On the heels of their record-shattering comeback single, “How You Like That,” and ahead of their highly anticipated debut full-length album, BLACKPINK has launched “Ice Cream,” a collaboration with Selena Gomez. Gomez is coming off of the campaign for Rare, her latest #1 album which includes her first #1 single, “Lose You To Love Me,” and her VMAs-nominated “Boyfriend.” Written by Tommy Brown (“Rich“; “Boyfriend“), Ariana Grande (“Motivation“; “no tears left to cry“), Victoria Monét (“7 rings“; “thank u, next“), and Bekuh Boom (“Kill This Love“; “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du”), “Ice Cream” is a playfully suggestive pop number that is almost too saccharine.
Almost immediately after the song’s release, detractors derided the song as “vapid” or “generic.” At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can expect, lyrically, from a song titled “Ice Cream.” The songwriters do their best to spin the central theme into a number of one-liners and metaphors like “Coldest with the kiss, so he call me ice cream/Catch me in the fridge, right where the ice be” and “You could take a lick, but it’s too cold to bite me.” As corny as they can get, the lyrics are not the issue with “Ice Cream”; BLACKPINK and Selena’s energy and charisma more than make up for the lyrics. In addition to their delivery, the simple hook melody is catchy enough to lodge itself in your memory after just one listen. Similar to an ice cream truck jingle, the melody works for this song.
As for the production, however, “Ice Cream” sounds as if someone took the instrumental from Normani‘s “Motivation,” ran it through a few filters, and tossed it in a blender with some scraps of metal. It’s a particularly grating set of production loops that don’t add anything to the overall song. The production is very busy and it feels like it’s actively working against the main and backing vocals. Furthermore, the instrumental is simply too static to be interesting for almost three minutes. The added whistles after Lisa’s solid rap bridge move the song in the right direction, but it ultimately lacks the dynamism on “How You Like That’s” production.
“Ice Cream” will be compared to “Sour Candy,” BLACKPINK’s other sugary collaboration with a Western superstar, this time Lady Gaga, but it cannot compete where it doesn’t compare. “Ice Cream” will likely perform well commercially with its eye-catching video and hook-laden nature. Nevertheless, it is the weakest offering from The Album so far.