“Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” put both Ice Spice and PinkPantheress on the map in February of this year as it stormed the internet and radio. The song was inescapable — even the bars in Oxford put the song onto their unvaried rotations — and I couldn’t complain. Even as the song’s popularity waned, I never stopped listening. It was my top song of 2023. It also served as a gateway to my addiction to Ice Spice and PinkPantheress.
The song has such a bouncy beat that complements PinkPantheress’s soft and smooth vocals. Ice Spice’s iconic verse then adds a brazen attitude toward the titular liar. While in many ways, the song was both artists’ claim to fame, only Ice Spice has retained a degree of popularity, which PinkPantheress has lost since February. This saddens me because of how much I love her music. I absolutely adore her debut album To Hell With It and naturally was elated when she announced her second album, Heaven Knows, which released Nov. 10, 2023.
To my surprise, no one in my life shared the level of excitement that I had for the album’s release. It was then that I realized the divergence in popularity between PinkPantheress and her “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” counterpart, Ice Spice, since February. As of Dec. 10, Ice Spice has 26.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and PinkPantheress has 22 million. While this alone wouldn’t imply that Ice Spice is considerably more popular than PinkPantheress as I’m describing, what I’m referring to, though, goes beyond streaming statistics; it’s a presence in the zeitgeist of 2023 that only Ice Spice seems to have maintained.
Between her collaborations with Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, the latter of which being “Barbie World” (which played as the credit song for the blockbuster hit Barbie), and her partnership with Dunkin’ for her own drink, Ice Spice has risen to fame and sustained that level of popularity in a big way.
After “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” infiltrated my brain in February, I decided to go back and listen to PinkPantheress’s debut album To Hell with It from October 2021. It was similar to “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” in a lot of ways, namely the short duration of the tracks. The longest track on the EP is “Nineteen” at 2 minutes and 33 seconds. The EP tackles themes like growing up and young love, which is easily relatable to a “20-year-old teenage girl” like me.
As expected, I loved Heaven Knows as soon as it was released, and it’s now my mission to encourage everyone else to listen, too.
“Another life (feat. Rema)” is a wonderful opener to Heaven Knows. The organ at the beginning of the track came as an unexpected but welcome feature, which meshes surprisingly well with her sound. The playful bassline is addictive to listen to, and it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the song. I hadn’t heard anything from the featured artist Rema prior to this song, but to my surprise, I enjoy his verse a lot.
PinkPantheress’s signature K-pop-esque sound is included in the song and the album as a whole. She has spoken about how much K-pop has inspired her music in both sound and subject matter. The line “you melt up my body and all my heart” references the K-pop group f(x)’s song “Ice Cream,” in which that exact same line is sung.
The track is 2 minutes and 52 seconds long, already exceeding the duration of the longest song included in To Hell with It, showing a degree of maturation and growth in her music. Not that there’s anything wrong with shorter songs, but her first album exclusively featured songs that feel like they were just short of their full potential (pun intended). Heaven Knows does a great job of taking more time with each song, resulting in a more fulfilling experience for the listener.
“True romance” encapsulates what every teenage girl has felt at some point in her life: yearning for a celebrity crush. The inclusion of the acoustic guitar adds a unique feature to her usual sound palette and, like the organ, works very well when interwoven with her signature style. It also contributes to the concert-like vibe that the song captures through the use of cheering sound effects.
The single “Mosquito” definitely has to be my favorite from the album. Tackling her relationship with wealth and her sudden rise to fame over a lively beat, light strings, and sound effects, this song is PinkPantheress. The inclusion of sound effects like the record scratching between verses and replacing a word in the second verse with the sound of a glass crashing make it just so fun and enjoyable to listen to. If someone could only ever hear one song off this album, I would tell them to listen to “Mosquito.”
“The aisle” is another favorite of mine off the album. The song describes a toxic relationship. It features lines as concerning as “I will make you wish that you had never come to me” with a deceivingly fun and charming beat behind it. Perhaps this reflects the resignation that PinkPantheress feels in regards to her relationship with this person, as she sings “I still refer to you as an option / ‘cause you always find your way right back to me.” Yet another addictive bassline and playful details throughout the song keep me coming back to this one.
“Nice to meet you” is a playful love song with a music video that beautifully captures the Y2K aesthetic. I really don’t care for Central Cee’s verse and found some of the lines silly — and not in an endearing way. I still cannot believe this man seriously raps the line “I might risk it for a biscuit.” It’s honestly too odd for me to take it seriously, even in a fun way. I love PinkPantheress’s part though, as to be expected. His verse, though, doesn’t inhibit the song’s replay value, as I’ve found myself coming back to it quite a lot recently.
“Bury me (feat. Kelela)” should resonate with my fellow situationship survivors as it explores the longing for intimacy from somebody unwilling or unable to commit to that. Kelela’s vocals add a soulful and full sound to the track that complements PinkPantheress’s style wonderfully. This feature, paired with relatable lyrics and a distinctive beat, makes this track lightning in a bottle, despite being the shortest on the album at 2 minutes and 4 seconds long.
“Internet baby (interlude)” delves into PinkPantheress navigating relationships in which men are only interested in her for her music and fame. With an electronic, swirling beat in the background, the song is heartfelt but also playful — a characteristic present throughout most of her music.
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Ophelia” explores unrequited love with fatal consequences. PinkPantheress puts herself in the character Ophelia’s shoes, who drowned herself in the play after facing rejection. Again, the details of this track enrich the experience so much. At the end, her voice starts cutting out intermittently to imitate the drowning of her character Ophelia.
In “Feel complete,” PinkPantheress reflects on a deteriorating relationship in a very honest way. The song retains her upbeat and bubbly style while carrying a devastating sentiment: that she “never knew [her partner] very well” after all. The inclusion of strings at the end of the song really ties it together, as it enriches the cheery sound of the track by adding a more mellow, somber layer to it.
I especially resonate with “Blue.” It’s not as quick-tempoed as most other songs on the album, and she sings about loving someone but also knowing that she can’t be around them anymore. The instrumental vibe encapsulates this heartbreaking conclusion quite nicely.
“Feelings” is probably the weakest track on the album. It explores how quickly PinkPantheress came into fame and how she doesn’t want her loved one to worry about her well-being even though she is struggling with all of the pressure that comes with being a celebrity. Honestly though, everything this track does, other tracks do better. When I listen to the album, I’ll let this one play, but I don’t seek it out.
“Capable of Love,” PinkPantheress’s longest song to date sitting at 3 minutes and 43 seconds, was another track that hit home for me. It follows the longing for her love to be reciprocated in a situation where it simply won’t be. This crushing feeling translates well into the song with the synth complementing her voice as she sings the line “after you.”
Heaven Knows closes out with “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2,” a song no one should question my fondness for. Honestly, “Capable of Love” would have made a better closer for the album, but I understand that this song had to go in there somewhere.
Please, do yourself a favor and stream Heaven Knows for melodramatic, yet lively, tracks that, if you’re anything like me, will have you captivated with PinkPantheress as an artist — and not just as the girl who made “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” with Ice Spice.