By: Amy Szmik, Copy Editor
[YG Entertainment; 2022]
Key tracks: “Yeah Yeah Yeah”, “Hard to Love”, “The Happiest Girl”
Disappointing is one word to describe BLACKPINK’s new album, BORN PINK. Superstar KPOP group BLACKPINK released their sophomore album in September, two years after their debut album, aptly titled THE ALBUM. The four member group features Jennie, Rosé, Jisoo and Lisa, and debuted under famed KPOP company YG Entertainment back in 2016. Despite being in the industry for a long time, there is no noticeable growth through their music. It’s especially evident in BORN PINK. While the eight-song album has some good and memorable tracks, many of them are repetitive and could be easily chalked up to empty noise. Blackpink can make good music; they obviously have a discography of good and popular songs, but for an album that was so highly anticipated, it feels like a let down.
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Many of the songs feature a beat that is consistent throughout the entire track, as either Lisa, Rosé or Jennie repeat a buzzword as the chorus. “Shut Down” is a good example of that, with rapping over blown-out flute instrumentation. The words “whip it” are repeated over and over in the song. The lack of lyricism in many of the songs can be argued as YG’s style, but it simply isn’t an excuse enough, because it feels unfinished and lazy. Their comeback song, “Pink Venom,” is guilty of this too. Despite the cool chants and Korean instruments used to give the song an exciting feel, the chorus again falls flat. Reducing the song to “this that pink venom, this that pink venom, this that pink venom / (get ‘em get ‘em get ‘em)” is disappointing, especially when the song had a solid build up. It feels like the songs were written quickly, or written to be earworms due to the constant repetition.
Although it’s disappointing in some of the songs, the album still has some quality to it. Again, the girls can sing. They have talent, it’s just unfortunate what their company gave them. “Hard to Love” is a good pop song, featuring a guitar against synthesizers as Rosé’s solo song on the album. The 80s pop sound works well against Rosé’s voice. She carries emotion in her voice, and she does it convincingly. The song is definitely a stand out on the album. “The Happiest Girl” is another stand out, and sounds noticeably different from the other songs on the album. While the other songs are heavily hip hop influenced, “The Happiest Girl” is a ballad song led by a piano. Highlighting the versatility in the girls’ vocals, it’s easy to hear the distinguishing tones from each voice — it showcases a different side of BLACKPINK.
BORN PINK could have been so much more. It didn’t feel polished or finished as an album. Noise and repetition isn’t a bad thing when done right, but it just didn’t work for this album. The girls, again, have the talent and skills, they have released plenty of songs that show that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anything new from what we’ve already heard from them. Luckily, the album still had some redeeming songs that showcased the quality they’ve been missing in their work. Blackpink has been using the same concept and musical style since 2016, and hopefully by their next release, it’ll be something different.