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Last Updated 27.11.2022 | 4:37 PM IST



BLACKPINK swings between galvanic and occasionally monotonous sounds to reinforce their identity in ‘Born Pink’ – Album Review

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After two years of wait, BLACKPINK dropped their album with two lead tracks ‘Pink Venom’ and ‘Shut Down’.

K-pop powerhouse female group BLACKPINK is back in your area! The group of members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa made a comeback 22 months after their first full album The Album which was released in October 2020. The album dropped on September 16, 2022.  Since then, the girls had been active in their solo pursuits and collaborations. The quartet released their second album Born Pink after two years of wait. The album also features the pre-release single ‘Pink Venom’ which was released in August this year. The song is short and crisp with 8 tracks nearing the 3-minute mark, a similar number as seen in The Album. 

BLACKPINK swings between galvanic and occasionally monotonous sounds to reinforce their identity in ‘Born Pink’ – Album Review

BLACKPINK swings between galvanic and occasionally monotonous sounds to reinforce their identity in ‘Born Pink’ – Album Review

Born Pink packs the classic BLACKPINK flavour of clubbing pop and rock. The album opens with the pre-release single ‘Pink Venom’. The song speaks about the ‘pink venom’ that they spread because of their success. The venom is jealousy and envy in the minds of the naysayers. The song is a heady mix of genres ranging from hip hop, rap and even some sprinkle of rock. The composition feels a little abrupt as it shifts genres, but the song eventually grows on the listeners.

The album’s title track is ‘Shut Down’ which is a stunning mix of glories – both past and present. The music video sports multiple references to BLACKPINK’s previous releases like ‘Du Ddu Du Ddu’, ‘Whistle’, and ‘Boombayah’. Each of these past music videos of the group has proven to be a great milestone for propelling the group to new heights of success. It would have been great to see new themes in the music video instead of relying on nostalgia. The song ‘Shut Down’ is just under 3 minutes and throughout sports “La Campanella” a section of the classic 19th-century composition “the Grandes études de Paganini” by composers Franz Liszt and Niccolo Paganini. This classical piece is one of the most difficult pieces to play as it runs on a high-speed tempo. The inclusion of a sample from “La Campanella” only further indicates the groups’ risk-taking capabilities. But the risk-taking falls short somewhere as the verses are not equally distributed. The mix of classic and modern trap music in Shut Down heightens the effects of the lyrics “It's black and it's pink once the sundown / When we pull up, you know it's a shutdown / Pull down the shutter lock the door, shut down” as the group celebrates their success unabashedly and owns it unapologetically.

The next track ‘Typa Girl’ is surprising. It opens with a soothing instrumental which lasts a few seconds making way for the stretchy hip hop beats. The song speaks about the type of girls the quartet is – which is breaking the barriers of gender stereotypes and also leading a life of lavish luxury – “I bring money to the table, not your dinner / Both my body and my bank account, good figure / Thinking 'bout me, but there's nothing to consider / If I let you in my circle, you a winner”. The groovy beats in the chorus enhance the song even further.

The fourth track in the album is ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’. It is quite different from its predecessors as the girls tap into the 2000s disco pop genre. The bass guitar continues punctuating their vocals throughout the song and the reverb in the chorus adds a certain depth to the song. ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ is a simple romance number about a chance encounter that might not be fully good – “You and I, our first meeting ridiculous / This is a script written by someone/It's a bit suspicious to be a coincidence”.

BLACKPINK swings between galvanic and occasionally monotonous sounds to reinforce their identity in ‘Born Pink’ – Album Review

‘Hard to Love’ is a solo track by Rosé. The track, sung completely in English ventures further into the discotheque genre but with lighter notes. The upbeat tones stand in complete contrast to the lyrics as Rose sings “I'll make it feel like heaven, but I swear I'm not a saint / And you won't see the truth 'causе I'll be kissin' it away”. Rosé brings back the charm from her solo debut ‘R’ as she belts out the track in her raspy vocals.

BlackPink makes an attempt at the ballad genre with ‘The Happiest Girl’. The song is poles apart from the rest of the tracks in the album. Its effect falls flat as it does not match up the synergies collectively present in other tracks. The song is a soft composition of instrumentals and piano notes and the members bring out the emotions beautifully as they sing “The doors we slammed, the plates we smashed / Echo with the sound of madness / I can't remember why we try”. But ‘The Happiest Girl’ is a good show of the group’s talent once again after ‘Stay’ that they can make good deliveries in the high tempo and low tempo songs.

The penultimate track of ‘Born Pink’ is ‘Tally’. The song spreads a positive message of achieving one’s goals and being proud of it with lyrics like “I say "f**k it" when I feel it / Cause no one's keepin' tally / I do what I want with who I like / I ain't gon' conceal it”. The mellow hip hop and pop composition is narrated in the style of documentary narration. Imagine a life story being narrated and BLACKPINK’s ‘Tally’ is played as the background score. That’s how the song feels.

‘Born Pink’ concludes in an upbeat mood with the dance-pop number ‘Ready for Love’. The song is accompanied by the music video for the popular video game PUBG. The song is a declaration of love and it also shows a positive and bright future ahead of the girls. Being ‘ready for love’ can be translated as ‘love’ in a romantic sense and also ‘love’ as the love that they receive from their fans. “There's no need to be afraid / Show me the colors of your heart / I really need you in my world / Open your eyes, here I am in front of you.” The track is a funky composition of electro-pop beats with an occasional segue of beat drops.

In conclusion, BLACKPINK’s Born Pink celebrates the quartet’s success as one of the most popular and in-demand girl groups across the globe in today’s times. The album attempts to take the quartet’s narrative further. But it only remains as an attempt for the album makers to reign on the past glory of the group’s success. For a group that has been on the scene for six years now, the limited discography and the dance on past glories seem quite limiting. The four members – Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa – give their best shot in the music, but considering their activities outside of the group, the chances given to them in participating in the album’s making feel inadequate. Certain complaints from the fans about unequal distribution in the past can also be seen repeated in Born Pink. It makes one wonder what the makers think of the group as a whole and the members as individuals. Usually, a full-length album shows more variety and also has more scope to experiment but all of this looks quite limiting with the less number of tracks in Born Pink. Additionally, only one member featured a solo on the album when there was a scope to give one solo to each member and increase the tracklist as well. There is a sense of incompleteness in the album for there were a lot of expectations and not all of them were met.

Also Read: BLACKPINK’s ‘Pink Venom’ ineligible for rankings on Korean chart show, Music Bank; here’s why


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