BLACKPINK’s Lisa Tries to Go Beyond K-pop With ‘ROCKSTAR’, but Lacks Musical Innovation, Critics Say

BLACKPINK‘s Lisa has garnered hot reactions from both the public and industry for her transformation into a pop star with the single “ROCKSTAR,” stepping away from her K-pop roots.

However, amidst Lisa‘s performance and styling challenges, there remains disappointment over the lack of musical innovation.

On the morning of June 28th, Korea time, Lisa released her single “ROCKSTAR.” She attracted attention by personally participating in songwriting and composition alongside Ryan Tedder of the American rock band OneRepublic and Sam Homaee.

The public response to the music video, filmed at one of Bangkok’s major tourist attractions, Yaowarat Road, has been positive. It was noted for effectively showcasing her identity in her homeland of Thailand.

Particularly, the public took notice of her daring styling. From the album cover and concept photos released before the comeback, Lisa‘s visuals sparked discussions. Her unprecedented short shaggy haircut, goggles, chains, and jewels showcased bold styling choices.

Regarding Lisa’s styling, fans praised, “It’s a new look. Feels like Rihanna vibes, looking forward to it,” “Lisa is no longer just an idol. She’s a pop star,” “She’s not just showing K-pop, but challenging with her own pop style,” and “Initially slightly surprised, but she exudes a strong pop star vibe upon closer inspection.”

Music critic Kim Dohun commented, “Regardless of K-pop’s image, Lisa established her identity as an artist by expressing her desired music in her own way, which seems to have labeled her as a ‘pop star’.”

In line with overseas trends, Lisa included variations in BPM (tempo) with sped-up and slowed-down versions, which caught attention. As online short platforms like TikTok thrive, these versions quickly became a global trend.

Kim Dohun suggested, “Separate from short forms, aiming for DJ remixes and making such choices seems strategic. Lisa targeted electronic hip-hop artists in her last album and showcased herself as a pop star.”

He further explained, “This will likely have a positive impact on future collaborations with other pop stars. Until now, finding an artist’s identity in collaborations between K-pop artists and pop stars has been difficult. However, through this album, Lisa has established her artistic identity. When combined with the symbolism of being an Asian solo female pop star, collaborations attributed to ‘thanks to Lisa’ may emerge.”

While receiving continuous acclaim, some audiences also recalled Lisa‘s previous global hit “MONEY.”

In fact, ‘ROCKSTAR‘ shares the same genre of hip-hop as its predecessor ‘MONEY,’ from BPM to the bass rhythm and rap structure at the beginning of the song. Moreover, the repeated bass material in ‘ROCKSTAR‘ consists of a distorted 808 bass in the low register, composed of the same scale as ‘MONEY.’

In the industry, opinions emerged that Lisa may have been influenced by the success of her previous work during her participation in songwriting and composition.

As Lisa’s first solo endeavor since her debut, ‘ROCKSTAR‘ holds significant meaning as an album that solidifies her image as a ‘pop star‘ and ‘artist’ beyond the framework of a ‘K-pop artist,’ which has garnered public acclaim.

However, there remains a lingering sense of disappointment among the public and industry regarding the lack of musical innovation compared to her other challenges.



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