Written By: Filip Teovanovic
Originality: (1.0 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (4.0 / 5) Lyrics: (2.0 / 5) Production: (2.0 / 5) Average: (2.3 / 5)
Back in the day, in the dark room of mainstream pop, where you couldn’t decipher who is copying who, Pink was the beacon of light. Her garish music talent shined through and her poetic persona rendered lyrics that were more of a social commentary than banal, garrulous meditations on love and parties. Let’s just take “Stupid Girls” and “Family Portrait” as examples. The first one was castigation on Hollywood, infantile posers who would do just about anything for fifteen minutes of fame, while the later on represented an intimate confession of how Dostoevsky was right about dysfunctional families.
Long story short, P!nk was bold and authentic. She was also steady in her I’m-an-outcast-and-I-am-proud-of-it attitude, never failing to deliver pop-rock anthems year after year. The irony is that no matter how consistent she was, Pink was also somehow underrated, always in the shadow of her scandal-addicted female colleagues.
Now, almost twenty years later, Pink seems to have given up on her artistic integrity and decided to pursue degree in pure, dull, obsolete, Max-Martin mainstream pop. The switch from pop rock deity to pop cliche started with her previous record, with “Just Give Me A Reason” being the paragon of uber commercial jam. Still, that same album gave us masterpiece – “Try”. On her newest, seventh album titled Beautiful Trauma, the closest we get to a decent empowering hymn is first single “What About Us.” Other than this track, everything converges into a big pile of MEH.
Not really sure how intricately I want to vivisect the cute little animal Beautiful Trauma is, but I will tend to be candid and attempt to find some positives. Few tracks made me wonder whether she just wants to embody the nostalgia millennials struggle with. Duet with Eminem “Revenge” might be perfect manifestation of that this. I mean, who features Eminem in 2017 unless they want to bury you in perverted nostalgia? Similar applies to ballade “Barbies”, although I have a really hard time imagining Alicia Moore playing with dolls. Plus, this contradicts her gender bending position in music. Even more confusing is her decision to sing something like My perfect rock bottom, My beautiful trauma, My love, my love, my drug in a title track that sounds like Nicole Scherzinger giving an homage to Kesha circa 2012.
What the album lacks in melodies, P!nk tries to compensate with explicit lyrics that come off as lame rather than fierce. In “Whatever You Want”, a weak sister track of “Ur+Ur Hand”, she sings
Running like a dog
Fighting like a bitch too much…
Even when I fall, you don’t seem to give to shits
Could have had much more substance, right?
Altogether, I am pulled back to conclusion that the album’s best moment is “What About Us”, although the production falls somewhere between generic Calvin Harris track and Sia’s signature “balladry”. However, the lyrics are meaningful, melody is solid and P!nk’s rawness comes through. Luckily, she is still a powerhouse. Her vocal interpretation is not compromised, and it somehow manages to lead even the most hackneyed songs.
I just hope that P!nk is not going to stray for too long. We need our ferocious cat on the mainstream scene.