tue 21/11/2017

CD: P!nk - Beautiful Trauma | reviews, news & interviews

CD: P!nk - Beautiful Trauma

CD: P!nk - Beautiful Trauma

Seventh album from US star fails to go beyond the now ubiquitous self-empowerment anthemic

Alecia Moore stops for some gas

P!nk is a likably gobby superstar who has consistently maintained her position at the top of the pop tree for an impressive 17 years. Amping up her feisty one-of-the-boys persona, she’s been a template for a generation of girl-pop stars who followed. Her live shows are eye-wowing circus events, setting the bar high for stadium gigs of any type.

Unfortunately, though, her seventh album is a fizzle, rather than a firework. In a year when both Katy Perry and Kesha have put out albums containing a decent share of gems – not to mention the extraordinary Lemonade from Beyoncé last year – Beautiful Trauma’s preditably constructed empowerment songs simply aren’t strong enough.

With the usual who’s who of super-producers appearing, notably Max Martin, the default position throughout is wailing ballads that explode into giant lighter-waving anthems and/or acoustic guitar-flecked tropical house stodge. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was a distinct sense of identity. P!nk, after all, is not short of character. There are some stinking lines on board, too. Top of the pile are “I wanna know where does love go to die/Is it some sad empty castle in the sky?” from “But We Lost It”, or how about “I wish I could go back to playing Barbies in my room/They never say that you’ve got to grow up quite this soon” from “Barbies”.

P!nk's voice is, as ever, a rousing rhythm'n'blues belt, and there are a couple of dynamite tracks too. “Revenge”, the new single, rides a low-slung organ funk and is witty, sassy, and boosted by a typically snappy guest turn from Eminem. “Secrets” is even better. Vaguely in the vein of Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish”, it's hung on a sturdy house pulse and has a fine sing-along chorus. Finally, and although it’s not to my taste, the closing ballad “You Get My Love”, a stark piano’n’vocals affair, is quite a thing.

The charts are currently full of new young women’s self-empowerment fare – Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie, Maggie Lindemann, etc – and while none of them has P!nk’s charisma or attitude, her new album blends too easily into their samey oeuvre.

Overleaf: Listen to "Revenge" by P!nk featuring Eminem

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