, Lisa stands out with incredible choreography and visuals, but unfortunately, these characteristics are not reflected in her debut performance as much as they should be. YG Entertainment has decidedly stuck with the same strategy as with its other idols by producing catchy yet shallow EDM/trap-type songs.
“Lalisa” provides the same excellent beats to dance to that Blackpink has historically produced and does little to express Lisa’s talents as a solo artist.