LOS ANGELES (AP) — How do you become introduced to PinkPantheress?
Is it the viral, U.K. garage-sampling TikTok hits “Break It Off” or “Pain”? Or is it more recent — an inescapable song of the summer, “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2,” featuring Ice Spice? Or “Angel,” her contribution to the Mark Ronson-produced “Barbie” soundtrack? Or something else entirely?
There are countless ways in, but the destination is the same: sugary hooks that satiate, her sweet soprano carrying an addictive chorus above hybrid production. And as of Friday, it’s culminated in “Heaven Knows.” The debut full-length record from the U.K. star, who keeps her real name hidden, features 13 tracks she also co-produced.
“Heaven Knows” is sometimes hyperpop, sometimes ornamented with the sound of pan flutes (“Blue”), sometimes 2000s emo-by-way-of- My Chemical Romance -inspired church organs (that’s “Another life,” featuring the Nigerian artist Rema of “Calm Down” fame), and sometimes something else entirely.
Any kind of momentum after virality is rarer than the initial 15 minutes of fame. PinkPantheress is an exception because of the tools she wields: Her songs, up until this point, have been remarkably short — a minimalistic sensibility born from her understanding of what works on TikTok, often crafting snippets of a track, seeing if it works on the platform, and building them out from there. It’s sharpened her ability to identify a hook that works in a song about failed adventures in love (or romance, more specifically, which she name checks on “The aisle” and throughout “True Romance”) as well as death.
The latter is apparent on “Ophelia,” which begins with harps and finds its coda in the sound of a bubbling brook, a direct reference to the demise met by the doomed noblewoman in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
In the middle of “Heaven Knows” is “Internet Baby (interlude),” led by a memorable hook and the repeated refrain of “I am not your internet baby.” In the context of the song, it is a declaration to a needy love interest, but in the context of the album, it is a reminder that PinkPantheress ' online successes have offline resonance.
Maria Sherman, The Associated Press