Blackpink’s sophomore album: Worth the wait?

Christian Festin, News Editor

“Born Pink,” the second full-length studio album by South Korean girl group Blackpink, released on Sept. 16. Debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 with eight new songs, this album marks the long-awaited return of the worldwide K-pop phenoms after their two-year hiatus, complete with excellent song variety, composition, and an exploration of a new side to the famous girl group.

The album primarily excels with its eclectic mix of genres, reminiscent of their debut album, “The Album.” “Born Pink” integrates a wide variety of influences with hard-hitting hip-hop and trap beats in the songs “Pink Venom” and “Shut Down,” and mellow synth-pop melodies in “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and “Ready to Love.” The album also draws upon pop-rock with jarring, overdriven electric guitar in the tracks “Tally” and “Hard to Love,” and even features a sentimental piano ballad titled “The Happiest Girl,” showcasing the versatility of the group. 

Bolstering their album even further is phenomenal production and composition. Each album track has sweeping build-ups followed by satisfying beat drops, a staple in Blackpink’s music. The songs feature a balance of catchy choruses juxtaposed with snappy rap verses delivered by members Lisa and Jennie. Powerful vocal performances, mainly from Rosé and Jisoo, and intricate harmonies are another highlight of each track. 

Alongside the wide variety of song styles and outstanding track quality, a few tracks on the album notably explored a more vulnerable side to Blackpink. Prime examples include “Hard to Love,” which details the singers’ fears about hurting someone else, and “The Happiest Girl,” a song full of angst, describing an emotionally-strained relationship and the toll it’s taken on both partners. 

Contrasting the fiercely confident image they’ve cultivated, this departure from their typical bravado makes “Born Pink” refreshing and stylistically unique. However, it does not truly capture the group’s growth after two years of experimentation with solo careers, nor does it outweigh how much Blackpink stuck to their characteristic sound, the reason for “The Album’s” commercial success. Fans wanted to see maturity and evolution in the group’s latest music, but “Born Pink” failed to deliver.  

 The album also falls flat in the lyrical department, featuring shallow lines centered around the group flaunting their wealth and success. Such examples include the line, “Diamonds shinin’, drive in silence, I don’t mind it, I’m riding / Flying private side by side with the pilot up in the sky,” in “Pink Venom,” or the lyric “Stay in your own lane ’cause I’m ’bout to swerve / Catch me when you hear my Lamborghini go vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom,” in “Shut Down.” These superficial lyrics are a repetitive aspect of the album that overwhelms listeners with unrelatable sentiments. 

Despite its lackluster lyrics and absence of innovation, Blackpink’s sophomore album, overall, solidifies the group’s status as K-pop royalty and provides fans with tracks that will grow to be Blackpink classics over time.