By ANGELA XU
Everything I need is on the ground.
It is finally here. On Mar. 12, Blackpink’s Rosé, also known as Roseanne Park, released her much-anticipated solo debut album, R, and, to no Blink’s surprise, it was a hit.
Fronted by the single On the Ground and B-side Gone, which was also featured on Blackpink’s The Show livestream concert, many fans were ecstatic that Rosé finally got to shine her composing talent and smooth vocals after a long hiatus. At the same time, however, this surprise performance helped build the anticipation for Rosé’s official title track release. In fact, R became the highest-selling album by a female soloist in South Korea in just four days. But many might ask, what is it about the album that makes it so successful?
While one would anticipate a similar pop track like her bandmate Jennie’s Solo, the album widely subverted expectations with an unexpected genre twist, making fans listen on repeat with its catchy lyrics and EDM-style base.
At the first listen, the song’s lyrical development seems to propose a typical love song with the Taylor Swiftesque style and catchy chorus. However, as it turns out, there is more to the song than the melody. The lyrics were co-written by Rosé herself which reflected on her journey to stardom. Highlighting the sorrows of a superstar, On the Ground sends a message that materialistic desires in life are not as important as health and happiness with verses like “I worked my whole life just to get high/ Just to realize everything I need is on the ground.” These lines reflect Rosé’s past as a trainee, pursuing music to chase her dreams. However, despite reaching the top of her career, she mentions in interviews how work often bombards her passion for music and eventually affecting her overall health. Through the melodic transition and heavy beat drop, the song is a solid rendition of Rosé’s sentimental message.
The B-side track is just as good as the latter. Like many Blackpink mini albums and EPs, Rosé ends off with a comforting ballad. With a mid-tempo beat paired with sad hums, Gone sparks some tender emotions within listeners as it embraces the breakup genre. Some might find that the B-side heavily contrasts On the Ground with its simple guitar riffs and tune, but arguably, this contrast is what makes the album charming in the first place. The atmosphere crafted by the melody and Rosé’s sweet and emotional vocals delivers the song perfectly.
With her new release, one of the main criticisms against the “full album” was the lack of songs featured. Early on, before Blackpink’s hiatus, it was reported that the four band members would make their solo debuts, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Rosé’s debut was constantly being canceled and postponed to the annoyance of many fans. With their already limited playlist, even casual listeners of the band were hungry for more. As expectations were high for a full release, it is to be expected of some sour reactions when presented with just two separate tracks and their instrumental versions. However, despite the lack of songs in the album, fans are at least assured that Rosé was able to put in her full effort and hard work into the two songs. In addition, it should be noted that having less is not necessarily a bad thing as it shows that Rosé and the entertainment company are focusing on quality over quantity, and the results speak for themselves.
Despite a few shortcomings, the given songs are a seamless pair and leave fans wanting more. Hopefully, other members will make their solo debut soon, better yet, another full album with the entire Blackpink gang.