Mastering the delicate balance of radio-ready hooks, confessional lyrical content with panache and rock grit, nobody quite comes close to one Miss Alecia Moore, A.K.A P!nk.
For the better part of the past decade Australia in particular has fallen under the spell of this Pennsylvanian pop powerhouse. In her first studio release since the circus rock stylings of 2008’s Funhouse, The Truth About Love comes with a weight of expectations, so where do we find P!nk in the world of marriage and motherhood?
Led by the Greg Kurstin (Britney, Kelly Clarkson, Kylie) produced Blow Me (One Last Kiss), which is all ‘So What’ strut, mixed with Clarkson’s Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) and is the album’s most obvious nod to her past, belting out the higher notes (a result of cutting the cigarettes out) that make her contemporaries turn pale, Blow Me is a pink herring, as ‘Truth’ hides a diverse, but familiar feel.
Opening track ‘All We Are We Are’ is a grinding mesh of frantic guitar punk, a call to arms for generation next. A sonic punch to the face that sets the pop/rock bar high for P!nk’s sixth LP. Second single ‘Try’, a weighty, mid-tempo FM radio wet dream, soars despite its cliché lyrics.
‘Walk Of Shame’ mines the successful cheeky-pop ‘U & Ur Hand’ formula and seems destined for future single release, an upbeat, winking ode to the morning after and the trials and tribulations of finding your way home. ‘Slut Like You’ is a less successful attempt at the same format, which confuses turning guitars up to eleven as a legitimate pop hook.
Guest artists feature on some questionable cuts. ‘Just Give Me a Reason,’ ‘Truth’s’ first ballad featuring fun.’s Nate Ruess, begins with promise but is lost in a chorus that sounds like it belongs in a Disney film. Kurstin’s buddy Lily Allen (now going by her married name Lily Cooper) walks in and out of the underwhelming ‘True Love’ virtually unnoticed and ‘Here Comes the Weekend,’ featuring Eminem, is a dream collaboration (their second) that needed a stronger track to feel truly worthy.
‘The Truth About Love’ finds its heart in its more peaceful moments. ‘Beam Me Up’ soars with pure heart, driven by simple acoustic production that allows the focus to be the exquisite vocal delivery. When P!nk lets you in below the bratty persona, her honesty is truly captivating. ‘The Great Escape’ aims for the same highs, and is assured, though the heavy handed suicide theme tries to elicit the emotion from you rather than truly feel it.
P!nk has been one of the most refreshingly honest singers in the Top 40 in the 12 years she’s found mainstream success. Previous hits ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’, ‘Sober’, ‘So What’ and ‘Who Knew’ leave the audience with a connection to the real persona behind the rock star, but ironically ‘Truth’ is a less honest representation of the now 33 year old married mother. Tracks quickly shift in genres to suit their FM purpose and find themselves compared to Clarkson (Blow Me), Katy Perry (Walk Of Shame) and Lady GaGa (Run) instead of defining themselves as truly P!nk.
Whether or not ‘The Truth About Love’ is clear, what is evident is the gutso in each track’s production and vocal delivery. P!nk seems capable of much more, and while it’s at times hard to take, sometimes the truth hurts.