On The Ground
When she was just 16 years old, ROSÉ, the native Anglophone of K-pop superstars BLACKPINK, auditioned for YG Entertainment in Australia. Acoustic guitar in tow, despite the company’s reputation for creating larger-than-life hip-hop-pop bands, she dazzled executives with a belted rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.” What followed is the stuff of musical mythology: She moved to Seoul, trained in the competitive idol industry, and evolved into a beloved figure in the world’s most popular girl group. For BLACKPINK diehards, ROSÉ has always been that girl with the guitar—a singer-songwriter who just so happens to be a killer pop performer. Now, five years after BLACKPINK’s debut and three years after JENNIE’s blockbuster “SOLO,” ROSÉ returns to her roots and emerges as a soloist: co-writing the English-language R with BLACKPINK producer Teddy. “On the Ground” is a restrained electro-pop anthem with an ascendant, Taylor Swiftian pre-chorus, and B-side “Gone” is a breakup ballad with a riff lifted straight from Mraz—it is as if one of her BLACKPINK verses were extended into a full song. On R, ROSÉ is the sum of her influences, brought together to make something entirely her own.