Photo: YG Entertainment
5 Takeaways From BLACKPINK's New Album, 'Born Pink': New Sounds, Familiar Names On 8-Track Bop
BLACKPINK’s sophomore album stays true to the group’s hip-hop-infused sound while showcasing each member’s range. Here are five insights about their latest release, 'Born Pink.'
After dropping two hit pre-release singles, a record-breaking music video and a red-hot VMA performance, BLACKPINK’s summer takeover culminates with the arrival of their new full-length album, Born Pink.
With their signature black-and-pink lightsticks in hand, the best-selling foursome ushered their latest release into the world with an official countdown party on YouTube. During the party, they previewed their new music video for "Shut Down," displayed photos from the Light Up The Pink Campaign — the promotional campaign lit major landmarks across the globe in the group’s signature pink color — and showed off their newest merch.
As the countdown party drew to a close, Lisa, Rosé, Jisoo and Jennie read letters of gratitude to Blinks — their dedicated fanbase — before wrapping things up with the release of the music video for "Shut Down," which coincided with the arrival of Born Pink on all major streaming platforms.
The long-awaited eight-track LP doubles down on the group’s distinct hip-hop and EDM-infused sound while experimenting with bubblegum pop, disco, and punk elements. "If The Album focused solely on music, we tried to express BLACKPINK’s true nature through [Born Pink]," Rosé told XSportsNews.
From Jisoo’s rap verse to Rosé’s surprise solo, here are five takeaways from BLACKPINK’s new album, Born Pink.
'Born Pink' Doesn’t Feature Any Guest Appearances
BLACKPINK has previously collaborated with pop heavy-hitters like Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, and Cardi B, so there was rampant speculation about the guest appearances on Born Pink. However, Blinks hoping for a Taylor Swift collab — after her response to the group’s breakout VMA performance — were discouraged when the album’s track list was released, and Swift’s name was nowhere to be found. Although there are no collabs, the quartet more than holds their own and highlight their individual talents.
The melancholy ballad "The Happiest Girl" showcases Lisa’s vocals and vulnerability while Jisoo steps into her rap moment with a blistering verse on "Shut Down." Rosé’s soaring vocals shine on "Hard to Love" and "Yeah Yeah Yeah," while Jennie’s rapid-fire flows on "Pink Venom" and "Shut Down" exhilarate thanks to her braggadocious delivery.
Rosé Takes The Lead On "Hard To Love"
The first few tracks on the album showcase BLACKPINK’s standard hip-hop heavy sound, but halfway through the album, the group flips the script by treating listeners to an unexpected Rosé solo called "Hard to Love," a guitar-pop anthem that channels Taylor Swift. This isn’t Rosé’s first solo outing — in 2021, the singer released her first single album, R, featuring the singles "Gone" and "On The Ground."
"Hard to Love" was well-received on social media, but many Blinks were hoping for a Jisoo solo moment. The singer is the only group member who hasn’t released a single album, and there was heavy speculation that she’d take the lead on one of Born Pink’s tracks. However, she has been on the fence about setting off on her own.
Last May, Jisoo told Rolling Stone that she wasn’t sure which direction to take her sound. "I love songs with lots of instruments. I love different bands and rock music. What do people want from me? There’s a chaos of conflicting questions. So I’m still tilting my head in confusion. I’m not sure what will happen with my solo plans this year."
"Shut Down" Captures The Essence of BLACKPINK’s Sound
BLACKPINK’s signature swagger is on full display in this drippy hip-hop track, which features a familiar classical sample — "La Campanella," by the Italian composer Niccolo Paganini. On the audacious track, the Pinks address their detractors — or antis, as the Blinks call them — with in-your-face lines like, "Praying for my downfall, many have tried, baby" and "Bunch of wannabes that wanna be me, me three if I was you."
After hearing the demo for the first time, the quartet fell in love with the bass-thumping song and decided to make it the album's title track. (In K-pop, a title track refers to a lead single accompanied by a music video.) "We gathered in the recording studio altogether and listened to the demo. When the intro came out, I think all the members were speechless and just looked at each other," Lisa said to XSportsNews. "Through just our eyes, we were telling each other, 'this is the title track!' While listening, I naturally started to imagine the performance. That’s how well BLACKPINK was captured, and I was confident that it was a song BLACKPINK could express well."
There Are Some Familiar Names In Born Pink’s Writing Credits, Including Jisoo and Rosé
BLACKPINK typically employ the same stable of writers to craft their tracks. Their frequent collaborators include Teddy Park, who is responsible for producing and writing some of the group’s biggest tracks like "Kill This Love" and "Lovesick Girls," and Bekuh Boom, who penned the high-charting hits "Pretty Savage" and "Ice Cream." On Born Pink, Park’s work can be heard on the hip-hop forward tracks "Pink Venom" and "Shut Down" as well as "Ready For Love," while Boom lent her pen to the sassy track "Typa Girl."
Some new collaborators have entered the mix in the Born Pink era: Teddy Sinclair, formerly known as Natalia Kills, composed and co-wrote "The Happiest Girl" with her husband, Willy Moon. (Sinclair also co-wrote Rihanna’s "Kiss It Better.") Jisoo and Rosé lent their vocals and writing skills to Born Pink — each has a writing credit on "Yeah Yeah Yeah," a standout track on the album.
The Album Is Under 25 Minutes Long
With a runtime of a little over 24 minutes, Born Pink is notably shorter than many standard LPs, much to the chagrin of Blinks, who were hoping for more after waiting nearly two years for new music from the group.
It's likely that their next release will be a live album recorded during one of the stops on their upcoming world tour, though there is a possibility that the group will release a deluxe version of Born Pink featuring additional tracks. (Somewhere in the BLACKPINK vaults are a couple of unreleased collaborations with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, which fans are eager to hear after the veteran songwriter mentioned working with the Pinks in a recent interview.)
Photo: Kelly Samson, Gallery Photography
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images
New Music Friday: Listen To New Releases From Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Blackpink & More
The summer of 2023 may be winding down, but its musical offerings remain white-hot. Check out some new songs and albums that arrived on Aug. 25, from Maluma to Burna Boy.
The faintest hint of fall is in the air, but the summer of 2023's musical deluge continues unabated. Across genres, scenes and styles, the landscape continues to flourish.
We have Miley Cyrus's first song since Endless Summer Vacation — a vulnerable, proudly "unfinished" offering. On the opposite end of the vibe spectrum, Selena Gomez has thrown caution to the wind with the carefree "Single Soon."
Miley Cyrus — "Used To Be Young"
On her first song since Endless Summer Vacation arrived in March, two-time GRAMMY nominee Cyrus avoids tidiness, and pursues honest reflection.
"The time has arrived to release a song that I could perfect forever. Although my work is done, this song will continue to write itself everyday," she said in a statement. "The fact it remains unfinished is a part of its beauty. That is my life at this moment ….. unfinished yet complete."
"Used to Be Young" belongs to the pantheon of "turning 30" jams; therein, Cyrus looks back on her misspent youth, and the attendant heat of the spotlight. "You say I used to be wild/ I say I used to be young," she sings.
In the stark video, she gazes unflinchingly into the lens, without varnish or artifice.
Selena Gomez — "Single Soon"
Where Cyrus' new song bittersweetly gazes backward, Gomez's carbonated new jam "Single Soon" is focused on the promised reverie of tomorrow — sans boyfriend.
"Should I do it on the phone?/ Should I leave a little note/ In the pocket of his coat?" the two-time GRAMMY nominee wonders, sounding positively giddy about her unshackling from Mr. Wrong.
As the song unspools, Gomez gets ready for a wild night out; the song ends with the portentous question, "Well, who's next?" If you're ready to slough off your summer fling, "Single Soon" is for you.
Ariana Grande — Yours Truly: Tenth Anniversary
The two-time GRAMMY winner and 15-time nominee's acclaimed debut album, Yours Truly, arrived on Aug. 30, 2013; thus, it's time to ring in its tin anniversary.
Granted, these aren't "new songs," per se: rather, in a weeklong celebration, Grande is reintroducing audiences to Yours Truly.
Dive in, and you'll find "Live From London" versions of multiple songs. Plus — perhaps most enticingly — the sprawling re-release contains two new versions of "The Way," her hit collaboration with late ex Mac Miller.
Maluma — Don Juan
Papi Juancho is dead; long live Don Juan. "Fue un placer," Maluma wrote on Instagram last New Year's Eve. (It translates to "It was a pleasure.")
And with that, the Colombian rap-singing heavyweight ushered in a new character. He's now Don Juan — in a reference both to the fictional libertine and his birth name of Juan Luis Londoño Arias.
Now, Don Juan's out with his titular album — which he dubs a "mature" blending of the musics that got him going, like reggaeton, house, salsa, and hip-hop.
Burna Boy & Dave — "Cheat On Me"
Just over a year after his latest album, Love, Damini, Burna Boy is back with I Told Them… The Nigerian star offers another forward-thinking missive with his seventh album.
Featuring the likes of 21 Savage, J. Cole, and Wu-Tang Clan's GZA and RZA, I Told Them… is one highlight after the next — and "Cheat On Me" is one of them. For the advance single, the GRAMMY-winning Afro-fusion dynamo teamed up with London rapper Dave.
Therein, the pair expound on getting out of their own way. The chorus, powered by a sample from British-Ghanian singer/songwriter Kwabs, sums it all up: "I couldn't see/ I was cheating on, cheating on me."
Blackpink — "The Girls"
BLACKPINK are a bona fide cross-cultural sensation, but they won't stop at the music: they're a game now.
A little over a year after their second studio album, Born Pink, the acclaimed South Korean girl group has released a mobile app, succinctly called "The Game." Therein — and above — players can watch the video for "The Girls," their first post-Born Pink jam.
Don't say Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa didn't warn you: "Stop sign, we're burning it down/ Better watch out, we coming in loud/ Bang, bang, just playing around/ Don't mess with the girls, with the girls, with the girls."
The Killers — "Your Side of Town"
The Killers' beloved debut album, Hot Fuss, turns 20 next year; as a ramp-up, here's "Your Side of Town," a new slice of electro-pop from the Vegas crew.
The sleek, aerodynamic, Auto-Tuned "Your Side of Town" is their first single since their acclaimed pair of albums, 2020's Imploding the Mirage and 2021's Pressure Machine.
Here, the five-time GRAMMY nominees take a Pet Shop Boys-like tack with the music; lyrically, they're still putting the "heart" in heartland rock.
"I'm hanging on your side of town/ I notice when you're not around," frontman Brandon Flowers sings on the chorus. "Can't keep my cool, I'm burning inside/ A broken heartbeat, barely alive."
But the Killers — like everyone on this list — remain very alive.
Photo courtesy of YG Entertainment.
5 Ways BLACKPINK's MetLife Concert Was A Joyous Celebration Of Their Career
K-pop phenoms BLACKPINK took over New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium on Aug. 11 and 12, marking both their biggest North American shows to date and their 7th anniversary as a group. Take a look at five special highlights from night one.
At one point in BLACKPINK's concert at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 11, Jennie tilted her head toward the sky. It was the K-pop juggernaut's first of two nights playing at the football stadium, and the singer wanted to properly say hello to the tens of thousands who had gathered.
"Second floor! Third floor! And… is that fourth floor?" She surveyed the BLINKs seated at the edges of the venue before turning to members Jisoo, Rose and Lisa with a look of disbelief. "No way," Lisa responded as the entire stadium erupted in cheer. "New Jersey has leveled up — whole other level," Rosé said. "Unbelievable."
Just last year, BLACKPINK performed in New Jersey at a sizable, but much smaller venue. Prudential Center had three levels instead of four, and the boost in attendance could easily be felt at MetLife. The sky glowed rosy pink as the legions of BLINKs waved the group's hammer-shaped lightsticks in hand.
The concert on Aug. 11 was part of BLACKPINK's Encore leg of their Born Pink World Tour, and MetLife was the first North American stop. Born Pink kicked off in Seoul in October 2022, and since then, BLACKPINK has traversed dozens of cities around the globe. Though the setlist was expected to be similar to that of last year's — BLACKPINK has not released music as a group since their 2022 stateside concerts — that did not lessen the Encore shows' demand.
Besides, BLINKs know 2023 is a major year for BLACKPINK: the act is celebrating their seventh year anniversary — almost exactly to the date, since they debuted on Aug. 8, 2016. The group's contract is also set to expire this year, and given that YG Entertainment has not announced news of renewals, there's an added sense of urgency for many BLINKS to watch their beloved idols perform live.
And BLACKPINK did not disappoint. Across two hours, Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa delivered one rousing hit song after another and showed how far they've come since August 2016. Here are five ways the first of the group's two MetLife concerts was a celebration of their career.
At Last, Every Member Performed Solo Music
Though BLACKPINK has not released new songs as a group in 2023, earlier this year Jisoo made her solo debut, becoming the final member to do so. At past BLACKPINK concerts, Jisoo sang covers including Camila Cabello's "Liar" and Zedd ft. Foxes' "Clarity" as the other members performed their solo music. And while the covers showcased Jisoo's sophisticated charm, they left fans wanting her solo music to come sooner — and the wait was finally over.
Jisoo performed both the springy dance-pop track "Flower" and, for the first time, the buoyant EDM-infused "All Eyes on Me." And all eyes were surely on the eldest BLACKPINK member as she strutted down the runway in a sparkling silver dress.
With all of BLACKPINK performing songs they have their personal stamps on, the setlist not only demonstrated how they have grown both collectively and individually — it felt more complete than ever.
The Throwback Songs Had The Venue Shaking — Literally
BLACKPINK's more recent singles, from "Shut Down" to "Pink Venom," are undeniable pop anthems. But the ensemble has released addictive bangers since the very start of their career, and the fervor at MetLife during the throwback songs was a testament.
When "Boombayah," one of BLACKPINK's debut songs, started playing, the already roaring screams rose in volume. BLINKS swung their lightsticks more powerfully than before to the heavy beats of the song, and there was no hesitation when Jennie yelled "jump!" as the final verses approached. The floor began to shake as fans on all levels leapt in place while the group did the same on stage.
The quartet's 2020 hit song "Lovesick Girls" played immediately after, and once again the tens of thousands jumping across the stadium caused the ground to quake. The same electrifying energy filled the space when BLACKPINK performed their other early songs — from "DDU-DU DDU-DU" and "Forever Young" to "PLAYING WITH FIRE" and "As If It's Your Last" — in the second half of the show.
With pyrotechnics and fireworks, the MetLife show was already leaving a searing impression. But there's nothing quite like feeling the impact of a group through the floor literally trembling.
Diversity Of BLINKs Was On Full Display
Anyone who has attended a BLACKPINK concert knows that the group's fans come from all backgrounds, genders and ages. This was also extremely evident from one look at those waiting in line to enter MetLife.
But one addition to the concert from last year's Prudential Center show highlighted BLINKS' diversity even more. The giant screens presented a dance challenge in the minutes before the encore, and cameras zoomed in on fans who grooved to the music — some replicating the choreography to a tee while others improvised with pizzazz.
Two young girls in matching black shirts and sequined magenta skirts danced to "Pink Venom," and moments later a man in a rosy bucket hat performed the "Flower" choreography with a lightstick in hand. Two women in hot pink hijabs swayed to "How You Like That," before a male BLINK in a white dress shirt body rolled to the post-chorus and ended the performance with a wink.
BLINKS Joined BLACKPINK In Singing Happy Birthday
The most obvious way this show celebrated BLACKPINK's career was, well, with an actual celebration. Near the end of the concert, the members crowded around a four-tiered black and pink cake adorned with ribbons and roses.
"Can we sing happy birthday to ourselves?" Rosé asked as the four artists held banners that read, "Happy 7th year anniversary / BLACKPINK BLINK FOUREVER." The crowd of course screamed a resounding "YES!" and joined in on the song. "Happy birthday to Jennie Jisoo Lisa Rose," Lisa sang with a chuckle.
BLACKPINK Reminisced On A First Meeting From 10 Years Ago
The most heartwarming moment of the show happened shortly after the birthday celebration. "Remember the day that we met?" Jennie asked softly. "So romantic," Rosé laughed, seemingly surprised at the turn in conversation — just after she said she didn't want to cry that evening.
"I remember the first day you came to YG," Lisa said to Rosé. Then, BLINKS were treated to a different kind of performance. "Should we reenact the elevator scene?" Rosé asked as she put down the anniversary banner and stepped in front of the cake to get ready.
"I was with all my books and stuff," Lisa recalled as she gathered more anniversary banners and clutched them in front of her chest as if they were books. Rosé pretended to press an elevator button. "I'll go downstairs to say hi to the girls," she said, almost in a whisper. "Oh, I'm so nervous."
Together, the two of them pretended that the elevator door opened with a ding. "And then I walked into the room and was like this [motions a wave], 'Hi,' and they were so welcoming!"
At this moment, Jennie and Jisoo embraced her in a hug. "And then all night we played the guitar, til morning," Rosé remembered as her fingers strummed the air.
In the past 10 years, BLACKPINK has trained together, debuted together, and now, celebrated their seventh anniversary together. So much of their journey to becoming a top girl group is unseen by the public, but for those few minutes Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa warmly welcomed BLINKS into their memories — creating an unforgettably meaningful celebration for everyone involved.
All images courtesy of YG Entertainment.