Pink (or P!nk) has always been one of the most underapprciated voices in pop music. Literally and figuratively. Her early 2000’s angst is iconic and still relatable and quotable today. She’s always been the tough grungy girl down the block and somewhat of an outsider that got a little overshadowed by the shinier early 2000’s pop acts she emerged with like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. But instead of trying to fit into the traditional pop role, she’s slowly and brilliantly crafted her own place in music. No one does it quite like Pink, and that is what has set her apart since day one.
Where most pop songs could be sung by any number of voices on the radio, it’s hard to imagine anyone singing a Pink song the same way she does. She’s always been someone who you know you’re going to get the complete unvarnished opinion and truth from (“U+Ur Hand” anyone?) And that has never been more evident than it is on her seventh studio album, and first in five years, Beautiful Trauma.
Building upon the life lessons that marriage and motherhood brought to 2012’s The Truth About Love, Beautiful Trauma shares the latest chapter in Pink’s journey of self-discovery. The album, which features production from Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, Shellback and Greg Kurstin, sees Pink continuing to dish out hard truths, but also looking at life through a much more mature lens this time around, leading to a much heavier set of work that on previous efforts. Gone are the catchy kiss-off’s like “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”. She goes straight for the jugular here.
On the heavy-hearted ballad “Barbies” Pink mourns the loss of childhood innocence saying, “Now turned into someone I swore I would never be/ I wish I could go back to playing barbies in my room/ They never say that you gotta grow up quite this soon.” She gets some of her political anger out on “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” singing, “There’s rage and terror and sickness here/ I fight because I have to/ I fight for us to know the truth.” The most old-school-Pink fun she has here is on “Revenge,” a collaboration with Eminem which see’s the two lovers sparing back and forth about getting back at one another.
“Whatever You Want” see’s her fighting for her relationship, “You’re the only one I wanna sink with/ I feel like our ship’s going down tonight/ But it’s always darkest before the light.” And she rises up for the outcast on lead single “What About Us” singing, “Sticks and stones, they may break these bones/ But then I’ll be ready, are you ready?/ It’s the start of us waking up.” But one of the album’s rawest moments comes in the closer “You Get My Love,” focusing on the fear that she feels as she prepares to confess a deep sin to her lover once he wakes, singing, “I’m still not prepared/ For when you wake up and turn to me/ But you get my love, baby.” It’s a stirring and perfect closer to this unusually heavy set, begging for a follow up.
Beautiful Trauma is a wonderfully cohesive and imaginative release that finds one of pop’s most enduring voices continuing her uninterrupted streak of quality releases nearly two decades into her career. It’s a fresh sounding release that has its roots in everything fans have come to expect from this wild and unabashedly honest soul. More importantly, it reveals just enough new information about the woman behind the voice to keep us champing at the big for whatever she chooses to do next.