In case you still haven't heard of them, BLACKPINK are poised to the run the world. Alright, perhaps an overstatement, but their long awaited return single, bearing the beautifully ludicrous, oh-so-K-pop title of 'DDU-DU DDU-DU', wracked up 90 million views in 8 days (a record, mind you), and the charming girl group are reportedly receiving offer after offer from interested parties stateside. With BTS having proven just how marketable K-pop has become in the West with a #1 Billboard bow, it's no surprise more hands are looking for more cookie jars. BLACKPINK rising to the top of the pile is no more shocking.

How their own label has handled them is more of a mystery. YG Entertainment is run by an artist, in theory, for other artists, and has been a mega-successful home for the likes of Psy and Big Bang. Their recent conduct is more confusing. BLACKPINK debuted in 2016, churning out smash singles seemingly with ease, only to putter to a baffling stop in 2017.

To be clear, a year can be an eternity in K-pop. The biggest groups tend to drop off singles twice a year, if not more often, peppering the cluttered, noisy scene with mini-albums to maintain a near constant presence.

For some reason, BLACKPINK only offered 'As If It's Your Last' in '17, during a crucial sophomore year, no less. Granted, the song was a smash, but fans worldwide were left wondering why YG were leaving their newest stars in stasis.

SQUARE UP manages to make all that seem unimportant. Why only 4 tracks after the wait? It was easy to gripe glancing at the track list prior to release; it stopped mattering upon hearing some of the most urgent, irresistible pop to hit the market this year. K-pop is no longer a passing amusement for most with only a dedicated niche truly invested: everyone is listening. Shaking off a past of failed American pushes, and emboldened by BTS' success, Korean labels are now consciously competing for Western ears more than ever.

What might seem like an obvious move for most of us hasn't felt as necessary for K-pop. Controlling such a deeply saturated scene at home has kept coffers overflowing, and Western fans inclined for the movement have largely gravitated towards it on their own. Artists took their shots, from BoA to Wonder Girls to, more recently, YG's own CL. Formerly the leader of mega-popular group 2NE1, and a massive presence at home, the huge personality has been criminally languishing with Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber's, among others, manager, for those that don't know) for years now.

There has been reason for caution, and I'd expect yet more of it as YG and the other big players dip their toes further into the Western market, but SQUARE UP is one of the biggest steps yet taken towards global K-pop domination. The likes of Braun suddenly feel very unnecessary when Korean artists can do numbers off YouTube. They're reaching curious new fans simply from word of mouth.

SQUARE UP is certainly prepared to keep spreading the gospel, with readymade hooks and airtight, bursting sonics. 'DDU-DU DDU-DU' is all braggadocio, with what's being said less important than how they say it, building strength on irresistible cadences, verses, whether sung or rapped, flowing seamlessly. The chorus, "Hit you with that DDU-DU DDU-DU," is essentially nonsense. Is it sexual? Are they looking to fight? The BLACKPINK energy tends to lean playfully in the latter direction, and this anthem is no different, boisterous to the end.

Next up, 'Forever Young' is more ambitious, but just as addictive. Some noise has been made about an old video proving YG has been holding on to the song for years, and it could be considered worrisome that the best bop here is from the last batch, but it hardly matters when the groove kicks in. Boasting influences from reggaeton to balearic beat, the song spirals in and out of an explosive chorus, including the gem, "BLACKPINK is the revolution."

Having gone from confrontational to blissfully ecstatic in just two songs, BLACKPINK revolve towards matters of the heart on 'Really'. Naturally, they're loath to tie up a bow for just any love song, asking a lover to state their damn intentions already across the push-pull of an earworm. While 'Really' may dance a fine line between being sweet and antagonizing, closing track 'See U Later' leans hard into the Mean Girls vibe:

Would have...could have, should have...didn't
See u later...maybe...never.

Cold, y'all. BLACKPINK just might be the revolution.