BLACKPINK is one of the most popular and powerful musical forces in existence as we speak. Calling their achievements as a group “hugely successful” would be an understatement. But, outside of the group, the members also have amassed quite a legacy with their individual solo projects. In this series called “Idol Solo Spotlight”, we shall be tackling each member’s solo work, starting with SOLO by Jennie. Discussing the song’s lyrical themes, the music video that accompanied it as well as the facts in making the track a reality.
First up in chronological order, is the K-pop mega-hit titled “SOLO” by the band’s vocalist and rapper Jennie. Let’s take a deeper look into this anthem that set the world ablaze.
Background & Facts:
October of 2018, YG Entertainment announced that they intend to release a solo project for each individual member of BLACKPINK. This project kicked off with the release of Jennie’s solo song appropriately titled “SOLO” the following month November of 2018. The track immediately would skyrocket up the charts. By the end of the week, it already charted number one on the Gaon Digital Chart which is South Korea’s music industry standard for singles. It garnered success as fast as it was released – staying atop the charts for 13 consecutive weeks at number one and 33 weeks in the top 100. SOLO took the East by storm but also the West, as it spent 25 weeks in the U.S. Billboard Digital Sales Chart.
The music video that accompanied the popular hit was shot in the United Kingdom and was released on the same day the track was released digitally. The rousing triumph of this iconic modern track would garner countless awards. It won three awards from SBS Inkigayo. Over 300 million streams on Spotify and as recently as August 2021 Jennie became the first-ever female K-pop soloist to garner over 700 million views when it comes to a music video on the juggernaut sharing platform YouTube. This was quite a debut, to say the very least. It also set the wheels in motion as well as laid down the foundation for the future success of her fellow member’s solo work.
It’s no secret that almost everyone has experienced some sort of terrible breakup or heartache that floored them at least once in their lifetime. That’s exactly what SOLO ultimately tackles. Life after love is an uphill battle and what comes after is never easy. One thinks about what went wrong and keeps repeating to themselves over and over what they could have done better. With that being said, love isn’t always about sunshine and rainbows. Things happen and if it’s meant to happen it will. But, Jennie’s anthem ultimately doesn’t dwell so long in the negative. Yes, the song starts out with heartbreak but the true message of the song is recapturing one’s independence and revitalizing one’s true self.
It’s about loving yourself and accepting that you’re perfect just the way you are. Love does not have to be romantic. Love can genuinely be about treating yourself better and knowing that you deserve nothing but the best. It reminds listeners that one sole person does not define you. SOLO echoes the sentiment of self-love and bringing attention to self-importance and triumphantly coming out better on the other side.
Arrangement & Music Video
As the lyrics suggest, fresh off of a breakup, Jennie’s character in the first few sections of the song is quite lost. It’s quite a subdued tone at the beginning of the song; very relaxed and complete with a somber feel. But, she knows that she’s stronger than this and she just needs time to grieve. If one watches the music video it starts with Jennie with a blank stare, entering the scene full of grief and sorrow. Her character would tear up notes and lowly stay inside the premises of her home wallowing in sadness. But, the gradual shift of tone happens in the second verse. The pace and beat would become more powerful and would crescendo with every barre that passes.
Jennie’s character is finally rising from the ashes of failed love. The realization sets in that it was never meant to be. She has done all her crying and now she rises once again and will enjoy life for what it is. Her sanity and how she values herself are more important than anything. It’s unfortunate that the other person didn’t realize that earlier, however, as evidenced by these lyrics:
“I’m sittin’ on my throne,
I ain’t got no time for the troubles in your eyes,
This time I’m only lookin’ at me, myself and I,
(I’m goin’ solo) I’mma do it on my own now”
These words are indeed very powerful. It shows how much willpower one has in themselves to overcome such heartbreak. But, as you would see in the music video going into the bridge section, one can still feel the effects. In the real world, it is not an overnight occurrence that you get over someone you so dearly loved just like that. It takes time. But, even with all the stumbles along the way, the track suggests one takes their time. Don’t ever stop and don’t just retreat back to something that’s familiar because it’s often a mistake. The song would climax and reach its final chorus while altering its lyrics ever so slightly going from:
“I’m going solo”
To something quite subtle but an effective lyric:
“Now, i’m going slow-mo”
With those words, she is now free. Free to do whatever she wants to better herself. Finally, take life and enjoy it at her own pace. This is definitely an anthem that will resonate with a lot of people. We all have our own way of getting through hard times in our lives. But, as long as we keep on going we will eventually and inevitably reach the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
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