It feels momentous every time I write the elusive words “BLACKPINK are back.” They return so infrequently. The last time we had an honest-to-goodness comeback, we were still mired in year one of the Covid pandemic. We didn’t even have a vaccine yet!
Lovesick Girls was a great return to form for the group, hearkening back to the weightier, anthemic hooks found in their earlier work. Since then, fans have made do with a few solo projects and an animated PUBG Mobile tie-in. Pink Venom acts as a taster for their upcoming album. Its title evokes the supposed duality of their sound, but feels like a direct sequel to earlier drop-style hits like How You Like That and Kill This Love.
Yes, this is… a BLACKPINK song. It may be the BLACKPINKIEST song of them all, and your reaction will depend on how you feel about their (very predictable) schtick. To Pink Venom’s credit, it boasts a few moments that are quite weird. Traditional instrumentation opens the track and carries most of the way through until we drop into a second verse that sounds like a bizarre mix of 90’s gangsta rap and hyperpop. The song is at its best when it throws all these ideas into the mix, catching the listener off guard while the ladies act as charismatic tour guides across their own multiverse of madness.
But, Pink Venom quickly loses me. As usual, I was with it until the chorus. Yet again, the song plays the BLACKPINK catchphrasey formula to the hilt. After Lovesick Girls’ rush of a melodic refrain, Pink Venom’s repetitive hook feels severely underwhelming. Worse yet, the track climaxes in yet another “Gra Ta Ta Ta” fest. Come on, producers! You must have more ideas than this, right?? BLACKPINK do what they can with the material, but it’s a losing battle. And really, it doesn’t matter. For some inexplicable reason, K-pop fandom has decided to treat each BLACKPINK release as The Most Important Thing Ever, despite being fooled over and over again by the same cheap parlor tricks.