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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Liner Notes: PinkPantheress meets mellow vibe, hype with “Heaven knows”

Illustration by Esther Lian
English singer and producer PinkPantheress released her debut studio album, “Heaven knows,” Friday.

On the release for English singer and producer PinkPantheress’ 2022 single “Where you are” featuring WILLOW, a YouTube comment read, “she’s like a gumdrop bubble aesthetic cyber princess.” I don’t know if there’s a more accurate way to describe PinkPantheress.

In her debut studio album, “Heaven knows,” she displays this aesthetic with soft vocals and lyrics about love that remind me of early 2000’s R&B. PinkPantheress even ventures outside bedroom pop through unique production choices like electric guitar, floaty samples and fast-paced drums.

While “Heaven knows,” released Friday, sports better production than debut mixtape, “to hell with it,” PinkPantheress fails to deviate from her musical formula and does not show significant growth in terms of vocal performance. 

The monotonous, auto-tuned vocals weigh the album down at times, especially on songs like “Nice to meet you” and “Bury me,” where she relies on features from British rapper Central Cee and American singer Kelela to hold the listener’s attention.

Despite some lackluster moments later on, the LP starts off strong with “Another life,” featuring Nigerian vocalist Rema. It immediately draws the listener in with its smooth 808s and lively percussion. 

The melodic rap feature from Rema is reminiscent of Tommy Richman’sequally strong feature on “Upset,” the best track on R&B artist Brent Faiyaz’s most recent album, “Larger Than Life.”

The next song, “True romance,” is just as impressive as the record’s opener, resembling a fast-paced version of the old-school R&B track “Kissin’ You” by Total. In both, soft, layered vocals overlay a dreamy guitar melody with smooth percussion rounding out the piece.

“Mosquito,” which follows “True romance” is the worst track on the album. Although the intro is enjoyable, the melody and vocals are as annoying as the title suggests. Also, some lyrics are corny, like “You’re the only thing that I own / I hear my bell ring, I’d only answer for you.”

The following track, “The aisle,” picked my hopes up, displaying the variety that “Mosquito” was lacking. The punchy kick, soft snare, bouncy 808s and entertaining vocals make the song stand out.

“Internet baby” was the next highlight, with an engaging electric guitar loop, hazy synths and excellent mixing and panning. PinkPantheress also explores the lower side of her vocal range, which gives the song a unique layer of depth.

The next couple of tracks, “Ophelia” and “Feel complete,” sound like a modern combination of early 2000’s R&B — like Jazmine Sullivan or Alicia Keys — and gothic rock band Evanescence. PinkPantheress’s execution was lackluster, and she could have done more with this creative combination.

The 11th track, “Feelings,” may be the best piece PinkPantheress has ever released. It features the best vocals I’ve heard, and is reminiscent of “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland with heavy percussion and distorted synth hits.

The album ends with the hit single “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” featuring rapper Ice Spice, and this song was clearly thrown onto the end of the tracklist to capitalize on its success. It’s a great track with a chirping synth, an enjoyable verse from Ice Spice and a catchy chorus from PinkPantheress –– but it does not fit the album’s moody aesthetic.

“Heaven knows” was not the strongest debut studio album, but it was certainly better than her first mixtape, and it seems as though PinkPantheress is on a path toward improvement. I’m excited to see if she’ll get out of her comfort zone on her next record, and she may be on her way to becoming the next massive pop star.

I give “Heaven knows” a solid five out of 10.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @FrancescoThorik

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