BLACKPINK’s Rosé releases solo debut

The girl-group member offers a surprisingly light solo debut

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Promotional image for “R” (YG Entertainment)

Isabel Guilmette, Writer

Kpop star Rosé of the massively successful group BLACKPINK has released her solo debut with the song “On The Ground,” one of just two songs on her debut album, “R”.

The announcement was released on March 1st, with two teaser images that were uploaded to the official YG Entertainment twitter account.

The debut has been long anticipated by fans of the girl group, who have been asking for the singer’s solo debut since the release of member Jennie’s debut, “SOLO,” a solid, empowered anthem about not needing a relationship.

The music video for “On The Ground” has amassed over 53 million views within the first day of its release on March 12, making it the most viewed video for a solo female Kpop artist in 2021.

The video is fairly similar to other videos you would find from artists under the YG label: grand, expensive-looking sets and a muted color palette that makes the occasional neons pop, all with Rosé at the center.

It is no shock that “On The Ground” is doing numbers in one day that some artists get in a year. Of their 12 released music videos, three have surpassed 1 billion views, and the others have no less than 200 million. 

Those numbers might seem staggering, but they’re expected for a group like BLACKPINK, whose laundry list of accomplishments include two arena world tours, a headlining spot at Coachella in 2019, and becoming ambassadors of luxury brands like Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, all within the span of just under five years.

In a live stream, Rosé said “‘On The Ground’ is a song that helps me sort out my life purpose, so I want fans to hear it as soon as possible. I hope they can sympathize with the lyrics.”

It’s also worth noting that unlike most BLACKPINK songs and especially unlike Jennie’s “Solo,” “On The Ground” is completely in English, along with the accompanying B side track, a standard acoustic guitar ballad “Gone”. This might seem like a strange choice for a Kpop musician, but it makes sense for the effect that New Zealand-born Rosé goes for in the tracks.

“On The Ground” is, lyrically, a retrospective on fame and where it takes a person. Rosé reminisces on how she “used to have a hole in the wall with a mattress” to describe her current life as a singer as “electric”. 

The chorus sees Rosé reflect on the struggle to get to where she is today, saying “I worked my whole life/Just to get right,” something that is especially poignant in the world of Kpop, where strictly structured, competitive training processes are the norm for young hopefuls.

“On The Ground” is, despite what its name might suggest, a much lighter and understated track, especially in comparison to the blaring horns, authoritative sounds and commanding performances that BLACKPINK has become known for. 

Instead, Rosé trades the expected bold aesthetic for a pulled-back performance, with guitars that teeter between shimmering and surprisingly organic, with a beat drop in the chorus that aims to fill the space with sound instead of hitting its listener in the face.

Instead, Rosé’s vocal performance is where the track truly shines. The ballad-type lyrics of the track pack all the more of a punch due to Rosé’s, as usual, emotionally-packed performance.

“On The Ground” is currently available to stream, while the physical “R” album is available for preorder on the official YG Entertainment website.

 

Email Isabel @[email protected] or follow her on Twitter @fibiotibula

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