Rose Blackpink

Rosé at a fansign event in 2018. 

Rosé is best known as a member of South Korean girl group Blackpink. Last month, she struck out on her own with a dreamy pop anthem “On the Ground,” the lead single off of her debut solo album “-R-”. 

“On the Ground” starts off ultra-bright and poppy. Rosé channels early 2010s sounds of Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, blending them with an unexpectedly techy synth. As the song progresses, she delivers more emotion, evolving from a perfectly-pop vocal to a more dynamic one.

Dynamics are a strong point of the single. If the entire song followed the tone and loudness of the first verse, it would be much less interesting. Rosé branches out, combining wispy verses with a hint of sadness, and finishing the track with a powerful, all-in vocal delivery. In the music video, as she belts out the loudest, most confident lyrics, she floats above a dream-like meadow, looking to the open sky.

“I’m way up in the clouds

And they say I’ve made it now

But I figured it out

Everything I need is on the ground”

Rosé acknowledges that fame doesn’t bring you everything you want in life. Sure, she’s “made it.” At 24, she’s reached worldwide stardom as one-quarter of the highest-charting female Korean group on the Billboard Hot 100, among too many other awards and certifications to count. 

Rosé’s dancing ability has surely been a role in this rise to fame. If only we got to see more of it in the music video. As the dance performance video shows, “On the Ground” has a clean, perfectly executed choreography. Much of it takes place with the dancers laying on the ground, a simple but creative touch that captures the viewer’s attention. The only question is: Why didn’t this make an appearance in the music video?

There’s no clear answer. Perhaps a simpler music video with Rosé as the only “character” is a more widely appealing concept, better able to launch her solo career into the mainstream market. Yet, the dance video feels more unique. It is creatively shot, with unexpected angles and pans. Each color is beautifully edited for a smooth, slightly muted palette. Rosé and the dancers perform in perfect synchronization. 

While it might have been a missed opportunity to include more choreography in the music video, maybe both videos can exist as different, but well-done, creative pieces. The music video can be a story, while the dance performance is a feat of skill. 

“My life's been magic seems fantastic

I used to have a hole in the wall with a mattress

It's funny when you want it

Suddenly you have it

You find out that your gold's just plastic”

What we see as gold, won’t always be. Different people have different ideas of success, and what we think will fulfill us can end up looking very different when we get there, or “make it."

“On the Ground” sends a powerful message, especially coming from a young artist like Rosé. She stands by the reality that “what goes up, must come down.” International stardom must be fun, along with the pressure and stress. Either way, it ends. We return to the simple things in life. For Rosé, that’s all she needs.

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