The Shirelles and The Supremes. Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child. Girls’ Generation and, now, BLACKPINK officially enter the pantheon of history-making, culture-defining girl groups. Since debuting in 2016 with YG Entertainment (the company also responsible for launching the careers of BIGBANG, 2NE1, and “Gangnam Style” hitmaker PSY), the K-pop quartet—rapper/singer JENNIE (Jennie Kim), rapper/dancer LISA (Lalisa Manobal), singers JISOO (Jisoo Kim) and ROSÉ (Chae-young Park)—have broken records and changed the face of modern pop. They have collaborated with Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, and Selena Gomez while rocking Celine, Chanel, Dior, and Saint Laurent, major fashion houses for which they are ambassadors. They were the first K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella. They have become, without a doubt, one of the most popular K-pop groups across the globe—all with only a few singles and one full-length album to their name. Well, until now: BORN PINK, the group’s highly anticipated sophomore release, heralds a new era for the band and a chance to stake out a real legacy. From the familiar raucous rap and hyperpop of single “Pink Venom” and the ROSÉ-led 2010s pop-rock “Ready for Love” to the haunting violins-meets-trap of “Shut Down” and the fully English-language piano ballad “The Happiest Girl,” BORN PINK boasts a new eclecticism. The trick is in how the group succeeds without sacrificing any of the hallmarks of a classic, idiosyncratic BLACKPINK song: bombastic raps, nostalgic EDM drops, larger-than-life harmonies, multiple melodies stacked one after the other, and unbridled enthusiasm. When ROSÉ shouts, “I’m so rock ’n’ roll!” you believe her. Prior to the release of BORN PINK, some fans (lovingly labeled BLINKs) were concerned about BLACKPINK’s material. With so few songs between them (and understanding that exclusivity breeds intrigue), what would their latest evolution look and sound like? How could they play into a pop landscape now devoid of BTS, the biggest K-pop group on the planet? Their pleasures are found in their indissoluble relationship with one another and how that manifests in each performance, harmony, and comeback for the group—and they have the potential to grow still. In a saturated pop and K-pop music market, BLACKPINK distinguishes themselves from the competition. They’re adaptable: unafraid of traversing new genres, styles, or fashions, somehow managing to make them all their own.

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