At this point in time, I feel like most young music fans have at least heard of BlackPink. Over the last few years, they have become one of the biggest artists in the world. They have broken many records throughout their careers so far, both within the KPop industry and the world’s music industry as a whole(like being the highest charting female group on the Billboard charts and having the most views on YouTube for a Korean group). BlackPink consists of Jennie, who was born in Korea but went to school in New Zealand, Rosè, who was born in Korea but raised in Australia, Jisoo, who was born and raised in Korea, and Lisa(aka LaLisa), who was born and raised in Thailand. They were brought together by the Korean entertainment agency YG Entertainment and released their debut single in 2016. After releasing a slew of singles for the next few years, they released their debut record, THE ALBUM, in 2020. After a brief hiatus for the group where Lisa and Rosè released solo music(Jennie released her first solo single back in 2018) and Jisoo starred in a popular Korean Drama television show, BlackPink has now come back with their second record, BORN PINK. With that being said, here is my opinion on BlackPink’s BORN PINK. Please let me know in the comments how you feel about this record, and also comment what your favorite songs on it are.
BORN PINK starts out with ‘Pink Venom,’ which was the first single released in anticipation for this record. Like so many of BlackPink’s hit singles in the past, this track leads off the record with a huge bang. Also, similar to a lot of their biggest singles, the song has a crazy instrumental with many switch-ups. There are elements of modern Trap, 90s Hip Hop, and EDM Trap, with some of the melody incorporating traditional Korean instruments. The verses of this song are rapped by Lisa and Jennie, while Rosè and Jisoo sing on the pre-chorus and contribute to the hook. The chorus on this song is such an earworm and it will immediately get stuck in anyone’s head. On ‘Pink Venom,’ BlackPink asserts that they are sweet yet fierce. ‘Pink Venom’ is a song that packs a huge punch, and it shows listeners why BlackPink became so popular in the first place. Following this, we get ‘Shut Down,’ which is the other single released from this record. This one has an instrumental which is a bit more tame and less sporadic, but it still hits just as hard as the previous track. ‘Shut Down’ is a more traditional modern Trap song with a pretty yet bold melody and overall sound. The melody uses a sample of Niccolo Paganini’s composition ‘La Campanella.’ This classical melody pairs super well with the hard-hitting Trap beat. Similar to the first song, Jennie and Lisa handle rapping on the verses while Jisoo and Rosè sing on the pre-chorus and chorus. It is another hook that will get stuck in your head; every time I hear this song I’m humming the chorus for some time afterward. On ‘Shut Down,’ BlackPink claps back at anyone who doesn’t believe in them or doesn’t like them. ‘Typa Girl’ is a song that brings back the off-the-wall kind of sound that ‘Pink Venom’ has. It has a punchy Trap beat that hits so hard and a melody that is constantly switching up. The tempo and tone stay pretty consistent throughout the song, but the synths used to make the melody change over and over again; this melody constantly goes back and forth from various horn noises and piano riffs. It is so unique and fun and draws the listener in because it has so much attitude. This track has a level of simplicity and complexity at the same time. On this one, Jennie and Lisa handle the first and second verses respectively, with all four women contributing to the chorus. ‘Typa Girl’ is self-empowerment, with Black Pink asserting they don’t need a partner to make them feel happy and successful. Next, we get ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah,’ which provides a total switch up from the previous three songs. This track departs from the Hip Hop-based energy the beginning of the record had, instead going in more of a Dance-Pop direction. ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ has emerged as one of my two favorite songs on the record. This track most definitely takes influence from 80s Synth-Pop sound that has been dominating Pop music over the last couple of years. I really love how bright and vibrant the melody of this song is. It reminds me a lot of artists like Carly Rae Jepsen, or some of The Weeknd’s brightest and happiest music(songs like ‘Blinding Lights,’ for instance.) The beat for this song does have a bit of a 2010s Electro-House sound. Particularly, it makes me think of Zedd. All four girls flex their singing chops on this track. I particularly think Jisoo shines on this track, as her rich tone pairs with the melody so well. On this track, BlackPink sings about falling in love with someone who is not reciprocating those feelings. The lyrics contrast the upbeat sound of the song.
‘Hard To Love’ has a sound that is unlike what one would expect from BlackPink. Instead, it sounds more like the solo music that Rosè released at the beginning of 2021. This is why it makes sense that she is actually the only person who sings on this track. ‘Hard To Love’ is an Alternative Pop-Rock track that shows shades of artists like Walk The Moon, Neon Trees, or even The Killers. Rosè kills it with her vocal performance on this song. I love the passion she sings this song with. ‘Hard To Love’ is another track that has a fun and bright melody but a more negative message. On this song, Rosè is telling someone she is interested in to stop going for her because she is not easy to be with since she has a lot of personal things to work on. BlackPink slows it down with the next track. ‘The Happiest Girl.’ Similar to the last track, this track is a complete departure from what BlackPink has released up until this point. It starts with a somber and calm Acoustic Pop instrumental driven by a beautiful piano riff; towards the end of the song, a beat and a bunch of synths come in to give the song a large climax. On this track, all four of the women truly show off how talented of vocalists they are. As great as Lisa and Jennie are on this song, Jisoo and Rosè stand out on this track. Jisoo’s powerful tone stands out in a big way, and ROSE’s range gives the song the necessary level of emotion. On ‘The Happiest Girl,’ BlackPink sings of a relationship that did not work out that has affected them negatively. Following this, we get ‘Tally,’ which has also emerged as a fan favorite. It is also my other personal favorite song on the album. BlackPink also tested out a new style of music for them on this track. It does go back to the Poppy Hip Hop roots that they have become known for, but it embraces a different kind of Pop and Hip Hop than they have made up until this point. Instead of having a bold and boisterous sound(which is what most people would expect from BlackPink), it has more of an easygoing sound. In other words, instead of this track being made for the club, it sounds more like something made for a kickback. This track has an Emo-Pop/Trap sound to it that is inspired by artists like iann dior or 24kGoldn. In fact, the guitar riff and tone particularly make me think of the Doja Cat song ‘Bottom Bitch.’ I love how much attitude the ladies sing with in this song. ‘Tally’ is about doing what you want and not caring about what anyone thinks, all four members of BlackPink demonstrate this point greatly on the track. The album closes out with ‘Ready For Love.’ This song was actually released back in July as a collaboration with a new edition of the mobile game PUBG. I didn’t know if this song was going to be on the record, because it was not released onto streaming services when it came out. I assumed it was just made for the game. I do appreciate that it is on streaming services, though, because it is a very nice track. It has elements that remind me of some of BlackPink’s best older tracks, such as ‘Lovesick Girls’ and ‘As If It’s Your Last,’ The song has a bright and fun Electro-Pop sound that makes me want to party. This song would be a great concert closer; I could see balloons and streamers coming down at the end of a show as this song plays. The stand-out performances on this song are definitely Rosè and Lisa. Rosè’s vocals are so rangey and beautiful in this song, and Lisa’s rap brings so much energy. Lyrically, this track closes out the album smoothly as well. After doubting the potential relationships they could be in throughout the project, BlackPink is stating they are finally able to accept love from a significant other. It brings the message of the record back to full circle.
Going into BORN PINK, I thought I knew what to expect. BlackPink had followed a pretty tight and specific formula up until this point that has worked super well; I didn’t see much of a reason or any indication that they would change anything. When I heard the first single, though, I was pleasantly surprised. Although it does have similarities to their previous work, the instrumental and overall sound of the song was pretty experimental for the group. The second single made me feel the same way; it does have elements that are close to what they have been known for in the past, but it still does not exactly follow their proven formula. As we get into the album past these first two songs, it is evident that BlackPink was determined to try something different. Instead of going with the trends that are popular among their previous discography and among KPop music, they decided to try trends that are popular in American music today. This culminated in music that dives into sounds like Synth-Pop, Pop-Rock, Acoustic Pop, and Emo-Trap. I appreciate that BlackPink was willing to make these kinds of music, because it shows how diverse they can be. Now that they have dipped their toes into these genres, I would love to see them push these sounds further in the future. It is so apparent that these women are extremely talented and can do anything, and I want to see them make something truly off-the-wall and divergent. BORN PINK is still a very good album, though, and it has a couple of the best songs from 2022. It is an album I will be bumping a lot for the foreseeable future, and it makes me very excited to see what they do next.