Over the years, Pink has truly established a niche for herself in the pop market as an edgy, hard-living, tough-talking, streetwise diva/bitch that you just better not mess with. A blonde who’s anything but dumb. Not having released a record in four years, and having become a mother in the meantime, many wondered whether her new record The Truth About Love would see a toned-down, less edgy Pink—much the way the matrimony and motherhood affected Alanis Morissette.
The first single from the album, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” began putting those concerns to rest—and the rest of the album drives the nails into the coffin of that misguided notion.
Now, I might as well come out and say that certain veins of pop music do not appeal to me. I like pop music in general, but I’m not a fan of those acts who base their persona entirely on gratuitous sluttiness, garbage mouthiness, or partying to the point of blindness. (So haters beware when a new release from one of these acts comes across my desk—I won’t be pulling punches.) But even more than that—I have a problem with pop music that is shallow, lacking in substance. I don’t think pop music has to be “dumbed down,” and there’s far too much of that kind of pop on the market today.
But that’s just the thing about Pink. What makes me like her, even respect her, as an artist is that despite the fact that those other elements are present (in songs like the her early hit “Get the Party Started” and more recently “Slut Like You” and “Walk of Shame” on the new album), and despite the profanity-laced lyricism that can sometimes evoke a blush from even the least prudish, at the bottom of it, Pink is anything but shallow. Agree or disagree with her worldview, her songs actually say something. She is a pop artist with substance.
Pink’s persona is delightfully complex, and all of it comes out on The Truth About Love. She can go from anthemic chants like the opening song “Are We All We Are” (“We are the people that you’ll never get the best of”) to the cheeky “Slut Like You” (a declaration that women can be just as predatory about sex as men) to “True Love” (with lyrics like “Sometimes I wanna slap you in your whole face” that make most guys glad they aren’t her husband)—but then she can be soft and vulnerable with songs like “Beam Me Up,” one of the sweetest love songs she’s ever sung (“Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter”). Pink covers all this ground in a way that portrays her as sometimes hard as nails, sometimes soft as silk—but above all, remarkably human.
And let’s not forget one thing that often goes overlooked: Pink can flat out out-sing almost any other diva making music today. On every song on the album, she communicates her message with complete control over her voice, no note or expression out of place. Much is made over the content of her songs, but this woman could sing the phone book and make it sound compelling.
All told, The Truth About Love is a well-produced and well-crafted album that easily stands up to the rest of Pink’s discography. Her songs are neither for the faint of heart nor for the mindless, but they are raw, honest and revealing. She’s a dichotomy between crass and elegant, but as an artist, Pink proves she can stand toe-to-toe with the best of them.