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Review: Blackpink’s “Born Pink,” Track-by-Track

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

After years of radio silence from K-pop supergroup Blackpink, their second studio album “Born Pink” dropped on Sept. 16, 2022. As a longtime fan I was looking forward to it but knew I’d be underwhelmed with a short tracklist and half-baked songs, was “Born Pink” to be anything like their first studio album, “The Album.” 

I found this to be somewhat true. Some songs on the album shine while others don’t, so I think “Born Pink” would be best looked at one track at a time.

Pink Venom

“Pink Venom” is an acquired taste in every sense of the term. The first time I heard the track, which was released ahead of the full album, my expression contorted in such a way that I might describe as offended. Although right off the bat I was enamored by the introduction—something about artists saying their own name always gets me—I was immediately put off by the bizarre beat and more than questionable lyrics. The pre-chorus builds as any Blackpink song would, but against their usual pattern, the chorus did what I call an “anti-drop,” meaning that the chorus is more minimal than the buildup. It surprised me, but not in a good way—at first. To be frank, the lyrics are kind of annoying. As a regular K-pop fan, that’s not something I let bother me too much. In fact, I surprised myself when the song finally drew to an end and I hit the replay button.

“Pink Venom” is not for everyone, and I wouldn’t expect it to be. I think Blackpink’s biggest mistake with this song was putting it first on the album’s tracklist. Even though “Pink Venom” is only an “okay” song, in my opinion, if you keep listening after this point you may just be let down.

Shut Down

I will say that “Shut Down” is definitely the black sheep of the Blackpink discography. It’s unlike anything they’ve made before, which is cool, I guess. 

That’s all I’ve got in the way of nice things to say about this song. Maybe it’s the ¾ time signature, but to me, “Shut Down” just sounds like a sea shanty. The lyrics leave much to be desired, as well; I couldn’t help but laugh listening to these poor girls rush to say “whip it” four times in a row, twice, far too quickly for the pace of the song’s beat. 

Somehow, they managed to break away from their typical EDM-beat drop-hype girl music while staying just as formulaic as they ever are. Something I’ll always love about Blackpink is that I always know which one of the four girls is going to start singing next.

With visions of sailing the high seas dancing in my mind, I turned the song off after only listening to it enough times to write this review.

Typa Girl

Listen, I get it. Sometimes pop music is just too exciting. I can only take so many fun, energetic, get-on-your-feet melodies in a day before I’m simply over it. If you feel the same and you’re looking for a pop song to which you can just kick back and relax, “Typa Girl” is for you.

“Typa Girl” is boring. It’s a boring song. The lyrics are tired, not that I’d expect anything groundbreaking from a group who only two tracks ago was singing “this that pink venom.” This track, particularly the beat, sounds like the runoff from “Shut Down.” Maybe this song is just a mish-mash of all the elements that weren’t quite good enough to make it into a song for which they’d be producing a multi-million dollar music video.

The problem is that it’s trying to be something that it’s not: a fun, danceable girl-power anthem. It is, of course, not any of those things.

Yeah Yeah Yeah

By this point in the album, I was feeling let down. This album I had waited so long for was not, in any way, shaping up to be what I had hoped for.

That was until the baseline of “Yeah Yeah Yeah” began to fade in, and all my disappointment vanished.

Though it makes use of only your typical pop sounds, after a single verse and the hopefulness of the pre-chorus, this song had already risen to the top of my personal song ranking on “Born Pink.” I love a little synth, and the chorus offers just that. “Yeah Yeah Yeah” is filled to the brim with a nostalgic vibe, and instantly I was driving off into the sunset at the end of my own coming-of-age movie. It’s reminiscent of “Lovesick Girls,” Blackpink’s first deviation from their own norm. I would argue that “Yeah Yeah Yeah” is one of Blackpink’s best songs, if not the very best.

Hard to Love

I admire each and every member of Blackpink for different reasons, but I’ve always been a particular fan of Rosé, one of the stronger vocalists in the group. She was given a solo track on “Born Pink,” “Hard to Love,” which I had been looking forward to. It only just exceeded my expectations—but exceeded my expectations nonetheless. “Hard to Love” is a downright groovy song and suits Rosé’s delicate, slightly raspy vocals well. It’s an easy song to listen to, which is something I appreciate in pop music.

The Happiest Girl

Would it really be a Blackpink album if there wasn’t a single ballad somewhere in there? 

Something I think stands out about “The Happiest Girl” is that its lyrics present a storyline not only unfamiliar to Blackpink but to K-pop as a whole. The song talks about grieving a hopeless relationship and coping in unhealthy ways. It’s cool, it’s real and it’s relatable. The group’s impressive vocals are backed by a gentle piano melody.

“The Happiest Girl” is a fine song. I can understand the draw, but it’s just not for me. Songs like this by groups like Blackpink are for a certain audience: truly devoted, hardcore fans eager for a change in pace. In my opinion, that’s okay.

Tally

Let’s take a few steps back here. Maybe you actually liked “Typa Girl,” and when that song ended you thought to yourself “wow, I would like more of that, please.” I’m not sure if I’m describing anyone who actually exists, but if you feel this way, you’ll probably like “Tally.”

There’s not much else that can be said about this song. The sudden dropping of the F-bomb in the first line threw me off, which I thought was kind of funny.

Ready For Love

Grab your Vera Bradley wallet and ask your mom for $20, because it’s 2016 and we’re going to the mall.

I once described this song as “fitting room music that’s playing way too loud as you cry over those pants you really like not fitting right,” and I stand behind that. “Ready For Love” and its predictable EDM-like drop sounds like something Blackpink would have released in their earlier days (see: 2016). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, except for the fact that in the years following their debut they continued to release music following exactly the same formula. They were able to break free from that for a stint in 2020, but this song has Blackpink going back to their roots. “Ready For Love” was revealed during a virtual performance on the battle royale game PUBG Mobile.

If you miss the old Blackpink, give “Ready For Love” a listen. I bet you’ll like it. Did it really have to be the last track on the album, though?

Emily Richardson is a journalism and gender studies student at Virginia Commonwealth University and HCVCU's Editor-in-Chief. She has contributed to a number of independent publications and has interests in social issues, sustainability and pop culture.
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