November 13, 2003

Pink: Don't Try This At Home

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If you want to sum up the sentiments behind Pink’s new album, Try This, look no further than the cover booklet. Listen, I know you guys barely give these things more than a glance, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one. Alright, open that sucker up. See the five-or-so pages of lyrics boldly scrawled across obnoxious, bright red pages in a font that simply screams the Sex Pistols. Keep flipping, we’ll get to them in a bit. By now, you’re probably being bombarded by pictures of the scantily-clad pop diva doing what she does best — lying around in nothing but fishnets and skateboarding in calf-high stilettos, of course, — but don’t get discouraged. Like I said before, we’ll get to them later.

If you’ve reached the second-to-last page, stop. Now, let your eyes fall to the bottom of the text. There. Right there. Pink’s message to all of us young, confused, angst-ridden teenagers who are desperately searching for some sort of meaning in this meaningless world: “Embrace the freak that you are (small heart, cute little peace sign)!”

That’s right, folks. She’s still angry. She’s still in your face. And judging from the lyrics of her new album’s first single, “Trouble,” she’s still threatening to chase you down the street in six-inch Prada heels. What else is new.

A vapid, unoriginal venture from TRL’s most badass diva? Let’s quickly recap the story behind Ms. Alecia “Pink” Moore’s initial success. A few years ago, the release of Can’t Take Me Home impressed listeners with a hard-edged style the world of ’90s pop hadn’t yet experienced. Sure, for a white R&B pseudo-diva her songs were a bit malnourished in the originality department, but dammit, she had pink hair.

By the time Pink’s second album, Missundazstood, hit the nation’s record stores, the world of mainstream music had been thrown into a frenzy. Angst was in, bubblegum was out, and Pink had become a national icon of dysfunction, bitterness, and women’s empowerment reminiscent of a time when thirteen-year-old girls would spend their Friday nights dressing up as their favorite Spice Girl. Unlike the British girl group, however, Pink’s favorite pastimes included partying, kicking ass and comparing her parents’s divorce to the Vietnam War.

With Try This, Moore attempts to maintain her “bitch of pop” title by extending her genre-crossing prowess over to the world of ’90s punk revival, collaborating with Rancid’s own Tim Armstrong for ten of the album’s thirteen songs. Although an interesting move on both artists’ part, Pink’s effort to show her fans an exciting new side to her musical capability falls flat. Sure, “Trouble” and “Oh My God” manage to create a punk milieu that would intrigue Pink’s older fans, but her attitude, vocals, and lyrics are simply business as usual. Lines like “I’m trouble — yeah trouble now” and “If you see me coming down the street/ then you know it’s time to go” seem to be over-simplified versions of lyrics from earlier albums. Similarly, the singer has nothing new to say about how fake her fellow pop stars are in “Try Too Hard,” and “Tonight’s the Night” is simply “Get the Party Started” with a background riff that makes us wonder if she isn’t just using Armstrong as an excuse to sample tracks from