“ME,” Failed Debut or Not?: A Unique Integration of Caribbean-inspired Beats and Korean Lyrics

On March 31, Blackpink member Jisoo released her single-album “ME,” making her debut as a solo artist. While the other members of Blackpink — Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa — had already released singles, there was still much anticipation surrounding Jisoo’s solo debut. Consisting of two tracks, the title track “Flower” and side track “All Eyes on Me,” the album broke the record for highest number of sales for a female solo K-pop singer from the get-go.

Integrating Caribbean-inspired beats and Korean lyrics, “Flower” is a unique dance pop song with minimalistic arrangements and a mellow melody. Jisoo’s husky voice and falsetto following the chorus especially highlighted the dreamy mood of the song. Fans further noted how the song was well-suited for Jisoo’s vocal range and style. In contrast to other members of Blackpink’s single albums, “Flower” consists mostly of Korean lyrics with heavy usages of figurative language. The lyrics that head into the chorus, “꽃 향기만 남기고 갔단다,” which translates to “I left leaving the scent of flowers behind me,” conveys the song’s message of letting go of a toxic relationship. Jisoo sings as if she was reciting poetry to someone, embellishing the lyrical nature of the song.

In addition to its unique sound, the choreography, concept, and the aesthetics of the music video well-represented Jisoo’s identity as a singer. The album name, “ME,” not only conveys Jisoo’s message of showing her whole self to the world as a solo singer, but also carries a meaning of “beauty” when the pronunciation is translated into Korean (아름다울 미). Wearing smoky make-up and dressing in elegant flower-printed dresses to striking glittery two-pieces, Jisoo’s outfits in the music video contributed to Jisoo’s overall message of self-confidence that she hoped to convey to her listeners. The music video portrays Jisoo dancing through ornate rooms and picturesque streets: with its captivating aesthetics, many fans were amazed by the production of the music video. The main choreography of the song, where Jisoo rotates both her hands to resemble a flower, has also been going viral on TikTok. A simple and addicting dance move that anyone can imitate, “Flower”’s choreography well-captured the essence of the song.

Despite the overall praise towards Jisoo’s debut album, some critics argue that the song did not meet the high expectations surrounding its release. While other members had released their singles a long time ago — Jennie’s single “Solo” was released way back in 2018 — fans waited intently for Jisoo’s solo debut. However, many fans were disappointed due to the lack of a memorable chorus: instead of a lyric-heavy chorus that fans were expecting, a jazzy beat-drop comprised the chorus. Although beat-drop choruses have become widely normalized in the K-pop industry, many critiqued the sparseness of vocals showcased in the song. An experimentation of a Latin-tinged melody and Caribbean-inspired beats, “Flower” seems to focus on musical creativity rather than impactful vocals.

A unique experimentation of Latin-tinged jazz and a portrayal of Jisoo’s self-confidence as she reintroduces herself to the K-pop industry as a solo artist, “ME” receives 3.5/5 stars. Acknowledging the long hiatus awaiting the release of the album, there certainly are parts of the song that fans feel could have been more impactful. However, as this is only the first of many (hopefully) albums that Jisoo will release throughout her solo career, fans will look forward to her attempts at new genres of music and concepts in the future.