Unlike the majority of KPop groups, Blackpink has a different release schedule for their music, as they only made a comeback (as a group) two years after The Album in 2020. In between their first studio album and this year’s Born Pink, Blackpink was busy with other activities–specifically with the solo debut of Lisa and Rose, the acting debut of Jisoo, and a plethora of endorsement deals and appearances for all four members.

After listening to Born Pink over the weekend, we give our honest review on the second studio album of Blackpink, which comes two years after The Album. Did it meet expectations, or is it an underwhelming release?

Finally out of the box

If Pink Venom was not convincing enough, title track Shut Down made it clear that Blackpink is steering away from the cookie-cutter KPop vibe with bolder lyrics that contain profanity (and will most not likely be shown in Korean music shows). Both Pink Venom and Shut Down have something in common: their overall sound is less KPop and more K-Hip-hop.

What’s also nice with the rest of the songs under Born Pink is that YG is giving more creative freedom to Blackpink by not using the same familiar set of instrumentals and music layers. We got to give credit to Teddy for that, as he’s at least trying out different samples for their songs.

There are also the members trying out different vocal textures, which was very evident with The Happiest Girl–a rare Blackpink ballad track. With Pink Venom, we like how all members are simply unapologetic for who they are–like when all four members were spewing expletives in Tally. And just like in The Album, there’s one song that’s written by them (specifically Jisoo and Rose) with the 80s synthpop Yeah Yeah Yeah.

Where are the collabs?

One of the things that got us excited about The Album (and the hype leading to it) is that Blackpink was active with collabs. There’s the Cardi B-backed Bet You Wanna that can make the case as one of the best songs under The Album, then there’s the Selena Gomez-backed Ice Cream that was a nice inclusion to The Album despite being out of place with the album’s general sound.

With Born Pink, there are no collabs to be found–and we find it a shame as we’ve waited for two years for them to release new music (Lisa and Rose’s solos, along with the former’s collab with DJ Snake, are not counted). We find it rather strange that YG decided to put Ready to Love with this album despite it being long-rumored to be part of The Album and that they included Hard to Love in the album even if it should have passed as a Rose solo track.

Still feels short (for an album)

Considering that we waited for two years for Blackpink to return with new music, 8 tracks on an album is criminally short–especially with a number of songs clocking in at just under 3 minutes. If you look through the whole album, there are “technically” only 6 new songs since Hard to Love should have been part of Rose’s solo debut, and Ready to Love was originally supposed to be part of The Album (it was even previewed in their Netflix documentary Light Up the Sky).

Considering that Ryan Tedder was supposedly working on a track with Blackpink (he co-wrote Bet You Wanna), it remains a mystery why YG only gave Blackpink only a few short songs for their second album. It’s also a shame that they only have 30 songs under their belt in their 6-year-long career–that’s just as much as how many songs Taylor Swift dropped in the past two years.

Being in the industry for six years, we expected Blackpink to churn out more songs than just 8 tracks on their studio album. Maybe they’re more focused on their fashion endeavors than making new music for their fans and avid listeners.

Blackpink Born Pink Review Verdict

While we like how Blackpink is exploring different vocal textures, instruments, and beat samples in Born Pink, we do think that The Album still has a better impact. The songs in Born Pink are generally good, but considering that they had two years to prepare for this album, it’s underwhelming to see YG only give 8 new songs to Blackpink’s lean discography and no collab tracks as we saw in The Album.

BLACKPINK - BORN PINK (Album) ZIP Leak ⋆ notjusthiphop

Don’t get us wrong: Born Pink is a spectacular album by itself, but it just happens that The Album has set the benchmark for what we expect from Blackpink, and Born Pink somehow falls short of it in our review.

Overall, we give Born Pink a Hype Meter of 6. Blinks might hate us for giving it a rather low score, but let’s be honest: The Album was way better even if there was more creative freedom with Born Pink.

Hype Meter: 6/10

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