I think it’s become a universal thing for Blackpink’s Pink Venom to grow from an otherwise obnoxious listen to a fun, almost comical experience. The song has experienced a surprising level of longevity on my playlist, courtesy of endless meming and its honestly addictive centrepiece. It’s not a good song at all and is unlikely to come close to my year end lists (I COULD BE WRONG) but its very existence is at least memorable in its own little way. And though new single Shut Down stands as a departure from the standard Blackpink hype track, it results in one of their more boring efforts.
Riffing off Paganini’s La Campanella, Shut Down lays down its trap laced hip hop groove early, giving the girls a suitable soundscape to play off. It’s a far cry from the loud, almost instantaneous bombast of past efforts and for a single pitched as ‘Born Pink”‘s leading single, that comes as a surprise. 2020’s Lovesick Girls also chose to go on a different route from the expected soundscape to deliver a mini-classic but unfortunately, Shut Down does not share the same merits. Even when compared to 2022’s other big name comeback that heavily sampled a famous classical piece, it falls short. I’ve loved some of the groups more restrained tracks in the past but here the restraint comes across as too one note for my tastes. And that’s the primary problem with the track. It’s just wholly unremarkable. There’s nothing particularly disastrous with it on the level of songs like How You Like That or Ice Cream but as a result, it fails to really make an impact. Neither good nor bad.
The girls sound fine like always, showing off their decent vocal chops whilst imbuing the more rap oriented segments with a necessary level of swagger that’s become expected of your average Blackpink song. As previously mentioned, the La Campanella sample is an inspired choice, though it proves to be the only inspired choice after a few listens. It all comes together to deliver what is likely the groups most mundane comebacks yet and an incredibly odd choice for a title track given the strength of tracks like Yeah Yeah Yeah and especially Hard To Love from the album.
Final Rating: 6.75 / 10