Pink Is a Lyrical Force of Nature on Seventh Album ‘Beautiful Trauma’
It’s hard to realize just how much the world can change in nearly two decades until it already has, usually because its inhabitants are changing just as quickly. It isn’t until you look at an artist like Pink, who landed her first Hot 100 hit 17 years ago, that you develop an appreciation for how easily things are replaced, cast aside and forgotten about. Back when the kids were getting fired up to “There You Go” and blasting “Get The Party Started” en route to the club, the gas was cheaper, internet was slower and phones were for talking. In such a dynamic landscape, Pink remains a constant, lighting that same fire in people 17 years later with her latest album, “Beautiful Trauma,” a sonically diverse baker’s dozen that shows off the pop star’s signature lyricism while refusing to compromise.
Pink (Alecia Beth Moore) co-wrote every track on “Beautiful Trauma.” Compare the songwriting on the songstress’ seventh studio album to anything else her pop contemporaries have churned out since 2012’s chart-topping “The Truth About Love,” and immediately you’ll find that Pink’s just at another lyrical level. Ballads like “But We Lost It” tug at listeners’ heartstrings. “They say everything is temporary/who the hell are they anyways?” Pinks sings over a woeful piano that warms the track like an emotional furnace. “I want to know where does love go to die / is it some sad empty castle in the sky?” That fiery piano builds to a flaming crescendo, complimented exquisitely by an impressive vocal burst that takes full advantage of Pink’s remarkable range. As a whole the track is underscored by a sense of intimacy that’s hard to understand but easy to appreciate.
Pink definitely secured her spot atop the charts with her slower, more poignant fare “What About Us,” but much like Alecia Beth Moore the person, Pink the hard-working artist refuses to take a backseat to anybody. In a recent interview she mentioned a few label execs sitting her down and warning her that women over 35 just don’t get played on Top 40 radio, a edict she has already dispelled thanks to the club-ready titular single and deeper cuts like the anthemic “Secrets.” Throw in a fun collaboration with Eminem on “Revenge,” a cut that sees both Pink and Eminem stepping out of their comfort zones — Eminem sings and Pink busts a flow — and “Beautiful Trauma” is already flying high on most pop radars.
Pink went into the recording process for this album with the goal of diversity and not having another album of slow, melancholic music, and she succeeds entirely. Sure, there are those tear-jerkers lurking around the pop-tinged corners, like “Barbies,” an expertly picked folksy tune that pines for adolescence, back when life was a frolic and not a burden, but the pop-star really comes through with songs that sound different enough to make the album beautiful in its composition. She enlisted another roster of accomplished hitmakers, including the duo behind Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” and frequent Taylor Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff. Their production coupled with P!nk’s cutting songwriting is a match made in pop heaven, allowing the final product to glint in its frankness and revel in its sincerity.
No, Pink didn’t come into “Beautiful Trauma” with the goal of reinventing the wheel. Rather, she took her best qualities and ramped them up. There aren’t a lot of new tricks on the album, but it’s not like she needs them. “Beautiful Trauma” ultimately works as a masterful reflection of life’s duality, from slow burning ballads to the radio-ready jaunts, Pink knows just how to make listeners reach for their tissues on one song, and then reach for their best club gear on the next. After this album, it’s time to stop arguing and accept Pink as the musical mastermind she is.
“Beautiful Trauma” is available Oct. 13 on Apple Music.