I AM Lovesick: Thomas Fanboys BlackPink’s “Lovesick Girls”

When BlackPink first released their title track “Lovesick Girls” on October 2, I disliked it a lot. In my initial listens, the chorus felt too shouty and hollow instead of anthemic and resonant. I also tend to turn away from songs that focus on romantic love. About a week and a half later, though, after I listened to some covers of the song on YouTube, the chorus clicked for me and I became obsessed with this bop about the pains and joys of heartache. After listening to “Lovesick Girls” nonstop for about a month and a half now, I realize that I resonate with this song because of the unique way it crafts a somewhat trite message: that it is better to be hurt by love than to close yourself off from experiencing it at all.

To demonstrate the emotional resonance of “Lovesick Girls,” I conducted a mindfulness practice in which I journaled all the emotion words that arose within me while listening to one full run-through of the song. I inputted my results into this word cloud and bam. We love a sad, rebellious, acceptance-based bop!

The verses in “Lovesick Girls” do an excellent job of communicating the pain that accompanies connection. These verses remind me a lot my angst after I broke up with a former close friend in December 2019, how afterward I felt so betrayed and wounded and hurt. Jennie and Lisa’s lines in the first verse reek of angst and the desire to close oneself off from love; Jisoo and Rosé’s prechorus lines feel replete with both sadness and longing. Lisa and Jennie’s rap in the second verse amps up this fight against the pull of love even more and tbh reminds me of all my blog posts where I consistently write about how much I hate romance, is that me partially resisting my own pull toward wanting to love and be loved by a man fml before concluding with Jennie’s line that shows the inevitability of her feelings no matter how much she resists: “love is a drug that I quit, no doctor can help when I’m lovesick.” The music video also does a great job of layering on the emotions of angst and suffering: aside from Rosé’s shots with lots of white background to complement her pink hair, most of the scenes feature Jennie, Lisa, and Jisoo in darker settings or in more isolated spaces (e.g., Lisa with the car in the second verse, Jennie confined in some sort of hospital in the second verse).

Okay Rosé really ended my life in this music video though, one example pictured above. Like her emotive performance in the second verse of the song in which she portrayed every high and low of a intense tumultuous relationship? I felt like I relived my 2019 winter friend breakup, whew. Also her pink hair which inspired my pink hair, iconic.

The chorus of “Lovesick Girls” steps on my face every freaking time I hear it now which I so appreciate. I first love the unabashed in-your-face delivery of the title line “WE ARE THE LOVESICK GIRLS!” I just so enjoy how the verses create this emotional dynamic of resisting connection and agonizing over wanting connection, all for the chorus to just fucking reverse that buildup completely and feature all of BlackPink yelling in unison, with no shame, that they are the lovesick girls, that, in roughly translated terms, they are nothing without the pain of love. This chorus reminds me of the therapeutic notion that if you embrace and accept your emotions, you can take away some of their power over you. When I listen to this chorus, I think to myself, “wow Thomas, it’s actually powerful for you to accept and acknowledge how much deep emotion you feel for your friends and how you do want a man to top love you, amazing.” I also love how the music video always shows all of BlackPink dancing and having a great time together during the choruses. This sense of togetherness, combined with the unified delivery of the chorus, highlight how social support can buffer the pain that often accompanies meaningful interpersonal connection.

This song’s bridge and final chorus shine the brightest for me and turn me into a whimpering obsessive love-ridden fanboy. I have no idea how to convey how much I love the bridge and the final chorus other than to say I love it as much as I love books, Jeni’s ice cream, and the destruction of white supremacy combined. The bridge of “Lovesick Girls” highlights the power of love and of accepting your own heartbreak no matter what others say. When Rosé delivers her iconic lines with her bright piercing tones about how when the pain of love fades all you’re left with is a feeling that is thrilling? I screamed. When Jisoo essentially says with her rich and deeper vocals that she doesn’t hear what anyone else says, that even if love hurts she’s okay, that she pities people who pity her for her authentic emotional experience of love? I screamed even louder. As someone who is familiar with the pull to push away my own desire for connection, I feel such a sense of catharsis when Rosé and Jisoo deliver these lyrics about heartache with such openness and raw emotion.

This sense of catharsis intensifies even further when the final chorus hits. If I had to choose between eventually dating a man or listening to the final chorus of “Lovesick Girls” on repeat for the rest of my life, I would definitely choose to listen to the final chorus of “Lovesick Girls” on repeat for the rest of my life. As this video articulates around its four-minute mark, the production of the final chorus shifts compared to the first chorus. In the first and second chorus, BlackPink sings about how they are the lovesick girls, though the music sounds bouncier and more chaotic. In the final chorus, though, a guitar (I think?) pairs with the main instrumentation to deliver more of a sense of celebration, openness, and release. This final chorus, especially with Rosé’s beautifully-sung lines toward the end, convey this feeling of honoring the pain you’ve experienced and rejoicing in how you’ve come out at the other end even stronger and wiser. The music video is just gorgeous too: the shots of BlackPink together in an open field perfectly represent the opening of one’s heart to love and connection after a period of much-needed healing and more isolated reflection.

Okay so clearly I’m obsessed with Rosé in this song and music video so I’m just gonna post some screenshots from her solo bathtub scene that portray the emotional arc of the latter part of this song. This screenshot from 2:31 displays Rosé submerged in the sorrow of heartache.
This screenshot from 2:58 exemplifies the emotion and process of catharsis that occurs once the pain of heartache is honored.
This screenshot from 3:01 rounds out Rosé’s emotional arc and highlights the power that comes with accepting your heartache and basking in the ferocity of your emotional experience no matter what others think. I so love the look of determination conveyed through her eyes!

As someone who has had painful friendship breakups and who generally dislikes my attraction to men, I appreciate “Lovesick Girls” because the song describes a journey toward accepting one’s desire for love. This track highlights how relationships entail both pain and joy, that when you open yourself up you risk both rejection and connection. At the end of the first and second chorus, Jennie asks us “but why we still looking for love?” At the song’s conclusion, she instead says “but we’re still looking for love.” She’s stopped asking why, and she’s stopped questioning what makes us want love even though it hurts. She’s accepting the human search for love instead, both the hurt and happiness it entails.

I know I use the word “love” like 100 times in this post and at the same time I love all the shots of BlackPink in this open field, symbolizing the heart’s capacity to heal from heartache and open itself up to connection once again! Ugh, I truly am a gay Viet fanboy who majored in English in undergrad and now uses that degree to analyze BlackPink music videos.

How do you feel or think about BlackPink’s song “Lovesick Girls?” General reactions to this post? I appreciate BlackPink for releasing “How You Like That” and “Lovesick Girls” and bringing me some moments of joy despite 2020 sucking overall. Anyway, I wanted to share this more fun post before returning to my writing that focuses on internal and interpersonal angst, overcoming trauma and resisting societal oppression, etc. Also this month may be pretty busy for me – I’m prepping to teach a course in January, starting the data collection process for my dissertation, and I’m working on a revise and resubmit plus multiple other projects. I’m still gonna try to write on this blog though because I value it just as much if not more than my day job. Until next post!

8 Comments

Filed under K-Pop

8 responses to “I AM Lovesick: Thomas Fanboys BlackPink’s “Lovesick Girls”

  1. I love your deep emotional connection to your music and your intelligent (intellectually and emotionally) ability to interpret that connection in words!

    • Awwwww thanks so much Liz! Yep I wanted to switch up the blog post content a bit with this one. (: Hope you are doing well and sending warmth and strength your way!

      • Thank you! I’ve been up and down, the cats are a bit unwell, nothing major, but I’m having to dose them with medicine every day which is not fun. Thankful for Mr Liz who is doing the clean-up after the dosing which does help. Also for running, and we are now allowed to run in groups again, which is lovely.

  2. priya

    I loved reading this post so much!! I didn’t really like Lovesick Girls the first time I heard it either, but the rest of the album was a m a z i n g. I feel like watching the music video definitely shows how incredible the blackpink, especially Rose’s talent. Like damn her acting is almost as good as her vocals! Every single time of the approximately 674 times I’ve listened to Lovesick Girls, I heard Jennie’s last line in her rap as “no doctor can help me when I’m not sick”. I mean I thought that was such a flex, but I guess “not lovesick” also works haha 🙂 anyway, I was really looking forward to this post! The next month or so sounds reallyyy busy for you,,, hope you can take care of yourself and cut down on some work if possible

    • Awwww omg I so appreciate this comment from a fellow BP fan! Yes ugh at the album being amazing and I know the video definitely showcased their talent in full force. Also yeah I hear you re: Jennie’s rap, I feel like the way you heard it would have been more congruent with the rest of the rap in terms of the independent women vibes though I suppose the way she actually delivers it reinforces the all-encompassing vibes of being lovesick. Warms my heart a bit that you were waiting for this post and I feel grateful for your caring vibes, I hope you are doing well!

  3. You did use love a lot (cuz I did a word cloud of this post… hahaha). But I have no idea if it tracks strike through words (which are a lot more interesting). I wonder if you could do that on your dissertation?

    I hope you continue to find time to nourish yourself both physically and mentally with all the work that you are juggling. Do take care.

    • Haha appreciate the note about the strike through words being more interesting, will keep that in mind! Thanks Matt, I am definitely taking time to nourish myself physically through exercise (though we’ll see what happens if fitness centers/gyms close down b/c of COVID) and mentally through reading and spending time with friends. (:

  4. Pingback: Control | the quiet voice

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