P!nk’s latest record is exceptional pop album
Album Review | 4 out of 5 stars
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 08:09
In Pink’s 12-year career, she has won three Grammys, recorded 11 top-10 singles and sold more than 13 million records. With all those achievements to her name, it’s about time she had a No. 1 album.
Sure enough, Pink’s most recent musical venture, “The Truth About Love,” debuted at the top of the Billboard Top 200 on Wednesday morning, beating out other formidable contenders like Kanye West’s “G.O.O.D,” Music’s “Cruel Summer” and The Killers’ “Battle Born.” She deserves it. The singer-songwriter’s sixth studio release is 13 tracks of refreshingly honest, feisty and funny lyrics paired with infectiously catchy pop music. Though she stays true to her fiery, say-what-I-want persona, this time Pink pushes herself even further by incorporating more sentimentality and seriousness into her songs. This delicate balance of edginess and solemnity is what makes her new album so successful. “The Truth About Love” is a diverse collection of tunes that cover everything from depth to dancing, from profundity to partying.
The album opens with “All We Are We Are,” an angry, forceful declaration that Pink dubbed, “my angry protest song.” The introduction begins with a repeated riff of what sounds like muted cheering amidst thick, heavy drumming. Then a frenzied electronic plucking starts, which produces an uneasy musical anxiety. As the chorus escalates, Pink’s distinctively rough voice breaks into the hook: “We are the people that you’ll never get the best of / not forget the rest of, rest of / We’ve got it all, we’ve had enough, we’ve had it up in here,” she belts. With its perpetual, driving motion, “All We Are We Are” is an angst-ridden, yet introspective anthem. It’s the perfect lead-in for the next 12 songs.
Three tracks later Pink, sounds like an entirely different performer. “Just Give Me a Reason” is a raw piano ballad. Compared to her other heavily produced tunes, this one is stripped-down and simple. Over aching piano chords, Pink displays her true vocal talent. She teams up with Nate Ruess of Fun. and the two sing poignantly of a dying relationship. Poetic lyrics are littered through the verses, transforming the tune from mere entertainment into art. In the third stanza, the duo echoes one another saying, “Oh tear ducts and rust / I’ll fix it for us / We’re collecting dust / But our love’s enough.” The chorus does pick up and develops into a rhythmic chanting that drowns the gentle piano in a sea of dense percussion. Though the refrain stays faithful to Pink’s pop roots, “Reason” sounds more like a confessional than the typical “bubblegum” material of the music industry.
In a similar fashion, Pink again showcases her voice on “Beam Me Up,” a slow melody isolating her singing against a minimal backdrop of acoustic guitar and heart-rending orchestral strings. There is almost a sense of religiosity embedded in her words, as if when she implores, “Beam me up / let me be lighter, tired of being a fighter,” she is talking with some higher power.
In the following track, “Walk of Shame,” Pink also has a conversation with God, but this time it’s a little different. “Please, God, don’t let any one see me / Please, God, I’ll do anything you’ll ask me” she promises, praying that no one sees her while she waits for the elevator in the morning while still wearing last night’s dress. A high-pitched whistling, fast clapping noises and electric guitar notes coalesce to create a head-bobbing, foot-tapping, lighthearted jam. Here, however, the focus is her lyrical content: a witty, edgy and absolutely hysterical account of an experience to which any college age crowd can relate.
In terms of frankness, “Walk of Shame” can barely compare to Pink’s seventh and possibly best track, “Slut Like You.” The song immediately sets itself apart as the most characteristically crass and candid of the album. From the get-go, Pink declares, “I’m not a slut, I just love, love!” The beat is driving and the music is irresistibly fun. In this case, however, it’s the comically blunt and hilariously outspoken words that are most reminiscent of the Pink audiences know and love. Lines like, “You don’t win a prize with your googly eyes / I’m not a cracker jack / You can’t go inside / Unless I let you Jack, or Sam? / Haha f**k, what’s your name again?” are both funny and empowering, proving that Pink has not lost an ounce of her raucousness and honesty.
These days, musical variety is hard to find, especially among pop artists. Pink brings back everything listeners love about her, but she also successfully pushes the envelope. She is a veteran, but also an innovator. “The Truth About Love” proves that even after 12 years, Pink still has it.