I’ve been waiting for new music from BLACKPINK ever since The Album, which I genuinely enjoyed. While their songs are far too few and there are some misses here and there, if taken sonically as a whole, they still have among my favorite discographies in K-pop. No other group out there quite executes girl-crush as well as they do (alongside their seniors 2NE1), being the group who popularized it in the first place. YG truly struck gold with the members, having charisma imbued to their very bones that can never be replaced by any other group.
With that said, while I do enjoy Ready for Love, it feels undercooked and somewhat uninspired. I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering that it technically was a song made around 3 years ago but didn’t make the final cut for the Album, leaked in BLACKPINK’s Netflix Documentary in Light Up Your Sky. As a CF for a mobile game (PUBG Mobile) however, I think that it does a good job as a CF song, and I can appreciate it for what it is.
The strongest aspect of Ready For Love is easily the girls’ vocal performance. Their unique tones are among their most defining traits that separate them from all the K-pop groups out there, and Ready to Love is a perfect example of how an artist can elevate a decent song into something good and enjoyable. All of the girls, with zero exceptions, were able to evoke the yearning and emotional atmosphere of the song. Special mention to Rose especially. She killed her vocal performance in this song, among one of my favorite showcases of her voice within BLACKPINK songs. She brought out the vulnerability needed for the song in the best way possible. Jennie and Jisoo did not slouch either, making the most of their voices’ unique traits to express every line that delivered.
In my opinion, Ready for Love is one of BLACKPINK’s best showcases of their ability as pop vocalists.
Surprisingly enough, among all of Lisa’s good showcases of her rap ability in previous BLACKPINK songs, Ready to Love still managed to become one of my favorite raps that she has delivered. Perhaps it could be due to the English lyrics actually flowing nicely this time, but her diction and flow were impressive, and one of my favorite K-pop raps in the recent months.
Overall, the girls did a great job with whatever they were given.
Additionally, the melodies and the lyrics of parts of the song are genuinely quite compelling. The verses draw me in, the same way that many of their other songs have. The pre-chorus, as usual, is a standout. It certainly is a BLACKPINK song. Unfortunately, some parts such as Lisa’s adlibs in the chorus felt unnecessary and made me feel quite miffed that they were included in the first place. Perhaps it can be attributed to how it was trying to cover up the one-note quality within the song’s production.
Speaking of which, the song’s production lets it down. I have been a fan of TEDDY’s music in the past, but Ready for Love plays it too safe. While the production does compliment the hooks well, it should have been much more bombastic and dynamic, not understated and painfully generic. Listening to several other dynamic K-pop songs recently has made me painfully aware of the one-note feeling of Ready For Love. It doesn’t effectively build upon what good foundations it has, leaving its climax feeling empty, unfinished, and unearned. As a whole, it feels almost lazy. I’m not going to critique Teddy’s character, but he needs to step up his game. It should not be too hard to make it feel more exciting and invigorating with a few more layers of instrumentals. Being BLACKPINK’s main producer, a group who has not had any music released for almost 2 years, I expected him to polish Ready for Love until… it’s ready!!! It doesn’t feel ready for people to listen to. The irony, hahaha.
One more note about the production. Some parts of the singing were not in sync with the production. Given how much time Teddy had, this kind of issue could easily be fixed, or if needed, for the girls to re-record the song. However, seeing the final product, it does not look good on him. He has done much much better than this in the past. I have defended his production in the past, but I think it has reached a point where he needs to step up.
All in all, Ready for Love feels like a wasted opportunity. I would still come back to the song for the sake of the girls themselves, and the song has great moments. Sadly, it needed to be further milked and polished to make it something truly great. Something that sounds worthy for the biggest girl group on the planet. This is not it.
Hooks – 8
Production – 6
Vocal + Rap Delivery – 10
Overall – 8