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P!nk


A feisty force in the post-millennium all-singing, all-dancing ballad-pop starlet squad from the States; alongside CHRISTINA AGUILERA, GWEN STEFANI and KELLY CLARKSON, the luscious and spicy P!NK has spread her wears over a raft of colourful hits and several platinum-selling albums; she could literally `Get The Party Started’ in an empty house. But in the age of Britney (her on-going rival) and BEYONCÉ, P!NK was somewhat of a revelation; keeping the punk spirit alive with her revealing choice of wardrobe and her outspoken, shut-up-and-listen public image; and, of course, her rose-tinted hair-do.
Born Alecia Beth Moore, September 8, 1979, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, she was raised on the local club scene and became a regular, aged only 13-14, at Club Fever, where she would sing self-penned songs every Friday night. She was almost immediately initiated into R&B/hip hop combo Schoolz Of Thought, before auditioning for a manufactured, MCA-funded R&B collective, Basic Instinct. This, however, did not work out, and a disgruntled P!NK, along with a few other group casualties, formed Choice. They signed to L.A. Reid’s and Babyface’s LaFace label, but, once again, faltered after failing to get along creatively.
Producer Daryl Simmons saw potential and asked her to co-write a song, `Just To Be Loving You’. On the strength of her solo songwriting abilities, she was signed by Reid, himself, to record a TLC-like solo album. CAN’T TAKE ME HOME (2000) {*7} saw her working with a number of songwriters, collaborators and musicians. On the back of smash hit singles, `There You Go’, `Most Girls’ and `You Make Me Sick’, her debut album ended up going triple platinum, a feat which earned her a support slot with teeny-bopper boy band ‘N SYNC.
But this was only the beginning of the petite, pink-haired lady’s success as her collaborative efforts with CHRISTINA AGUILERA, LIL’ KIM and MYA were fully unveiled, in April 2001, on a rendition of LaBELLE’s `Lady Marmalade’ (from Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” flick), which soon made her a household name.
The aforementioned dancefloor-filler, `Get The Party Started’, gate-crashed the Top 5 that October. The song became one of the most anthemic disco records ever, with its oh-so catchy chorus, cheeky video and a backbeat-laden with hip hop style ornamentations. Yes she was fast becoming a superstar; Britney’s bright and sexually wicked twin, if you will. On the subject of Miss SPEARS, P!NK apparently sent the pop diva a bunch of lilies in apology after she blasted her in an American interview. Of course, SPEARS was allergic to the vibrant perfume of the plant; a practical joke that was wittingly executed. P!NK received anti-pop street-cred thanks to her more edgier parent album, M!SSUNDAZTOOD (2001) {*7}. The records were buoyed by guest appearances from AEROSMITH’s Steven Tyler (on `Misery’) and 4 NON BLONDES’ Linda Perry (on `Lonely Girl’), who also contributed immensely to the rockier production that could be heard throughout. All ‘n’ all the set failed to live up to its expectations, with most of the songs such as `Don’t Let Me Get Me’ and `Family Portrait’ coming over as a half-assed shot at something that vaguely represented the rap/rock/R&B/hip hop/soul and pop genres; a melting pot of candy floss. That said, it was the kind of proverbial candy floss that stuck to one’s teeth, fingers, face – in other words, it got everywhere.
In the SPIRIT of things, recently-departed guru guitarist RANDY CALIFORNIA might well’ve been turning in his watery grave on hearing sampling from his group’s `Fresh Garbage’ on massive UK hit, `Feel Good Time’ (spawned from the movie, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”), which pitched P!NK alongside maverick mixer WILLIAM ORBIT.
P!NK returned late in 2003; this time displaying a rather more raunchy, rockier image on TRY THIS {*8}. Linda Perry was still on board, but with only three songs credited to her name. The big surprise, however, was the recruitment of songwriter and frontman for underground punk band, RANCID: Tim Armstrong, who seemed to push the P!NK lady into a scuzzed-out direction without having her commit total commercial suicide (e.g. UK-only hit, `Last To Know’). Massive hit, `Trouble’; with its punky power chords and snotty chrous was evidence of her new found transformation; and like KYLIE, we even saw her dabble in a little bit of electronica with rude girl of the moment PEACHES (on `Oh My God’). To many, it all seemed a tad moot; especially `God Is A DJ’, which was destined to become a dancefloor smash on the strength of the lines: “If god is a DJ, then life is a dancefloor” – obvious to the point of almost wretching.
Taking time out in order to build up to her marriage, in January 2006, to motocross racer Carey Hart, P!NK had lost none of her bitching qualities when parodying “porno paparazzi” celebs Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Hilary Duff et al on her hit single, `Stupid Girls’. The record was spawned from her long-awaited 4th set, I’M NOT DEAD (2006) {*8}, a pumped up part-power-pop/part-dance album that saw her and main co-writer Billy Mann take swipes at an uncaring George W. Bush on `Dear Mr. President’ (alongside INDIGO GIRLS). The explicit nature of her put-downs on `’Cuz I Can’; plus singles `U + Ur Hand’ and her Butch Walker co-scribed `Leave Me Alone (I’m Alone)’ – but not so much on hit `Who Knew’ – left behind any Britney traits at the proverbial front door.
Featuring her first solo transatlantic No.1 smash; the feisty fist-pumping `So What’, 2008’s equally-transcending FUNHOUSE {*7} was her “divorce” album. The fact she and Carey only separated for a year and duly renewed their vows was probably irrelevant, but they did have their first baby; a daughter Willow Hart, in June 2011; P!NK had a miscarriage the previous November. Her pains and emotional rollercoaster ride were more than apparent back in 2008, but as break-up albums go (DYLAN’s “Blood On The Tracks”, RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSON’s “Shoot Out The Lights” and MARVIN GAYE’s “Here, My Dear” come to mind), she probably came of age with hit songs `Sober’, `Please Don’t Leave Me’, `I Don’t Believe You’, `Glitter In The Rain’ and the title track.
If P!NK’s intention was to help us forget an ageing MADONNA, then the colourful one’s round-up, “Greatest Hits… So Far!!!”, went a long way to reflect the OTT obnoxious similarities the pair possessed; prime examples were the previously unreleased and now exclusive bonus big ticket items, `Raise Your Glass’ and `F**kin’ Perfect’.
When LaFace Records moved aside for R.C.A., P!NK’s next multi-platinum album, THE TRUTH ABOVE LOVE (2012) {*7}, saw her work with producers Max Martin, Greg Kurstin, Dan Wilson and Butch Walker. Bolstered by monster hits, `Blow Me (One Last Kiss)’, `Try’ and `Just Give Me A Reason’ (the latter ballad with FUN.’s Nate Ruess), there were also cameos for Brit LILY ALLEN on `True Love’ and the more eminent EMINEM on `Here Comes The Weekend’.
A subsequent year-long tour in 2013 culminated in P!NK’s decision to drop further solo aspirations to allow her inner acoustic self to evolve with CITY AND COLOURS’s Dallas Green under the YOU+ME banner. Their country-folk set, “rose ave” (2014), was a critical hit or miss, but it brought about her return, albeit sporadically, on solo hit singles, `Today’s The Day’ (her contribution to The Ellen DeGeneres Show), `Just Like Fire’ (from the spring 2016 film, Alice Through The Looking Glass), her KENNY CHESNEY Top 30 duet, `Setting The World On Fire’, and with relatively unknowns, Stargate, on hit minor UK entry, `Waterfall’. She was now also mother-of-two when she gave birth to son, Jameson Moon.
All the above and more led to her long-awaited chart-busting solo comeback, BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA (2017) {*6}; but first came her politically-pointed `What About Us’ hit single. Both nominated for Grammys (not her first by any stretch), critics were now rounding on her formulaic approach; some branding her an icy diva. Among other help, she’d hired Jack Antonoff, though he was absent from further middling hits, `Revenge’ and the title track.
Despite her recent lack of critical acumen, P!NK, about to turn 40, still managed to turn heads and chalk up yet another transatlantic chart-topper in HURTS 2B HUMAN (2019) {*6}. Stepping out with the explicitly-charged rock’n’roll dance number, `Hustle’, the album generally hit high points when in collaborative mode: mainly on the back-to-back triumvirate showcasing Wrabel on `90 Days’, KHALID for the title track and Cash Cash for `Can We Pretend’; the other joint effort stemmed from the CHRIS STAPLETON-enhanced `Love Me Anyway’. The SEAN PAUL-ish `(Hey Why) Miss You Sometime’ might well’ve been chosen as single fodder, though `Walk Me Home’ – penned with Nate Ruess – reached Top 50; Top 10 in Britain.
© MC Strong/MCS 2002-2006/GRD // rev-up MCS Nov2019

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