I have to admit that I was way too late to the party when it comes to getting into KPop music. Many years ago, when I first heard Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style,’ I did appreciate and like the song, but it felt kind of gimmicky to me and I assumed I would not be into the genre as a whole if every song was like it. I now appreciate what that song did for exposing American music listeners to music made in Korea, even if the song does feel like a meme at this point. Over the last couple of years, I have started to dive into the KPop world because of BTS. When someone is that popular, I have to see what they are about, and I now understand why they are so loved. More recently, I have started listening to BlackPink. I have no idea how I could have missed out on their music for so long because they are so great. Everything about BlackPink rules; from their image to their music to their videos to the way they promote their brand, everything they do is so cool and so on point. Recently, one of their members released her first two solo tracks, ‘LaLisa’ and ‘Money.’ Even though every member of BlackPink is beloved by their fans, Lisa is arguably the most popular member(She does have the most followers on Instagram if that is any indication). She just has such a commanding presence in every song she is on; her swagger, confidence, and attitude are so palpable and just grab the attention of anyone and everyone. Lisa is someone that seems like she can break through into the American market with her music in a big way, which would further expose Americans to KPop as a whole. With that being said, here is how I feel about Lisa’s ‘LaLisa’ and ‘Money.’ Please let me know in the comments how you feel about this song, and tell me about more KPop artists I should check out in the comments as well.
The first thing I have to say about ‘LaLisa’ is that right from the get-go this instrumental is enormous. The blaring horns and heavy bass from the 808 drum indicate right from the start this is song is a total banger. As this song progresses, the beat is constantly switching up. It does not have the kind of EDM beats that BlackPink songs typically have sprinkled in, but the instrumental does completely change multiple times on this record. ‘LaLisa’ contains multiple very tough Hip Hop beats that would be excellent as a whole song in their own right; the listener is constantly kept on their toes with this instrumental as you never know what may come next. Throughout this track, Lisa is constantly going back and forth between Korean and English. It is very impressive to see how easily she does this. Incorporating English as much as she does in her music is going to attract more listeners. During the verses of ‘LaLisa,’ Lisa demonstrates a variety of flows, cadences, and vocal styles with her rapping. I love how easy it is for Lisa to change it up while she raps. Her ability to glide in and out of flows and speed up or slow down as she is spitting is on par with some of the best rappers of today. The chorus for ‘LaLisa’ is an absolute earworm. I have caught myself multiple times since I first listened to this track singing “LaLisa love me! LaLisa love me! Hey!” ‘LaLisa’ definitely has one of the catchiest choruses that I have heard in a while. Another interesting element of this song is the fact that it has two distinct bridges. The first one was more of a tropical Pop-Trap feeling and sound which is super fun and catchy; the second bridge has a grand and intense feeling to it where Lisa shows off her conviction and talent as a rapper. Both of these bridges add even more distinct layers to the song, and they take it to yet another level. The last thing I want to talk about in regards to ‘LaLisa’ is the music video. BlackPink videos are known for their mesmerizing sets, amazing outfits, and super fun choreography, and ‘LaLisa’ follows that pattern. The music video for this song is so cool. The viewer never knows what is going to happen next, as the transitions between settings are so fast and so cool. If you are still reluctant to check out this track(which I don’t know how you would want to avoid a song with the kind of description I just gave), please check out ‘LaLisa’ just to see this music video. I promise it is not like anything you expect.
The most interesting and important to note from the start about Lisa’s second single, ‘Money,’ is the fact that it is entirely in English. This is a bold yet excellent move for Lisa. The best way to break into the American music industry is to make music and English, and Lisa has the talent and confidence to do so. Even though this song does contain an equally nasty, tough, and fun beat as ‘LaLisa’ does, ‘Money’ is a lot more of a traditional Trap song than ‘LaLisa’ does. Although there is a crazy beat switch up at the end of the song, for the most part, this track keeps a traditional Trap tempo and sound to it. ‘Money’ is a song where Lisa gets to show off her rapping skills. Just the fact that she can rap in English as well as she does, considering it is not her first language, is very impressive. She speaks and raps in English better than half of the emerging rappers of today who are from here. On this track, Lisa demonstrates a variety of flows, cadences, and overall rapping styles; she is very diverse and eclectic as a rapper, and can seemingly completely change directions on a dime. I swear Lisa’s ability to shift her flow so easily is up there with all of the top rappers. This is another track with a chorus that will get stuck in your head all day as soon as you hear it. This chorus makes me want to act up and go to the club to blow tons of money that I do not have. As I mentioned before, ‘Money’ has an abrasively awesome outro. It is super bass-heavy and loud and in your face, and it just adds to the intensity and strength of the song. As far as the video goes that was released with this song, it is not as crazy and grand as a typical BlackPink video or the one for ‘LaLisa’ but it is still very cool. It is labeled as a “Performance Video” as opposed to a regular music video; I do not know if she is going to release an actual video for this song, but if she does not the performance video will more than suffice. This video has a couple of very cool sets and the outfits in the video are all super cool of course, and Lisa shows off how great of a dancer she is. I also appreciate how much attitude Lisa has in this video; since it does feel like more of a performance, you can see her personality shine in this one. Just like ‘LaLisa,’ everything about ‘Money’ is great, and I think it shows Lisa is going to emerge as a superstar in the American music market very soon.
My dive into the world of KPop music has taught me that I need to make sure I do not judge a style of music before listening to it due to some things I have seen on the internet. It is a very diverse and eclectic genre, full of artists making music that is awesome and unlike a lot of the music being listened to in the United States right now. It is very easy to see that Lisa is a superstar, and she is poised to continue to do bigger and bigger things. Recently, I have seen two different people compare Lisa to Rihanna. Both of them said that her swagger, presence, confidence, and overall persona just remind them so much of her. I can see this comparison. There are very few people in the world that would be able to be talked about in the same breath as Rihanna, and I honestly do see Lisa as one of those people. Whether or not you agree with this, I think that it is very apparent that these two songs are the start of something great. Lisa has the ability to take KPop to new heights in the United States, as I know she will continue to get increasingly popular here. She just has that “It” factor that most people do not. I am so glad I got I decided to listen to ‘LaLisa’ and ‘Money,’ and I can not wait to see what she does next.