Pink’s new songs have similar sound

Pink’s “Hurts 2B Human” album presses all the right buttons.  The production is immaculate, the writing isn’t terrible and follows a familiar structure, the choruses are catchy enough, and the singer is well-established enough to gain more than a few hits from it.

For all intents and purposes, it’s the perfect pop album.  But the music consumers of 2019 don’t want the perfect pop album.  We want trap music produced in some nobody’s basement.  I’m not even going into how gloriously out-of-touch styling it “2B” is, but suffice to say, it’s somewhere between President Obama’s response to the Flint water crisis and Mitt Romney’s every action.

In 2000, Pink, then stylized as “P!nk,” released her first album, “Can’t Take Me Home.”  Classified as R&B and dance-pop, it was full of songs like “Most Girls,” which detailed her determination to find “real love,” as opposed to just financial security in a partner.  Most of her subsequent work defined her as outspoken, intentionally alternative to the mainstream, and proudly critical of society’s expectations for her.

She released songs like “Dear Mr. President,” in which she criticised former President George W. Bush’s conservative policies, “So What,” where she flaunted her ability to enjoy herself without a partner, “Please Don’t Leave Me,” where she displayed brutal honesty regarding her failings in relationships, and “Slut Like You,” in which she flipped gendered double standards regarding promiscuity and declared it to be her “really unsophisticated way of taking the power back.”

Then, five years after her 2012 album “The Truth About Love,” she released “Beautiful Trauma.”  Its lead single “What About Us” embodies the same “screw the mainstream” attitude that made her an interesting artist in the early 2000s, but it’s shown with hindsight and nostalgia.

“Can’t Take Me Home” was genuine.  “Beautiful Trauma” could’ve been sung by anyone.  It was released when acoustic, reflective ballads were all the rage, and as far as acoustic ballads go, the ones on “Beautiful Trauma” were pretty good, but no matter how much emotional vulnerability this album tried to project, it was not believable.

“What About Us” felt like a corporate plot and so has every song Pink’s released since then.  “Hurts 2B Human” is a good album, but it’s about as authentic an expression of Pink as Taco Bell is of Mexican cuisine.

It opens on the track “Hustle,” which is the result of A.I. attempting to write a self-empowerment anthem.  This song cautions the listener, “Don’t hustle me/ don’t f*ck with me.”  It’s empowerment pop at its worst and most inhuman.

“(Hey Why) Miss You Sometime,” which follows “Hustle,” is flat-out awful in the way that Cascada’s “Evacuate the Dancefloor” is awful:  not technically bad and has no discernable flaws, but leaves the listener feeling wrong somehow.  It’s like eating cheap takeout:  overblown and amazing until it’s gone; then you feel like you ate six times more than you did, and your wallet is $20 lighter.

Overall, the album is well put together.  Flawless.  Absolutely perfect.  But perfect is impossible and unattainable, and I never want to hear “Hurts 2B Human” again.

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