K-pop mega girl group BLACKPINK recently released their “Born Pink” record which has been generally well received by fans, with a seemingly general consensus that it does make up for their almost two-year absence from the music scene.
Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa came back to the music scene with their second album, bringing in a new and refreshing BLACKPINK sound that is possibly taking every blink by surprise.
The two title tracks, “Pink Venom” and “Shut Down,” stay faithful to their signature sound of having cultural instruments in their songs while delivering a very hip-hop based performance that’s evident in their lyrics and choreography. However, as you progress through the long play record (LP), the direction of their sound becomes noticeably different.
The B-side tracks do still give their signature aura but does take in a lot more American pop influence than usual. “Typa Girl” still has the Indian-like synth riff that was evident back in “How You Like That,” but the pre-chorus is where it gets interesting–it gives off a very mysterious vibe before it goes back to their spunk in the chorus.
When you get to “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” that’s where the real change starts to happen. You get synth sounds that sound like it came from other EDM artists like Throttle or Audien. From the intro guitar to the beats in the verses, the song sounds like it could be an American summer song from the 2010s with a little mix of eighties vibes. It also sounds like a song Jeon Somi would do as it does sound like her song “Anymore.”
Then we have the third Rosé solo song titled “Hard to Love” which starts off like a song made by Marshmello, because it does have a resemblance with “Happier.” Rosé delivers another heartfelt performance in this song, which is accompanied by a catchy chorus that can get listeners hooked. It’s also a full English song, which could adds to my initial point why the album feels more western than Korean. It’s the shortest song in the album but arguably one of its best.
But of course, BLACKPINK will not leave out the opportunity to showcase their vocals, and they’ve shown it in “The Happiest Girl” which is probably on its way to becoming a crowd favorite. The group delivers an emotional ballad that talks about getting over a breakup and how they’re much stronger than the sorrow they feel. Specially hard-hitting is Jisoo’s part in the chorus where she sings the lines “I can stop the tears if I want to.” Very powerful stuff.
Moving on to the second to the last song “Tally,” the song gives off more bad bitch vibes, as with pretty much the majority of their songs, but this one does have explicit lyrics, telling listeners that they do what they like and no one’s going to stop them.
Last song is one that was released earlier before the album and was part of a promotion with PUBG Mobile titled “Ready for Love,” which is generally a fun song that sounds a lot like a Jonas Blue production (to be honest) but nonetheless still catchy and fun, as any pop song should be.
Overall, Born Pink is good, although it does appear to appeal more to international audiences rather than their Korean fans. With American pop influences being used a lot more in their songs, expect western audiences to love this album more. This could have an effect on their Korean fanbase, but that is certainly a discussion for another time.
As revolutionary as K-pop seems to be, the music seems to more about melding existing genres rather than forging something original. When it comes to infusing elements of African-American culture into its music, much has been made of K-Pop’s inability to distinguish between inspiration and appropriation and judging by some of the accents used when the members rap in English, there is still more work to be done. /VT
Other POP! stories you might like: