PinkPantheress set to TikTok this year. This time it was “Boys a liar pt. 2” (featuring Ice Spice) which has amassed over 725 million Spotify listens, peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and achieved platinum status. Many would call this a dream album rollout for any artist. She has had viral moments before but this era feels and even looks different. PinkPantheress’ has leaned more into the “true” Y2K aesthetic. The TikTok royalty traded in box braids for a luxurious honey blonde wig and her skinny brows and French acrylic fullset to prepare her fans for a debut album filled with cross continental features, love centered songs and chipper production. Heaven Knows is a testament to PinkPantheress' ability to balance her playful, carefree demeanor with a desire to be taken seriously as a popular artist.
The Sampling Princess
PinkPantheress continues to showcase her sampling prowess. It lies in the notable influence of K-pop riddled throughout the album. She reminds us of this in the opener “Another life.” The song samples “Ice Cream” by F(x). The lyrics speak to her craving the attention of a lover who has yet to text her back. “Please give me a sign at least we know that God was giving you time” and continues with “At least now, we’ll get all the time apart guess I’ll see you in another life.” Rema’s verse is delicate and aligns with Afrorave and his usual apathetic cadence. His auto tuned vocals add a unique touch. The ending guitar solo is blissful, setting listeners on a path toward PinkPantheress' evolving sonic pop palette. I hope to see a possible performance between the two at the MOBO Awards next year.
“True romance” is my personal favorite. It provides me with a live DJ set experience. The infectious beat, ample moments of distant claps and humming harmonies are all too good for just as a second song. PinkPantheress’ vocals float effortlessly in the chaotic like nature of the production. Also the added crowd cheers point to all directions that this song would have served best as the closer. It could perfectly sum up the album and her next move, a world tour in 2024.
She attempts a dewy R&B duet with Kelela on “Bury me.” In an interview with Dazed, she named Kelela as one of her biggest musical influences. I had high hopes for this East African union when the tracklist was first revealed. The produced song was tolerable; however, I felt their voices clashed. Kelela was smooth and genuine, but PinkPantheress seemed incurious and preprogrammed, almost as if AI sung her verse.
From Hell to Heaven
The 13 track LP contains much of the same signature sounds and messages to hell with it did, just lazier. “The biggest challenge was putting myself into the headspace of wanting to make an album. I’m really lazy,” PinkPantheress said in a video with i-D magazine. “Capable of love” is indicative of this idle working spirit, as the anti-second verse artist deviates from her song limit rule. At a little under four minutes, it stands as the longest song on the project. I hear elements of her past emo phase, which are similar to those of My Chemical Romance. It departs from the album’s sound continuity which is unfortunate, especially because it is the penultimate track on the album. Comparatively, “Mosquito” is a lackluster single but has a star studded music video with some of Hollywood’s finest Gen Z stars, such as Grownish’s Yara Shahidi and the Bridgerton universe's India Amarteifio and Charithra Chandran.
The 22-year-old remains a SoundCloud kid at heart. Two years removed from her last project, she has yet to abandon her EDM and the garage foundation that caught our attention in the first place. Her vocals on “Internet baby (interlude)” and “Ophelia” carry a prepubescent tonal quality reminiscent of Coco & Clair Clair’s “Pretty” or Doja Cat’s “Agora Hills.” In these songs she moves away from any cookie cutter pop expectations and instead imbues a feeling of synthesia. I envision teleporting to other dimensions of beaming and bright colors when this track starts playing.
PinkPantheress reminds us once again on “Nice to meet you” with Central Cee of how much of a K-pop stan she really is, finding her interpolating Zion.T and OHHYUK’s “Sleep Talk.” However, I consider it to be a glitter-filled, dance-challenge bait. Both Cash Cobain's producer tag and Central Cee’s feature are predictable, despite Cee being at the forefront of UK drill for the last three years.
“Nice to meet you” does not rival her previous “Just for me” in vibe. But it remains true to the “I was born in the wrong generation” film style that the video hones in on. It is a dose of nostalgia, cleverly suitable best in that of a 2008 Apple commercial and or a dance break in You Got Served. The paper airplane flying over London and the addition of male background dancers dressed in turquoise oversized polos and baggy jeans captures respite quirkiness.
Internet baby (interlude)
Boys a liar pt. 2
Coco & Clair Clair
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