From the opening lines, BLACKPINK’s Jisoo makes her position clear on her debut solo single ‘Flower’. She might once have been “as nice” as “A-B-C, do-re-mi”, but no longer. The singer details the dissolution of a couple who were “madly in love” but, instead of dwelling on the pain of a break-up, the singer instead puts her focus on moving on. “That look in the eye changed completely perhaps,” she warns over plucked notes and bass-y chimes. “This is also a side of me.”
Revenge isn’t what she’s after, though, but rebirth. Although she mixes entomological and botanical metaphors in the verses, the lyrics are poetic enough and get her point across. She’s blossoming anew, or shrugging off her old cocoon – depending on which analogy you follow – in search of a new life and leaving her former partner to take on the burden of reflecting on what went wrong. “I fly away like a blue butterfly,” Jisoo sings, holding on to her poise without sacrificing emotion. “It’s all on you that you didn’t hold on / Even the times that we were in full bloom / A lie, lie, lie to me.”
B-side ‘All Eyes On Me’ approaches strength from a different angle. Here, on the punchy, upbeat track, BLACKPINK’s eldest member is empowered by love – ready to risk it all, but not at the expense of the dominance she has (and deserves). “Make me feel alive / Don’t fill it up with meaningless words,” she commands. “Focus on me now / So that I can know your mysterious heart / All eyes on me.”
Although not as poetic as its counterpart on this record, ‘All Eyes On Me’’s words still pack an alluring quality at times – particularly when Jisoo uses them to throw down the gauntlet. “Hold your breath and watch me, I’m a movie,” she dares confidently, before challenging moments later: “What the hell is there to lose?”
It’s unfortunate that, musically, the B-side lacks the spark found in its lyrics or the intrigue of ‘Flower’. Instead, it mines basic dance-pop sounds – a juddering EDM beat rocketing up to a drop here, a slathering of lasering, needling hook line ready to pierce its way into your brain there. Earworm elements don’t necessarily combine to make an interesting song, even if they likely will contribute to ‘All Eyes On Me’ whipping up a frenzy should Jisoo choose to perform it during BLACKPINK’s upcoming Coachella headline performances.
Part of why ‘All Eyes On Me’ feels like such a missed opportunity to bring something new to this arena is that it follows a song that feels much fresher. Instrumentally, ‘Flower’ is unpredictable in the best way, managing to mix elegance with inventiveness and elements of modern production with more traditional sounding sonics; a gentle thrill ride through one of the best K-pop songs of the year so far.
If Jisoo – the final BLACKPINK member to share a solo release – continues to explore who she is in her own material moving forward, cultivating this side of her artistry should lead to a creative blossoming.