I haven’t written much about 2NE2 BLACKPINK before, but here’s my thoughts on the group in a nutshell: Gorgeous girls, super talented, and totally unoriginal. The similarities between BP and their predecessors, 2NE1, are impossible to miss. Papa YG himself even admitted that he purposely made them like 2NE1, adding that the only difference was that he “wanted the girls to look pretty too, with skills,” which is about the shadiest thing one could possibly say. 

Before you call me biased against YG Entertainment, which admittedly I kinda am, I had the exact same issues with early Red Velvet being too similar to f(x). It wasn’t until Red Velvet’s last few comebacks that I felt they’d finally found their own style and I quickly became a stan.

I’m hoping that the same thing will happen to BLACKPINK, but judging by their latest single “As If It’s Your Last,” we’ve still got a long way to go before they’re out of 2NE1’s shadow. Produced by Teddy (of course), the electro-pop banger is basically a 2NE1 mega-mix. I was going to say that the glittery ’80s synths were too girly for the “I Am The Best” divas to ever go near, but then I remembered that they did the synth-pop sound with “I Love You” four years ago.

To nobody’s surprise, a tweet from YG staffer Peter Chun indicates that “As If It’s Your Last” has been floating around YG for awhile, leading many to believe that it’s probably a 2NE1 leftover. Even if it’s not, nobody with working hearing can deny that this is the exact type of song that 2NE1 would’ve released for their summer comeback anywhere between now and 2012.

With that said, it’s not like I can’t see the appeal of BLACKPINK. They’re clearly a visual upgrade from 2NE1 and far better dancers to boot. If you like that generic YG style and miss 2NE1, why wouldn’t you like the younger, prettier version? It’s why so many American pop critics -who can’t embrace K-pop unless it’s the most Westernized, familiar version of the genre possible- have thrown their support behind BLACKPINK while shunning the quirkier, cuter acts. 

Unfortunately, BLACKPINK aren’t the only cut-and-paste group at YG right now. Boy band iKON, who are actually a guilty pleasure of mine, recently had the lowest-charting, lowest-selling comeback in YG history with their double A-side release, New Kids: Begin. One single, “B-Day,” just sounded like a BIGBANG rip-off, while “Bling Bling” was bad faux-swag hip-hop crap.

I don’t blame iKON for the failure. The boys are talented and handsome, but YG has lumped them with generic material and kept them promoting in Japan for too long instead of focusing on their Korean fanbase.

Hopefully, at least for BLINKS’ sake, something similar doesn’t happen to BLACKPINK. They’re incredibly popular now, and the power of YG’s fanbase alone will keep them relevant for years, but it would be a shame to see the group fail to reach their full potential. And it’s not like a lack of originality is YG’s only flaw: there’s the constant push-backs, the scandals, the huge breaks between comebacks… personally, I don’t know how anyone can stan such a messy agency!

Anyway, let me know what you think of 2NE2’s latest comeback below.