Pink resur­faces with a slick and gloomy new CD

El Dorado News-Times - - Fun & Games -

Things are not as per­fect as they might seem in the land of Pink. The three-time Grammy win­ner may have loads of money, two kids and an 11-year mar­riage, but her new al­bum is filled with un­ease and re­gret.

"Freeze frame, pause, rewind, stop," she sings on "Beau­ti­ful Trauma," a 13-track CD that taps into what could be called soc­cer mom angst. Suc­cess hasn't made Pink hap­pier: "Now I'm here and all I wanna do/ Is go back to play­ing Bar­bies in my room."

It's a care­fully cu­rated, slick al­bum of bitter songs from a singer re­turn­ing to pop after five years away. She's usu­ally an icon of em­pow­er­ment and strength, but here seems de­feated. Among the mis­steps is a duet with Eminem that sounds like it was re­jected five years ago when the pair last col­lab­o­rated and the dance song "Se­crets" that makes Pink sound like Kylie Minogue, only more va­pid.

Pink is 38 now and the mu­sic land­scape has changed. (Fergie can prob­a­bly com­mis­er­ate, hav­ing found her­self on other side of 40 with her own messy al­bum come­back.) Bad love is Pink's thing now, even though Lorde and Halsey seem to have the cor­ner on con­fes­sional pop.

Pink's voice is bet­ter than ever, and she's leaned on A-list pro­duc­ers — in­clud­ing Greg Kurstin, Max Martin and Jack Antonoff — but this is ba­si­cally a breakup al­bum from a woman in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship. If there's any so­cial com­men­tary it is too muted.

Many songs seem as if she just woke up and re­al­ized the guy next to her is a to­tal creep. Yet the liner notes thanks hus­band Carey Hart as "my muse and my love" and "You are the rock that we cling to."

In "What­ever You Want" she warns "I feel like our ship's going down tonight." The ti­tle song has her call­ing her lover "per­fect rock bot­tom" and "the night­mare I wake in." An­other song has her singing: "We had a thing but we lost it." (The al­bum's lis­ten­ing party must be a lit­tle tense at Pink's house).

"Beau­ti­ful Trauma" has plenty of swelling strings and a choir, slow piano mo­ments meant to be mean­ing­ful, oc­ca­sional swear­ing to keep it real for the kids and ut­ter mu­si­cal bom­bast, al­most ven­tur­ing into Meat Loaf's op­er­atic self-in­dul­gence.

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