BLACKPINK were the first K-pop girl group that I completely fell in love with. Jennie, Rosé, Jisoo and Lisa completely captivated me and had me hooked from my first listen of As If It’s Your Last (I got into them late, OK?) But it’s actually really difficult being a fan of them.
Yesterday on Twitter, #BLACKPINK1YearOfHiatus trended, while #OneYearWithoutBLACKPINK was up there too. Today marks one year since BLACKPINK released their most recent mini-album and music video, Kill This Love. Since then, the girls have had no more comebacks.
That’s not to say they’ve not been working and busy. BLACKPINK had probably the biggest year of their career in 2019, with a world tour, an appearance at Coachella and a number of US talk show guest spots. In terms of music though, they were practically silent. Let’s not kid ourselves that BLACKPINK are known for multiple comebacks a year. In 2018 they released Square Up which spawned Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, but Jennie got her solo, with Solo, and they featured on Dua Lipa song Kiss and Make Up. When 2019 came, we were hoping for at least two comebacks, potentially Rosé’s long-promised solo too. But apart from Kill This Love, we got nothing.
I know, I know. They were touring the world, for God’s sake. And they were, and that obviously keeps them busy. But BTS were incredibly busy too and yes, they only had one comeback in 2019, but they’ve released a full-length album already this year and we’re only just breaking into April. TWICE had a “world tour” (I use inverted commas because this so-called world tour only stopped in Asia and North America and I’m still bitter about it), a dome tour in Japan, two Korean comebacks and a Japanese comeback too. And, just to use an example from another of the “Big Three” companies, SM’s Red Velvet were unstoppable, with a Japanese comeback, a US tour, a feature on an Ellie Goulding and Diplo song, and three Korean comebacks between June and December.
Meanwhile, the BLACKPINK members stay active with promotional jobs, fashion endorsements, magazine spreads and that’s about it. Lisa is, of course, a dance coach on Chinese show Youth With You, and released her photo book too. But where is their new music?
Last year saw YG, BLACKPINK’s label, go through the ringer, with scandal after scandal. But BLACKPINK are YG’s real money-makers. They’re the most subscribed to girl group on YouTube, most followed girl group on Spotify and their In Your Area Tour became the most successful tour by a Korean girl group, earning $38,130,043 according to Touring Data. If YG was short of cash, a BLACKPINK comeback would surely be worth more than it cost to produce. And I’m not saying they should be given a comeback just to be cash pigs – they deserve a comeback for their talent, dedication and hard work. But money really can’t have been an issue.
At the start of the year, it was reported that BLACKPINK would be having a comeback in the first half of 2020, around March. Sadly, due to the global pandemic and spread of coronavirus, this was understandably pushed back. However it’s yet another blow that make being a BLACKPINK fan almost torture. I love the girls, I will always support them and their music – I just need more of it.
With that in mind, we might be getting the comeback soon, as YG said it had been delayed to the second quarter of the year, which is April to June. We’re officially in that second quarter now but, knowing YG, it might not mean anything. BLACKPINK fans – and the members themselves – have become used to not being given what they’ve been promised. Where are the solo debuts apart from Jennie’s? It must be just as irritating for the members as well as their fans.
I do think the comeback will be in the next few months though, almost guaranteed. And sadly it links back to the group being YG’s big earners. The label has confirmed that it will be debuting a new girl group in the second half of 2020, rumoured to be called Baby Monsters, while boy group TREASURE will also be debuting. It costs a lot – A LOT – to debut a group, especially if they want to achieve the same sort of initial success that BLACKPINK did. So after the many scandals of 2019, YG are going to need the cash to throw behind their new groups. Which is where BLACKPINK will surely come in.
Obviously I am beyond happy at the prospect of new music from the girls, but it saddens me to think that YG could just be using them to earn a quick buck. Covid-19 does throw a major spanner in the works, but hopefully it won’t stop BLACKPINK’s comeback altogether – or a potential second comeback of 2020. There’s also the rumoured Lady Gaga collaboration, which we’ll find out the truth behind when her album is released.
Until then, all we can do as BLACKPINK fans, is promise to support the group when they eventually do return, stream their other releases and music videos, and show them the love they deserve however we can.
Being a fan isn’t about who can knock up the most views on the music video on YouTube, who can spare multiple hours of their day to stream their music, who can buy the most copies of their albums – hell, it’s not even about buying the album if you can’t! It’s about the support that we can give as fans, that I know they feel when they do get to perform for us wherever we are in the world.
And I know it’s not easy being a BLACKPINK fan, it genuinely pains me thinking about how stagnant they must feel, but when the time comes, they’ll know they’ve still got us.