UH's lifestyle and entertainment magazine - by students, for students

“Rockstar” is BLACKPINK’s LISA’s newest single since her solo debut in 2021. In the three years between releases, Lisa has been featured on collaborations such as “SG” with Ozuna, Megan Thee Stallion and DJ Snake and “Shoong!” by Taeyong. This break between releases is part of what created a whirlwind of anticipation for her newest single, especially since LISA is now under different management.

Although not something seen often in the Western music industry, it is common for members of K-pop groups to have solo releases and debuts while still participating in group activities. In recent years it has also become more common for artists to negotiate their contracts to still participate in comebacks with their group while being under a different company for their solo endeavors.

This would be the case for LISA who has recently departed from YG Entertainment—the company BLACKPINK has been under since debut—and opened her own managing agency, LLOUD. In addition to this, she has partnered with RCA Records to distribute her music releases while still maintaining full ownership of them.

The suspense began with the posting of cryptic TikToks that hinted a comeback was on the horizon. The first was a video uploaded June 6 with an original sound titled “COMING SOON,” including a snippet of the instrumental we can now recognize as the song’s opening chorus. Another snippet was posted June 13 titled “TEASER” which featured another section of the song from its outro.

The teasers just kept coming, with concept photos finally being released June 20 on LISA’s Instagram and LLOUD’s social media, including official release dates. The concept photos featured LISA donning a mullet with a monochromatic silver color scheme for both the background, her clothing and jewelry. This gave a hint towards the futuristic aspect of the comeback’s concept. One last photo was then posted on June 22 by LISA on her Instagram, with the MV teaser dropping days later on June 25.

The single was officially released June 27 and it included different versions of the song, such as an instrumental, extended, sped up and slowed version. This was also the date when the MV was officially posted on YouTube.

The music video was filmed in Bangkok, Thailand, one of these locations being Yaowarat Road in Thailand’s Chinatown along with the Oscar Theatre that was shut down in the 2000s. What’s notable about the visuals for “Rockstar” is the way LISA proudly displays her Thai heritage and culture with every frame of the video, something she has also done for previous songs such as “LALISA.”

Much expected from the concept photos, the music video was both futuristic and contemporary by using the image of the modern metropolis and referencing the musical history of the rockstar as a figurehead.

The song and visuals ground themselves in the present, but also use the past to create something new and allude to the possibilities of future creations and aesthetics. One of the ways the song achieves this is through its use of sampling, a staple of hip-hop music, along with hyper breakbeats to create such energetic moments.

The intro of the song is attention-grabbing, immediately feeding into the daring image of a rockstar. The song opens with the chorus, its lyrics giving us a glimpse into the rockstar lifestyle. The chorus is immediately followed by the pre-chorus which picks up in tempo and changes tone completely in comparison to the chorus, providing a breather before diving into the chorus once more.

The post-chorus of “Rockstar” is one of its most memorable moments due to its sample of “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” by Tame Impala. It’s an ethereal pause that creates an image of fantasy and suspense. It’s completely unlike any other section of the song and complements the futuristic aesthetics of the concept photos and the music video’s visuals.

The first verse is animated, perfect at hyping up listeners, and setting up the transition for the upcoming pre-chorus and chorus. The staccato beats used throughout the verse are also great at creating a sense of urgency that keeps you on your toes while building up to the climax of the chorus.

The pre-chorus following the first verse has an added intensity as the instrumental is much more muted in comparison to its previous iterations. This move allows the bassline and the lyrics to become the focus of the section that adds a richness to it.

The outro of the song is smooth, leaving no open endings while expanding on the previous post-choruses. The closing instrumental is satisfying and suits the single’s concept perfectly. The ending leaves you wanting more, not because “Rockstar” is missing anything, but simply because you don’t want it to end.

With short songs under three minutes becoming more of a trend in K-pop, there are times when songs of this length can feel too short or like they didn’t reach their full potential. However, this problem cannot be found in “Rockstar” since nearly every section sounds different from previous ones and its experimentation with structure allows it to fill up its run time nicely. The single explores so much in under three minutes and this is achieved solely because it doesn’t follow typical conventions.

Overall, “Rockstar” is a very strong single and perfectly suited to be released at a moment like this. It represents the beginning of a new era and the significant change after transitioning from one company to another. The song has reached great success already and bodes well for LISA’s future releases and endeavors since this first comeback of hers has already done so well.

[email protected]

About the Author

Related Posts

As her latest project, actress and singer Mckenna Grace released “LOSER!!,” proving pop-punk and...

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion pulsated with vibrant energy on June 30 as The Doobie...

Historically, queer characters in the media have been drastically under-represented and demonized,...