P!nk was packaged as just another pop princess on her first album Can't Take Me Home, got disgusted with the way she was being marketed, and went out and got one of my heroes and hers, 4 Non Blondes' Linda Perry, to slap everyone silly on her sophomore album, M!ssundaztood. Her third album, Try This, sold badly and she herself has spoken negatively about it, but there are some great songs there - "Trouble," "God is a DJ," "Catch Me While I'm Sleeping."
But her fourth album, I'm Not Dead, is going to blow everything else she ever did right out of the water. If this isn't P!nk's year, I'll eat this blog. And if that means my indie/alt street cred gets flushed down the toilet, I really don't care. If this foul-mouthed, smart, badass gets even one teenaged girl to ditch the "itty bitty doggies and the teeny weeny tees" and take karate or something, then it's worth it. If I had a daughter I'd not only want her to have P!nk as a role model, I wouldn't mind one little bit if she actually grew up to BE P!nk.
"Stupid Girls," the first single and video from the album, is something I'd like to have piped into the bedroom of every girl in America, although I don't actually have to arrange that, as they seem to be listening to it on their own. "Dear Mr. President" is unabashedly melodic, lyrical, and political - and not for those who like George Dubya, with its shout-out to Cindy Sheehan and backup harmonies from the Indigo Girls; I loved it.
The other single/video release, "U+Ur Hand," harkens back to the subversive dance floor P!nk of M!ssundaztood:
Keep your drink
Just give me the money
It's just U + Ur hand tonight...
You're high fivin' and talkin' shit
But you're going home alone tonight - aren't ya?
Pure rock-pop: "Who Knew," the anthemic "Long Way to Happy," the heartbreaker "Nobody Knows," "I'm Not Dead."
I'm also trying to wrap my brain around the number of people on Amazon who reviewed this album negatively because of the lyrics to the rock/dancey "'Cuz I Can" and the R&Bish "I Got Money Now." I think the schools of America need to teach Sarcasm 101 or something.
I didn't love every single song on I'm Not Dead. I could have lived without "The One That Got Away," P!nk's homage to Janis Joplin. The lyrics are pretty witty, but didn't Melissa Etheridge corner the market on being the reincarnation of Janis already? And I'm maybe too old for "Conversations With My 13-Year-Old Self," but that probably won't dimish its impact on P!nk's main audience, girls far closer to those hormonal and tragic days than I.
Long story short: I'm Not Dead is tight, raw, mean, warm, sexy, and smart. Just like P!nk.
PS: For the two people out there who admit to liking dance music, I also have the remixes of "Stupid Girls," one of the very small number of songs I like enough to pay ten bucks for three remixes of. Noize Trip Remix is better IMO than the album version, and about the same three-minute length. The Junior Vasquez & Dynamix Club Remix could be less synthy and more percussive, but I love what they did with her vocal, and it may win the award for "most times the word 'fuck' appears in a song not about sex in the history of dance music." (Oh shit, did I say "dance music"? Is that allowed on this site?) I was kind of cool on the D-Bop at Crash Mix at first, but it heats up a lot in the middle, so I did too. It's not on iTunes, at least not yet, so you'll have to buy the whole CD; start saving your allowance. Long story short: For dance music and serious P!nk fans only, but we'll love it.