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‘You & Me’ Single Review: An Exemplar of K-Pop Mediocrity

Jennie released "You & Me" on Oct. 6.
Jennie released "You & Me" on Oct. 6. By Courtesy of Jennie / YG Entertainment Inc / Interscope Records
By Giselle P. Acosta, Contributing Writer

On Oct.6, K-Pop artist and Blackpink member Jennie released “You & Me,” her second-ever solo release. Despite the track’s swaggering lyrics and catchy melody, Jennie’s new single falls short of expectations for such a popular artist.

Jennie’s fans have been eagerly awaiting “You & Me”’s release since she first performed the track just over one year ago during the opening night of Blackpink’s world tour. Her performance was doubly surprising because her only other standalone song, the aptly titled “Solo,” was released all the way back in 2018.

The track blends Blackpink’s trademark confidence with Jennie’s personal adoration for an unidentified lover. The song’s title comes from the chorus’s opening lines, in which Jennie croons, “I love you and me / Dancing in the moonlight.” In the post-chorus, she trades this infatuation for flirtatious confidence, coyly reiterating “How you ever, ever gonna find someone like this?”

The rest of the song alternates between these attitudes of selfless passion and self-assurance, adding an additional layer to the cocky, independent tone of Jennie’s solo debut. Many of the lyrics in “You & Me” call to mind cheeky classics from “Solo,” especially the line “Now that you’re alone, got you lookin’ for a clone now.”This assertion expresses Jennie’s confidence that she’s one of a kind. If her partners don’t recognize that, they’ll be “sittin' on [their] feelings.”

While the track is thematically playful and interesting, “You & Me”’s instrumentals are middling at best. The delicate strings of “Solo” shaped and added color to Jennie’s vocals, whereas the bland instrumentals of “You & Me” are simply background noise. The chorus is one of the lowest points of the song, as noises best described as autotuned chair-scraping threaten to overwhelm Jennie’s gentle mezzo-soprano.

By the song’s conclusion, an instrumental switch-up that brings a more bass-heavy beat onto the track does little to enhance Jennie’s rapping. This is partly because her rhymes seem lazy — rhyming “last one” with “last one” impresses no one — and partly because of the song’s slow tempo. The plodding pace doesn’t give her room to flaunt the dynamic rapping ability displayed on hits like Blackpink’s “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.”

The outro of “You & Me” hardly fares better. Its Garage Band-esque percussion and screeching synths cater more to Jennie’s choreography than the listeners’ experiences.

All in all, the quality of “You & Me” fails to match Jennie’s status in the K-Pop industry. Though the lyrics’ assertiveness fit her brand, the run-of-the-mill instrumental seems more fitting for a mid-level debut than the second release of a woman who was the most-searched female K-Pop idol of 2019. Furthermore, the lyrical addition of love cannot make up for the fact that “You & Me” sonically departs from, rather than builds on, the legacy of “Solo.” It is hard to believe that after five years, Jennie’s fans received a track whose synthetic shrieks overpowered their idol’s vocals.

Hopefully, Jennie’s producers will give her better songs in the future. More tracks like “You & Me” would be no less than an injustice to one of the biggest names in the K-Pop industry.

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