After almost two full years since the release of their debut full-length album The Album, K-pop superstar Blackpink has returned with Born Pink. Expectations were extremely high and pressure for this comeback was considerably higher because to the lengthy gap since their last full project, with everyone asking themselves, “Will Blackpink disappoint?”
Blackpink shut it down
Blackpink apparently heard it and made the decision to end everything with their title single, Shut Down. The song sounds like a hip-hop track with trap beats in the perfect spots over a sample of Niccol Paganini’s classical composition La Campanella, giving it the group’s signature swank vibe.
Shut Down is both refreshing and strikingly reminiscent of Blackpink’s sound thanks to the fascinating production and appealing hooks; it isn’t unoriginal but also doesn’t go too far from the group’s signature sleekness.
The song is enticing and appealing (just like any other Blackpink title tune), but it is not obnoxious or dependent on cliched tricks. It feels fresh yet is blatantly Blackpink.
The sample is utilized in this song in a clever and pleasing manner, acting more as a byline to support the song’s opulent and unique aesthetic than as a main focus and leaving the rhythm to stand on its own. It generates a noticeable underlay that keeps the song’s main body moving in the right direction without overpowering the track.
Shut Down seems like the ideal fusion of a song and an earworm since it maintains a consistent underlying structure throughout. It is well-crafted enough to be enjoyed for its musical quality but catchy enough to stick in your head.
Taste that pink venom
Nearly a month ago, the first single from the album Pink Venom was published, and it instantly became a global success.
The chorus of the song, when the females exhort the audience to “taste that pink venom,” contains the song’s main hook. But even without its catchiness, the song is really intriguing and interesting, especially in terms of production.
The song begins with a menacing chant of “Blackpink” over a traditional Korean music, which remains throughout the first verse. In the second verse, they delve into 90s rap with traces of hyper-pop, and the song culminates in a dramatic “RA TA TA TA” ending before being abruptly cut off. It might occasionally leave you perplexed.
In all honesty, the ‘RA TA TA TA’ climax isn’t one of the song’s most perplexing moments because it is, in fact, more likely to happen than not. Although the song’s sound is actually quite unique for the group, we have heard chanted dance break ends in pretty much every Blackpink title track, which makes the song sound extremely similar.
Pink Venom is known for its seemingly unconnected lyrics that are actually connected by the order in which they are presented. Although that is a novel approach for Blackpink, the use of the same old conclusion formula detracts from the novelty of the style. It has a lively, infectious feel that is unmistakably Blackpink. Maybe a little bit too much.
B-sides – a faltering low tally
Typa Girl, a trap/hip hop b-side with a distinctive organ melody, strong lyrics, and an even louder beat, continues the trend of Blackpink tracks that feel incredibly Blackpink. With its aggressive attitude and nasty rhythm drops, the song blends seamlessly into the group’s discography while still feeling fresh.
Typa Girl looks to be the ideal follow-up to Shut Down because of its simple and appealing production style; both tracks will grab your attention without being too loud.
As the record’s sound-lanes change, we hear the pop song Yeah Yeah Yeah, which features 80s-style production and retro synthesizers. Although this song is a welcome change of pace from the band’s typical b-sides, it really simply feels like another victim of Kpop’s uncontrollable fixation with the 1980s over the past few years.
It doesn’t really add anything fresh to the table because of its dated and bland progression; rather than being a full meal, it feels more like something you have to get through to get to the next course.
Hard To Love, a pop b-side with a retro vibe that is number five on the track list, is sung by lead vocalist Rosé. This solo has a sound that is extremely similar to disco, just as the prior track. However, the production reaches a more sophisticated and intriguing climax when the bright vocals are combined with the energizing guitar tone, making it one of the standouts on Born Pink.
The foreseeable The Happiest Girl follows, serving as the record’s required ballad moment. The song’s dismal and dark tone is perfectly complemented by the members’ excellent vocals, which successfully convey the emotions expressed in the lyrics.
However, the performance runs the risk of becoming a little monotonous by not deviating much from the standard melancholy piano progression. Only in the final chorus do we get a more developed composition that feels like the song is finished. This makes for a spectacular climax, yes, but it also makes the rest of the song feel like a task you have to do in order to get to the end.
The last of the brand-new songs is Tally, a hip-hop-influenced pop tune with a crisp guitar tone that gives it a more rock vibe. This b-side provides an easy listening experience due to the repetitive production and circular progression, but it is nevertheless memorable and distinctive due to its simplicity. It is also simple to adore.
Ready for disappointment
With Born Pink, Blackpink and I both decided to reserve the worst for last. Ready For Love, the album’s final track, was originally released as a PUBG Mobile tie-in after being dropped as a b-side from the group’s debut album (for understandable reasons). And in my opinion, that’s where it ought to have remained—on PUBG, away from the records, and away from all of us.
The song is not inherently horrible, but it sounds like the makers were trying to replicate a 2018 tune from memory and is really generic and out-of-date. Even said, it still has a few redeeming elements, so I wouldn’t fully write it off.
The fact that Ready For Love appeared on the album, and particularly as the last track, is all that makes it that horrible. It feels disappointing and anticlimactic for Born Pink to end her album with that song of all songs; it’s almost like getting socks for Christmas; it’s not horrible per se, but deep down you wanted something better.
Ready for disappointment
Overall, Born Pink accomplishes things that its predecessor couldn’t, but it also falls short in the same manner.
Born Pink feels like an album worthy of the name, conveying a clear message to the audience, in contrast to The Album, which felt more like a collection of (excellent) songs cobbled together for the sake of producing at least one album with over five songs.
Despite the wide range of sounds and subgenres, Blackpink’s identity can be felt in each song. They remain true to who they are throughout the album, gracefully exhibiting both their pink and their dark sides.
However, The Album and Born Pink both have the same fatal flaw: they are just too brief. Both albums only have eight tracks each, thus they are done in a flash and don’t provide enough material for fans to continue.
Additionally, due to the lack of time for the highs to counterbalance the lows, such shorter albums make all of the record’s flaws considerably more obvious. The flatness, datedness, and derivativeness all feel even more dated, flat, and derivative. There are simply not enough songs to keep the listener nourished and satisfied because the tracks tend to melt into one another.
If you disregard Ready For Love, Born Pink is a more developed body of work than The Album, yet it still leaves you wanting more Blackpink.