Well before her long-awaited solo career began, Rosé understood one of music’s greatest contradictions: the daunting necessity of revealing deeply personal stories to unfamiliar audiences. Blackpink’s main vocalist, who released the “R” last month, discussed her creative process with producer Joe “Vince” Rhee in the 2020 documentary “BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky.”
“That’s something I can’t do too easily,” she said of embracing the vulnerability inherent to the recording studio — the very quality that suffuses “R” with such sincere warmth and flair. The album’s B-side, “Gone,” laments past love and future loneliness in the timeless form of a forlorn guitar ballad.
Two years after first recording the track and just over two months after its widely acclaimed debut at Blackpink’s virtual concert “The Show,” Rosé finally shared the for “Gone” on April 4.
As the guitar intro plays, Rosé wakes up on a candlelit bathroom floor, slowly opening her eyes as if reluctant to leave a happy dream of the past. When she starts singing, the scene shifts to hint at the memory in question: Rosé smiling brightly while on the phone, surrounded by her namesake flowers. Among clusters of dyed blue roses lie far fewer red ones, suggesting the rarity of true love relative to sheer romantic artifice. Still more of the roses are purple — a potential reminder that most relationships fall somewhere in between.
“I’m tired of always waiting,” Rosé continues, as the video cuts to her doing just that at a nighttime bus stop. Then, she’s planning chess moves as a red rose blooms in a vase, doomed to wilt before its artificial counterparts on the wallpaper lining the room. Her opponent later makes a brief appearance, seemingly attempting to move a pawn two spaces over another. (Now there’s a misstep that might justify the line, “It’s hard for me to blame you when you were already lost.”)
The attempt to preserve the rose in water echoes the pre-chorus’ longing to “be the one / But to you we’re already done.” During these lines, Rosé’s downcast stare at her smartphone couldn’t feel further from her earlier laughter into a retro handset. The first verse offers an explanation for this newfound silence: “I see you changed your number, that’s why you don’t get my calls.”
“Another story that’s sad and true,” Rosé begins the first chorus, rejecting the more common “sad but true” for a bold confrontation of her unhappy reality as she documents the story’s more hopeful moments with a vintage movie camera. “You had to be the one to let me down / To color me blue,” she sings, evoking the roses whose unnatural blue symbolizes the search for something impossible.
Meanwhile, vivid splashes of spilled wine and dripping candle wax foreshadow the red rose’s inevitable end, which in turn calls to mind the inscription of “Roses are dead, love is fake,” in Rosé’s for “On The Ground,” her solo album’s lead single. Just before the last chorus, a striking image of the flower on fire only cements this message.
When the video’s second half introduces clips of Rosé in front of a projector, she never tries to relive the cheerful memories on the wall by looking in their direction. Instead, in the penultimate scene, she reaches for the projector’s glaring beam of light — which, of course, remains as intangible as ever.
The final scene again shows Rosé with a glass of red wine. Except now, she sits alone at the table, her eyes meeting the camera’s gaze as the shot fades out. “All my love is gone / Now you’re dead and gone,” the song ends, but Rosé’s nuanced acting and beautiful voice leave a lasting impression.
— Staff writer Clara V. Nguyen can be reached at [email protected]