Square One is the debut digital single album by BLACKPINK. It was released on August 8, 2016 by YG Entertainment and distributed by KT Music. The single has a double A-side, "Whistle" and "Boombayah". The lyrics were written by Teddy, Bekuh Boom and B.I from iKON and the music was composed by Teddy, Future Bounce and Bekuh Boom. To promote the single, BLACKPINK performed both songs on the South Korea music program, SBS's Inkigayo on August 14, 2016.
The songs were a commercial success. "Whistle" topped the Gaon Digital Chart and "Boombayah" topped the US World Digital Songs, both in the first week of sales.
Background and Release
Square One was released on August 8, 2016 at 8 p.m. KST through various digital portals in South Korea and on iTunes for the global market.
The music videos for "Whistle" and "Boombayah" were directed by Seo Hyun-seung (director of "I Am the Best" by 2NE1 and "Fantastic Baby" by Big Bang). They were released on BLACKPINK's official YouTube channel on August 8, 2016. The videos went viral soon after they were uploaded, with both surpassing ten million views in five days.
As of November 24, 2016, "Boombayah" has accrued 68 million views, while "Whistle" has 55 million. All of BLACKPINK's live performances have over one million views, the highest being their debut stage for "Boombayah" on Inkigayo with over ten million views. "Boombayah" also become the fastest K-pop debut music videos to achieved 50 million views on YouTube within nine weeks since release.
On August 18, the dance practice for "Whistle" was released, with "Boombayah" following two days after on the 20th. The dance for "Boombayah" was choreographed by famous Los Angeles-based dancer Kyle Hanagami, who has previously choreographed dances for Girls' Generation, f(x), Red Velvet and Taeyeon.
On January 31, 2017, the music video for "Boombayah" hit 100 million views on YouTube, which makes Black Pink became the fifth K-pop girl group to reach 100 million views, as well as the fastest debut music video for any K-pop group to reach this milestone.
On October 13, 2020, the music video for "Boombayah" hit 1 billion views on Youtube. It is Blackpink's second M/V to do so, after Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.
In order to promote Square One, BLACKPINK held their debut stage performing "Whistle" and "Boombayah" on SBS's Inkigayo on August 14, 2016. A week later on August 21, the group win their first music program trophy for "Whistle" on Inkigayo, becoming the fastest girl group to achieve this feat.
In South Korea, "Whistle" topped the Gaon Digital Chart on the chart issue dated August 7–13, 2016 with 150,747 downloads sold - topping the componing Download Chart - and 4,302,547 streams. Meanwhile, "Boombayah" entered at number 7 with 88,215 downloads sold and 1,866,737 streams. In the US, "Boombayah" topped Billboard's World Digital Songs for the week August 27, 2016. Meanwhile, "Whistle" entered at number 2 on the chart. Both songs sold about 6,000 downloads each with "Boombayah" selling slightly more. In its second week within the chart, "Whistle" placed at number 3 for the week September 3, 2016.
|Chart (2016)||Peak position|
|South Korea (Gaon)||7|
|US World Digital Songs (Billboard)||1|
|Chart (2016)||Peak position|
|South Korea (Gaon)||1|
|US World Digital Songs (Billboard)||2|
Billboard K-Town's Jeff Benjamin said they "embrace the hip-hop sensibilities and club-ready sounds with which their seniors gained an international following", referring to their labelmates Psy, Big Bang and 2NE1. He said, "Boombayah" has "booming, exotic beats" while "Whistle" brings together impassioned crooning and their youthful hip-hop delivery with minimal drum 'n' bass and an undeniable whistle hook" Rolling Stone's Brittany Spanos in "10 New Artists You Need to Know: September 2016" said they sound like a "perfect marriage" of K-pop and A-town (Atlanta) trap. She said they would appeal to fans of CL, 2NE1, Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony, qualifying the last group's harder sounds. She said, "All low-end boom and high-end tweets, the infectious "Whistle" feels like perfect pop update of the similarly chirpy Ying Yang Twins classic "Whistle While You Twurk.
Entertainment Weekly's Joey Nolfi in "8 hot under-the-radar singles from emerging artists you need to hear now" said the song (Whistle) "quickly turns up the heat, layering irresistible finger snaps, a saccharine bridge, electric guitar riffs, mammoth bass, and, of course, cow bell-accompanied whistles ... it wouldn’t sound entirely out of place occupying a lofty position on American charts.
- "Whistle" music video
- "Boombayah" music video
- "Whistle" dance practice
- "Boombayah" dance practice
- Square One gained 118,573,385 streams in 2020 on Spotify.
- Square One is the fourth most streamed album by a K-Pop female act on Spotify (447.3M).
- Square One has surpassed 500 million streams on Spotify. It's the first debut project by a K-Pop act to do so.
- Square One is the third most streamed K-Pop girl group album with over 3 billion total global streams.
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