Internationally renowned, four-piece K-pop girl group BLACKPINK had been on a two-year-long hiatus until Friday, September 16, when they finally made a comeback with their new album BORN PINK.
Since the release of BORN PINK, BLACKPINK has topped the charts across the globe, even earning them their first #1 album on the US Billboard 200 chart. The last girl group album to snag the #1 spot was Danity Kane’s Welcome to the Dollhouse in 2008.
BORN PINK encompasses many different genres and includes elements of rock, pop and hip-hop. From top to bottom, BORN PINK showcases BLACKPINK’s signature sounds mixed with new touches that fans have never heard before. A prime example of this is their title track “Shut Down” which samples Niccolò Paganini’s classic instrumental, “Violin Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 7, “La campanella” by Niccolò Paganini. The track sounds very unique and different from what BLACKPINK has ever done.
My personal favorite tracks on this album are “Shut Down” and “Hard to Love.” When I first heard “Shut Down”, I was surprised; it sounds nothing like they’ve done before, and the hook is simply addicting. “Hard to Love” is another favorite because of group member Rosé’s amazing vocals, as she is the only one singing in this song. I personally liked every song besides “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” as it fell short and didn’t meet their usual high standard, lacking depth and doing a poor job in meeting BLACKPINK’s high bar they have set with their past discography. The track didn’t have any interesting production or lyrics and sounded like a very generic pop song which doesn’t match up with the unique sound they tend to go for in the rest of the album. Also, I feel like this song was intended to be on their pink side which is their lighter pretty songs and this easily is the weakest pink side they have ever released when you compare it to previous songs like “As If It’s Your Last” or “Lovesick Girls.”
Another song I want to mention is “The Happiest Girl,” which is the only slow ballad on the album. When I first heard this track, I cried. The lyrics, along with each member’s beautiful vocals, left my jaw on the floor. Lisa, BLACKPINK’s main rapper, surprised me the most in this song, especially since her vocals have never shined as well as they did in “The Happiest Girl.”
I rate the album overall a 9/10 because there was only one song I didn’t like, while the rest of the tracks each stand out. BORN PINK did not disappoint and definitely exceeded my expectations as they changed their sound this time around.
Although I loved this album as a whole, there is one criticism I have: it’s too short. Their debut album THE ALBUM was also only eight songs long, which annoyed me, as well. When they revealed the tracklist on social media, fans and I expressed deep concern for BLACKPINK. They are the reason why YG Entertainment is as big as it is, yet the entertainment agency released only eight songs, two being “Pink Venom” and “Ready to Love'' which both pre-released before the album dropped. I am happy with the songs we got, but after almost three years of waiting, I expected a lot more, and YG Entertainment continues to disappoint after each BLACKPINK comeback.
I reached out to a few BLACKPINK fans and casual listeners to ask them three questions: what their overall thoughts on the album are, what their favorite track is, and who their bias – meaning their favorite member – is in the group.
Junior Agriculture, and Communications double major Sydney Winkler said, “I thought the album was like, a nine out of 10 because of its creativity. But it wasn’t their original unique sound, and I think that with the rise of their global popularity, the songs are going to keep getting more and more basic because they have more and more fans that they need to appeal to.
My favorite song was probably “Shut Down” because it reminds me of their hardcore original sound, the sound that unites females everywhere because of the lyrics and the beat accompanying the story they are trying to tell.
My bias is Lisa because, first of all, she’s a terrific dancer. And based on her first solo single release going so well, she has what it takes to separate herself from the rest of the group. She can blend in and uplift others while making a name for herself, as well.”
Sophomore Civil, and Environmental Engineering major Beth Hutchins said: “It wasn't too bad, but for a two-year hiatus and break, I expected more. At this point, I genuinely think BLACKPINK needs new producers and the opportunity to write or produce their own music, if they want to grow as artists.
Nothing against the girls, they are all talented, but I feel like YG is stunting their growth as artists by giving them songs with all the same structure. My favorite track was “Typa Girl” and I bias Jisoo because of her vocal tone.”
Sophomore Elementary Education major Yohana Jirata said: “In all honesty, I think this album is on the weaker side compared to their first one. I was disappointed to see that the members weren’t able to put in as much creative input into it as they wanted – their credits were literally on only one song – and I really only enjoyed three or four out of the 8 songs.
My favorite track is “Typa Girl,” I feel it encapsulates BLACKPINK’s tone of girl crush very well, and while I find the lyrics a bit cliché, I really just vibed with the energy of the song. My bias is Rosé because she’s adorable and she genuinely enjoys music. It’s clearly her passion and I wish YG would let her write more because I liked her solo song Gone so much.”
For their next comeback, I hope YG Entertainment gives them an actual, full-length project and manages the group better. I am very proud of the girls for rising above all of the hate and for continuing to set the bar for music despite being held back by their agency. Any concept they do is always done perfectly, and this won’t be the last time BLACKPINK is in our area!