Since her last full-length release in 2021, PinkPantheress has refused to slow down.

This year alone, she has released eight singles, featured on The Barbie Movie’s soundtrack, and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Ice Spice-assisted remix of her 2022 single “Boy’s a liar.” 

Even before this high-charting breakout hit, however, PinkPantheress has been making waves in the underground scene. Her debut single “Break It Off” gave listeners a good idea of what was to come: its laid-back melodies, uptempo breakbeat, and angsty, heartbroken lyrics provided a unique contrast that she has replicated well and often throughout her career. Her immediate followup, “Pain,” established her as a TikTok hitmaker and cemented her sound in the minds of many. Her debut album, to hell with it, dealt almost exclusively in DnB and UK Garage breakbeats on top of simple, warm melodies.

Despite her early success, PinkPantheress has struggled thus far to add layers to her sound. Many of her songs touch on very similar themes and utilize very similar instrumentals. Any effort she has made to expand her palette hasn’t exactly gone over big with her fanbase.

It’s good to see, then, that she hasn’t given up trying new things just yet. Her latest record, Heaven knows, released on Warner Records on November 10, and PinkPantheress has taken this as her opportunity to branch out sonically while sticking to her guns lyrically.

The new record kicks off with “Another life,” a song that follows the classic PinkPantheress formula but executes perfectly. Featuring an extremely catchy hook and a guest verse from afrobeats star Rema, “Another life” sets a high bar for the rest of the album and immediately gives the album a shot of energy that carries over well into the next song, “True romance.” The album’s second track sees PinkPantheress convinced that her new relationship with a celebrity will work out. The lyrics feel slightly anxious, as is typical for a PinkPantheress song, but overall their tone is more positive than most of her other tracks. This hopefulness is matched by a poppy, four-on-the-floor beat and bright guitar chords that give the track a nice bounce. Then it’s back to the classic PinkPantheress formula for “Mosquito,” which was released as a single prior toward the album’s release.

Following another four-on-the-floor fusion of Pop and UK Garage in “The aisle,” PinkPantheress introduces back-to-back guest verses, the first from fellow English hitmaker Central Cee on “Nice to meet you,” the second from contemporary R&B artist Kelela on “Bury me.” The latter is by far the stronger of the two tracks, featuring production from BNYX, who has worked extensively with several rap superstars in the past year, including Drake and Yeat. Though his linkup with PinkPantheress is unexpected, his distinct style lends itself well to her light, airy vocals. Kelela’s guest verse feels a little unnecessary and out of place, but overall “Bury me” is a fun listen. It’s followed by “Internet baby (interlude),” though that title is a bit of a misnomer. At two minutes and eleven seconds long, the so-called interlude is longer than most of the tracks on PinkPantheress’ debut album, which boasted an average of one minute, fifty-one seconds per song.

From here, the record loses a lot of steam. PinkPantheress continues to float between genres, but the only highlight is “Blue,” a deep house track that explores the heartbreak created by putting more into a relationship than your partner and how unhealthy those patterns of behavior can be. She then takes on some angst-ridden instrumentals on “Feelings” and “Capable of love,” completely misunderstanding that the appeal of her despondent lyrics is that they’re typically contrasted with cute, bouncy beats. Tacked on to the end of the record is “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2,” the aforementioned Ice Spice remix of her 2022 single which will likely climb the charts again following its appearance on this record. On that familiar note, Heaven knows comes to a close.

Overall, this record was a great move for PinkPantheress. She has proven she can take on different styles, write longer songs, and maintain her presence in the mainstream. Not everything she tried came off, but that’s to be expected with a young artist broadening her horizons. Heaven knows may not be a resounding success, but its a solid sophomore album from an artist who no doubt has great things coming down the line.

Photo credits from: Warner UK

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