Born Pink: Was The Wait Really Worth the Devotion?


On July 31st, 2022, Blackpink fans (known as “Blinks”) all around the world rejoiced as it was announced via Youtube video that Blackpink would be coming out with a second album after a two year hiatus. With two years without any word from the girls, the album must be exceptional and be the best music that the band has put out…right?

To say that the bar was high for this album would be an understatement. Fans had many expectations for this album, including, but not limited to: The main rapper (Jennie) having an actual rap section in a song, the main dancer (Lisa) having a solo dance break, the two singers (Rosé and Jisoo) to have more challenging vocal sections, and for the chorus for the songs being sung instead of a beat drop that Blackpink had become known for. With all these wants and hopes in air, and excitement rising, Blackpink released the first song off the album: “Pink Venom.”

This was the first taste of the album we got and…what a let down. While Jennie did get the rap verse she deserved, it was the only true great part of the song. The light and airy vocals of Rosé and Jisoo were only great until the 3rd verse/breakdown of the song. The song used its geomungo as a crutch to lean itself on more than a fun backing track to boost the performers, a problem that is prevalent throughout the album. The chorus didn’t have a big beat drop like fans wanted, nor did they have a singing chorus, but instead it settled for an anti-climatic repetitive talking chorus that after a few listens became mind numbingly irritating. The opening song of an album that also doubles as the teaser song is supposed to give fans a taste and to want more, but it made me want to stay away from the album altogether and push it away from any playlist it could contaminate.

With the albums released on September 16th, we also got the music video release for the second song on the album: “Shut Down,” a song that “Pink Venom” wishes it could be.
“Shut Down” samples Niccolò Paganini’s second violin concerto (commonly known as “La Campanella”) and has a similar problem that “Pink Venom” had: it relies far too much on said sample. Instead of the sample being a fun addition to the song, it becomes the backbone keeping the song from falling down and crumbling ever so quickly.

The song also doesn’t play to any of the girl’s strengths particularly well. While it does have a rap verse for Jennie and Lisa, the flow of both girls seems clunky and rushed, mostly due to the awkward instrumental and use of the sample mentioned above. While Jennie’s deep vocals shine during the first chorus, that’s the only time we truly hear them. The rest of the girls (Rosé and Jisoo in particular) tend to sound very uncomfortable and out of place.

Another song that falls victim to this “out of place, out of touch” feeling is the song “Tally.”

While there isn’t anything too inherently special or bad about “Tally,” it all lasts and feels like a song done last minute because the album needed to be a certain length. The hip hop based song also comes after not only a huge tonal shift within the album, but the highlight songs off the album, and is even followed up by one. Hence, Tally is a low point, being sandwiched in between two great songs.

A song that doesn’t get the excuse for being bland due to placement is “Typa Girl” which just tends to be the same Blackpink formula that we have not only seen multiple times on the album thus far, but that we’ve seen in the six years prior to this.

The album shines with the songs “Yeah Yeah Yeah”, “Hard To Love”, “The Happiest Girl”, and “Ready for Love”; the latter not intended for the album at all.

Ready for Love was a song the producers and Blackpink team considered a throw away song, as it was a song the girls made for the app PubG. The song is very dance heavy, and opens up the vocal talent of the girls, pushing their ranges yet not straining them.

“Yeah Yeah Yeah” and “Hard to Love” take Blackpink in a direction they had never taken before. The songs dismiss its hip hop based predecessors, and take a nostalgic 80’s approach, using a synthesizer and electric keyboard to build the songs throughout. Both are rap-absent, which is a breath of fresh air and truly lets each girl’s strengths shine, especially Rosé who takes the lead and is the only one to sing the latter of the songs.

Taking a step away from the upbeat 80’s pop song sound, “The Happiest Girl” (“THG”) hits you in your heart in a slow ballad song, something that tends to be unfamiliar territory for the group. “THG” is about an abusive relationship, a topic that the girls have sung about numerous times before in their other comebacks (“Playing With Fire”, “Stay”, “Lovesick Girls”). This song stands out however for not trying to mask the harshness of the song behind a dance beat. The song is very delicate, and you can hear the pain in each girl’s voice, taking the listener on a journey through the fight and relationship that happened prior to the song. While it is a huge tonal shift, the song manages to be a highlight off the album, and being an immediate favorite of mine.

Overall, the album hits the highest of highs for Blackpink and opens up a new sound and style to proceed with in the future, after six years of the same trap beats. While they had very low points song wise this album, it was a great transition album and a way to showcase the girls’ voices. But was it worth the two year wait?

Short answer, yes. With two years to perfect the songs and sound, they were free to figure out the best routes that played to all the girls strengths, making the girl group stronger performance wise than ever, and we can’t wait to see what they put out next.