Because the reigning queens of Ok-pop, there’s rather a lot using on Blackpink’s sophomore album. The lady group can be forgiven for enjoying it protected, however they defy expectations on “Pink Venom” (out now) by referring to well timed matters, including a sure F-word to their vocabulary, and sprinkling in gradual jams. Helping Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa with the pivot is an eclectic batch of collaborators, who are actually lifting the veil on the inventive course of.
Bekuh Increase — aka singer-songwriter Rebecca Rose Johnson — has been with Blackpink because the starting. Actually. “I met them after they had been nonetheless trainees,” she remembers. “We had the identical Korean instructor.”
In 2012, Increase was in Seoul pursuing her personal artist deal and was linked with Blackpink by way of YG Leisure. Earlier than lengthy, she had co-written their debut singles “Whistle” and “Boombayah.” As an authentic collaborator, it’s solely becoming that Increase returns for “Pink Venom,” which represents each a sonic and thematic rebirth. On “Typa Woman,” the group sounds fiercer and extra unapologetic than ever earlier than, hyping themselves up over blistering hip-hop/pop manufacturing. “I convey cash to the desk, not your dinner,” they sing. “Each my physique and my checking account bought determine.”
“It’s a tune to empower girls,” Increase says of the monitor. “Once I hear it, I really feel just like the shit — and I would like different girls to listen to it and really feel that method too.” She wrote the unique demo at Teddy Park’s (the group’s go-to producer) Black Label studio final yr and didn’t know if it might even be launched. “I believed Lisa may use it for her subsequent solo single,” the Orange County native says, “however I’m tremendous pleased that it’s going to be on the album.”
Whereas Increase is a part of the household at this level, she doesn’t take it with no consideration: “It’s a blessing to at all times get requested again.” She feels a private reference to Blackpink and enjoys Ok-pop’s inventive course of. “In South Korea, there’s much more respect for the writers and producers to get their second to shine,” Increase says of the distinction between working there and within the U.S. “If someone didn’t do one thing, their identify isn’t going to be on it.”
One other Blackpink collaborator is Brian Lee, higher recognized within the U.S. as an everyday contributor to songs by Submit Malone (he performed — and slayed — bass for Submit’s all-Nirvana, at-home live performance throughout the pandemic). He’s additionally one thing of a fixture of their camp, and “Tally,” the tune he co-wrote for “Pink Venom,” is completely different from something the group has launched up to now. “I say fuck it after I really feel it, ‘trigger nobody’s conserving tally I do what I would like with who I like,” the quartet begins over a woozy guitar association. “I ain’t gonna conceal it, once you’re speaking all that shit I’ll be getting mine.”
Till very lately, it might have been unthinkable for a Ok-pop act to report an ode to sexual freedom. Maybe unsurprisingly, given the subject material, two of Lee’s co-contributors are girls. Australian songwriter Nat Dunn performed the demo for him in London and Lee instantly noticed the potential. “I simply informed them that the melody has to drag in your heartstrings within the pre-chorus,” he remembers. “But it surely was Nat’s child.”
“I used to be simply obsessive about it,” Dunn affirms. The tune was impressed by co-writer Soraya LaPread, who introduced up the topic in a session with manufacturing duo Salt Wives. “Judgment is one thing that quite a lot of girls come throughout,” Dunn provides. “These lyrics are so impactful coming from them.” David Phelan and Alex Oriet, the artists behind Salt Wives, agree. “We will’t think about an act who higher embodies its [defiant] message than Blackpink.”
Nonetheless, the monitor wasn’t particularly written with the Ok-pop idols in thoughts. “We weren’t actually taking pictures for Blackpink,” Lee says. “It was a shock after we came upon it’s on their album.” Whereas different artists confirmed curiosity, Dunn knew that Blackpink was the correct selection. “The tune is the star in any room,” she asserts. “The selection is at all times about what’s greatest for the tune. And on this case, Blackpink was one of the best for this tune.”
Lee finally performed “Tally” for Park, who successfully oversaw every part “Pink Venom,” and the producer hand-picked it for the group. “He’s the pioneer of Ok-pop,” Lee says. “Teddy reworked Ok-pop to only imply pop. He made it common.”
Park was additionally instrumental in selecting one other standout, “Onerous To Love,” for the album. Arguably, Blackpink’s most susceptible tune up to now, the disco-tinged anthem finds the quartet baring their flaws.
“When it feels too good, I simply fuck it up,” Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé and Lisa belt on the refrain. “So don’t fall too onerous, ‘trigger I’m onerous to like.” Fairly the placing sentiment after bearing in mind the aspirational high quality that informs the music and aesthetic of Ok-pop.
Songwriter-entrepreneur Freddy Wexler conjured “Onerous To Love” throughout a jam session with pals. He despatched the demo to Park and was stunned to listen to again the very subsequent day.
“I bought a FaceTime name and it’s Teddy, Lisa and Rosé” Wexler recollects. Whereas there’s a regimented method to Ok-pop, he described “Onerous To Love” as an overwhelmingly natural — and quick — course of. “I pitched it in June this yr,” Wexler says. Over the subsequent month, he would FaceTime with Park and the group, who prompt tweaks. “I’d change the important thing and Blackpink would simply sing it again.”
Wexler was intimidated at first. “Music is sort of a non secular expertise for Ok-pop followers, so there’s a stress to ship one thing that’s worthy,” he says. “Onerous To Love,” nonetheless, turned out higher than he may’ve ever imagined. “Usually, it’s by no means pretty much as good because it was in your head,” he prefaces, “this was an exception.” Whereas Blackpink has mastered catchy pop hooks and shiny promotion, they go deeper on “Onerous To Love” — showcasing their vulnerability and uncooked emotion, in contrast to something they’ve completed earlier than.
That newfound maturity is on the core of the Ok-Pop group’s development as artists, and additional asserts their knack for selecting dedicated collaborators. “I by no means sit down to put in writing a Ok-pop tune,” Increase says. “I simply sit down to put in writing an amazing pop tune.”