New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Review: PinkPantheress’ ‘Heaven knows’ is the pinnacle of modern internet-pop

The emerging star’s newest album explores the challenges of growing up in the digital world and rapidly rising to fame while paying homage to her influences.
Kayla An
PinkPantheress released her debut pop album “Heaven knows” on Nov. 10. (Illustration by Kayla An)

She tucks her hair behind her ears, softly flutters her eyelashes and envelops us with her gaze. Draped in an eyelet mini-dress, cropped button-down and 2000s faux fur boots, she exudes Y2K culture. She’s most known for her collaboration with Ice Spice on “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2,” but PinkPantheress is a solo mogul who shines on her own — and her rise to fame marks a shift in global pop culture. 

PinkPantheress further explores her signature sound in her debut album released on Nov. 10, “Heaven knows,” which is influenced by the digital-pop icons that came before her and an entirely new array of symphonies. She draws from an international array of classic ’80s and 2000s inspirations, like Sweet Female Attitude and Michael Jackson. At the same time, her energized electronic beats, synth instrumentals and samples of futuristic grains combined with her breathy and hyper-feminine vocals give her a uniquely modern sound. 

Although she still relies on the same trademark synth sound that made her single “Break It Off” go viral on TikTok, PinkPantheress introduces a myriad of extra instrumental aids in “Heaven knows.” In the fan-favorite “Mosquito,” the melody moves away from her usual monotone, three-chord approach into a new minor, bossa-nova sound. While still upbeat, the song features a classical, Brazilian jazz guitar strumming with a faint flute sound simmering in the background. In “Another life” featuring Rema, the song fades in with a dramatic organ serenade mirroring the vampiric sound pervading many new pop and rap songs, such as Playboi Carti’s “Vamp Anthem.” She shifts instrumentals again in “Ophelia,” this time focusing on an angelic symphony of harps, strings and a soft drum beat to create a relaxing aura. 

The album successfully ventured into diverse sounds while staying true to PinkPantheress’ U.K. roots. She is often associated with a cacophony of randomized percussive noises and beats. Although this style of music is still popular in the United Kingdom and in smaller pockets of musical communities around the world, PinkPantheress has allowed this piece of lost culture to become mainstream for the younger, pop-crazy generation.

While illustrating her musical malleability, this album also explores many thematic issues contemporary to younger generations. With her fanbase being so chronically online, PinkPantheress’ music has the reach to resonate emotionally in times when they might not feel as supported. Her lyrics explore issues of romantic vulnerability, navigating selfhood and relationships in a materialistic world, and grappling with the complexities of power dynamics. In “Mosquito,” her lyrics ask, “Can I spend a fortune? ‘Cause I want to / I know it’s appallin’ how I lose you / Spendin’ every day that I want, the day that I want / What happened to me?”

PinkPantheress has been open on how the transition into stardom has been alarming and different from her childhood spent in a London suburb. Only recently being signed to a label, she wasn’t used to the fixation on public image and monetary status. In “Feel complete,” she subsequently expresses how her newfound status has affected her personal life, singing, “Money came today, and so you’ll get what you want / I wish that it would end when it stopped bein’ fun” and ending with “I guess I never knew you very well (Knew you very well)  / I just wanna feel complete.” The intertwined metaphor of love and money makes her music applicable to a wide audience.

PinkPantheress’ steadfast commitment to authenticity and integrity is admirable. Despite fast-paced changes in pop culture, she has not fallen prey to artistic assimilation, and “Heaven knows” is the perfect example of that. Regardless of the trends, the album retains the unique texture of her sound, style and personal image.

Contact Miranda Santiago at [email protected].

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