P!nk is a singer notorious for her punk rock aesthetic and no care attitude, a singer who recruited her ex-husband for a music video and seemingly redefined what it meant to be a popstar. This P!nk is sorrowfully absent in her latest album Beautiful Trauma.
When I first pressed play on this album, I had high hopes for what the songstress had in store. Am I the biggest fan of P!nk? No. But, one thing is clear about her musical efforts in the past — from the grittiest pop rock songs to the slowest piano ballads — P!nk is somehow in your face. With that knowledge nestled inside of my brain, I was ready for some explosive material. Her last studio album, The Truth About Love, was released over five years ago, and while it was by no means her best venture, it still had its handful of rockstar-esque tracks. This was P!nk’s opportunity to make a comeback statement, to tell the haters who have since forgotten her, “I’m not done yet.” Sadly, what I received was a simmering pot of boring, formulaic pop songs performed by the shell of a once exuberant pop star.
P!nk essentially fails on every level to captivate her audience, instead focusing more on the potential of radio play. Working with songwriters such as Jack Antonoff of Bleachers fame, it is not hard to imagine why all her songs fall victim to this ploy. “What About Us,” the lead single off of this album, is so washed out, so unexciting and so ordinary, that it is hard to imagine that it was even sung by P!nk in the first place. This was my first tip off that this album would be a let down, however, this tip off was quickly reinforced when I let the first track play.
“Beautiful Trauma” is a pretty standard and rather boring opener, especially with an artist such as P!nk. After initially hearing this track, a standard pop song topped with choppy piano chords, I actually had to revisit some of her previous openers. It simply seemed so unlike P!nk to allow such a bland track to start her album off. Sure enough, as I reviewed her discography, I noticed a pattern of aggressive, ear-catching openers in all of her albums… except for this one.
The pattern continued from there. While I did appreciate the track “Revenge,” which was by far her most P!nk-like attempt on this record, Eminem’s assistance on the song absolutely abolished the bite that it originally had. I truthfully paused the track to laugh at his deep, nasally half-singing/half-rapping performance, and from that point, I did not really consider the song in the same light that I once had. In fact, any hopes of P!nk getting down and dirty on this album are tarnished nearly immediately by repetitive song topics and lyrics that simply make no sense. On the track “Secrets,” she even rhymes “truth” with “do do do do-do,” and on the opening track, declares her love interest “the nightmare [she’s] waking.” In truth, the majority of this album is packed tight with heartbroken half-ballads and cliche lyrics about a nameless lover who has broken her heart. Instead of focusing on that “we’re all gonna start a fight” side of P!nk that helped so many listeners move past heartbreak in their lives, she appears to backpedal completely and focus more on how hopeless everything really is. Even the song ironically titled “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” is about how sad she is. HOW???
Despite this album’s lack of backbone and actual excitement, there are a few areas I can commend P!nk on. It is no secret that P!nk is an amazing vocalist. If this were not true, she would not be as idolized as she is today. Her power vocals are apparent on a few of these tracks, namely “You Get My Love” and “I Am Here.” I also commend P!nk for generally having the courage to return to the limelight after five years of absence. That alone merits applause, especially in today’s ultra-critical society.
As a whole, most of the songs on this album are not terrible, but they are not P!nk. Numerous times on this album, I found songs that seemed better suited for a washed out, boring pop star, such as Katy Perry (“Secrets”), or perhaps songs that simply needed that little bit of flare to bring things to life (“Barbies”). I did not despise this album, regardless of how cynical this review may have seemed. In truth, I might of actually loved this album if it was not such an ode to heartbreak and sorrows. I am giving this album a 5 out of 10, simply because P!nk falls short on every aspect except for her vocals, and in the end, we already knew she could sing. All I hope is that if P!nk decides to hibernate for another five years, she returns with something a little more aggressive in the future.
Article and screenshot by Zach Zoeller, Staff Marketing Manager