Sunday, October 7, 2012

A little more of the truth...colored Pink

Pink's 6th album "The Truth About Love" finds her in fine form - not bad for someone whose 3rd crashed and burned on the charts and had many writing her off for good.

The disc starts off with the somewhat grating, but still catchy "Are we all we are?" which is lyrically potent, but the chanting child-voice of the title gets a bit too repetitive after a while.  This peppy opener is a snoozer compared to the zippy, flying-off-the-tracks lead single "Blow me (one last kiss)" - Pink may write a few too many breakup vs. stay together kind of songs.  That said, with a "the hell with you, I'm done" type of song done in such a catchy and infectious manner, it's hard to argue with her choices.  After the double-dose of pep, things settle down a bit with the motivational-piece-as-pop-song "Try".  "Just give me a reason" continues mining Pink's penchant for ballads that still have a little bit of thump and thud underpinning them.  Nate Ruess is a bit under-used here - really, when he sings, and when they sing together, they sound great - it makes one wish his voice featured a bit more prominently on the song.  Not a deal-breaker though.  

On "True Love" she pours on the love-as-hate-as-love talk a bit thick - with lines like "You're an asshole / but I love you" or "Nothing else can break my heart like true love"  And while it may be poured on a bit thick, it is still a catchy tune.  Lily Allen (aka Lily Rose Cooper) lends a nice set of variety with her guest vocals on this one as well.  This is followed by "How come you're not here?" which re-does the classic "missing your lover" trope with classic snarl and spark that is unmistakably Pink - and far more fun to listen to because of it.

"Slut like you" is a strange animal.  The title sounds off-putting, but the song itself comes off as an off-the-rails party rave-up that is all over the place - it mocks the tired social convention of men on the prowl being "studs" and women doing the same thing being labeled "sluts" by making the men "sluts" as well - while it simultaneously rips on and/or celebrate groups of women out on the prowl at the local meat market/club/whatever you want to call it.  Pink toggles so effortlessly from attacking and celebrating on this one it's hard to keep track.  That said, it is undoubtedly one of the most fun tracks on the disc.  You could even call it a spiritual sequel to her earlier track  "Stupid Girls"

"The truth about love" is a fitting title track that manages to take love, breakups, happy relationships, all that - and somehow blend it all into a listing-off-the-classics type of song - think Billy Joel "We didn't start the fire" for the "list-song" style I speak of here.

"Beam Me Up" is one of those moments where Pink sheds the snarling riot-grrrl-stomp and reveals a person who wishes they could just relax once in a while.  However much this may or may not be autobiographical, it's still a refreshing way to keep a varied mix of feelings and emotions going in the music.  It's the "just-right" counterpoint to the aforementioned riot-grrl-stomp.  "Walk of Shame" is an "oh-no-hope-they-don't-see" number that seems mis-sequenced - coming as it does before the "oh no here we go time to party like a freak star" track "Here comes the weekend" - with a mostly forgettable guest turn by Eminem to tweak things up a bit.

Pink has pulled off a rare transcendence in the music industry.  She began as just another R&B carbon-copy under Antonio "LA" Reid's control - then forced her way out of that noose, only to have her star sink a bit as she dared to not be just another R&B clone - only to rise again (she did title her 4th album "I'm Not Dead, after all) in her current "still pop, but pop fired up with rock and roll at the core" self, which is not quite rock and roll, not quite R&B, but definitely all her - and definitely worth a listen.

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