“I’m incomparable, you gon’ still love me,” Lisa raps midway through ‘Lalisa’, the title track of her solo debut single album. The second half of that line almost feels like a challenge from the BLACKPINK rapper and dancer in the context of this release. Instead of being the shining, swaggering triumph you might expect, its quality is disappointingly low – a record that suggests perhaps she, or at the very least YG Entertainment’s stable of songwriters and producers, aren’t unequalled at all.
It’s hard to find the positives in ‘Lalisa’. The title track is an awkward song, lurching through its lines that find Lisa switching between dull singing and rapped bars that, rather than encapsulating the idol’s natural cool, feel like they belong in a different track altogether. If this was a BLACKPINK song, it might just about work – the dynamic of having four different voices and personalities could possibly save it – but with only one person to steer it, it falls regrettably flat.
“Baby, get the megaphone, put it on speaker,” Lisa raps at one point. “I said I can’t hear you, so you need to speak up.” It’s lyrics like these that make it hard to take ‘Lalisa’ too seriously. There’s no heart or soul to them, focused more on empty brags that don’t even have the desired effect of making the star seem like an untouchable icon whose name everyone should (and, at this point in her career, does) know. If she wasn’t in one of the biggest girl groups in the world, this track wouldn’t even register in people’s attention spans.
If the title track is disappointing, then the B-side ‘Money’ is even more so. The song’s subject matter is tired and played out – yet another track about being rich and flexing that cash. “Bitch I do the money dance, I just made a hundred bands,” Lisa boasts on the refrain. “When the store says ‘Sign for it’, I’mma leave my autograph.”
Even songs with topics that have been done over and over again can still slap though – look at Cardi B’s ‘Money’ which, judging by the very similar heavy piano stabs, seems to have been a reference point here. Lisa’s ‘Money’, though, is too obvious, safe and boring to be worthy of hitting repeat, the Thai rapper unable to pull off the braggadocio required to make you envious of her stacks. Its lyrics are cringe-y at best – “Twerking, twerking when I buy the things I like / Dollar, dollars dropping on my ass tonight,” is a particular stand out – and its stuttering sonics are uninventive. Lisa might have plenty of bills in the bank, but they haven’t bought her the solo debut that she deserves.
It is worth noting that Lisa isn’t credited with any creative input on either track, both written and produced instead by a varying combination of BLACKPINK’s frequent collaborators Teddy Park, 24, Bekuh Boom and R.Tee. Even so, you would expect an idol who is able to bring attitude and energy on stage to inject even a small dose of that into these recordings. If she did, it might be easier to get on board with ‘Lalisa’ – as it is, though, it’s a release that should have been kept in the YG vault.
- Release date: September 10
- Record label: YG Entertainment