Pink – Beautiful Trauma

“Controversial opinion: this is best Pink song in years.”

Tom: I’m embedding the audio version because I don’t want the video to colour your view of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great (and risqué, and uncensored) video, but to me this track stands really well on its own.

Tom: Controversial opinion: this is best Pink song in years, and (for me at least) one of the best tracks of the year. Calm intro, driving verse, incredible chorus. I’ve had this on repeat, several times in a row; it takes a lot for a song to do that to me.

Tim: You’re not far off there – certainly a damn good track, though the slight disjointedness of it spoils it a bit for me, travelling jarringly so often between gentle piano and rock chorus.

Tom: There’s one other thing I want to talk about today, though: the official videos for this are all the uncensored, f-bomb-filled versions, and they’re not labelled as explicit. I think this may be a sign of a tipping point — it’s just accepted that pop songs are going to have swearing now, and if you don’t like it… well, you can deal with it.

Tim: Agh, bloody kids of today, no morals or standards.

Tom: Also worth noting: Pink, singing live, while dancing sideways on the outside of a hotel a dozen stories in the air. For me, that was actually jaw-dropping.

Tim: Okay, yeah, I’ll give you that. That is good.

Pink – What About Us

“It’s still a bit odd”

Tom: First single from the new album. And it didn’t originally make any sense to me…

Tom: …but then I found out it’s co-written with half of Snow Patrol, and it all clicked together.

Tim: Hmm – it’s still a bit odd for me. The weird thing is, that’s a fantastic vocal line from her, and a fantastic Swedish House Mafia style dance tune as a backing. Together, though, they don’t mix so well, and for me this really doesn’t work.

Tom: This isn’t just a plain Pink track — it seemed like it was missing something a bit, well, a bit kick-ass for a first single. But if this were advertised as “Pink feat. Half Of Snow Patrol”, then I’d have got this on first listen.

Tim: Maybe you’re right, but it’s kind of like the co-writing process has gone horribly wrong – they’ve said “right, here’s the key, here’s the tempo”, then gone away and written their parts without much collaboration.

Tom: I mean, it’s no “Just Give Me A Reason”, or “Perfect”, or… well, it’s not a great first single is what I’m saying. But even a Pink album track is still a pretty good track.

Tim: Pretty good…yeah, okay, I’ll give you a pretty good track. But it’s also half two brilliant tracks.

Stargate – Waterfall feat. Pink, Sia

“…oh. Really disappointing.”

Tom: Yep, you’re reading that right. Stargate finally decided to get their own credit instead of just producing other people’s songs, so this must be a banger. And they’ve got two of the greatest contemporary female vocalists to perform on it. This is going to be…

Tom: …oh. Really disappointing.

Tim: Isn’t it just? So much potential, and yet I get so little from it.

Tom: I mean, the video’s amazing, freefall dance is something that hasn’t had much exposure, and it’s shot beautifully. But what’s with everything else?

“I’m in your waterfall”. Yes. We get it. We got it by about thirty seconds in, with that bizarre choice to half-sing, half-mutter the last line of the endlessly repetitive chorus, as if no-one could be bothered with it. Stargate featured these incredible singers, and this is what they ask them to perform?

Tim: It’s little short of bizarre, really – not least that Sia and Pink got behind the microphones and thought “yep, I want to sing this”. It’s not terrible, it’s just really, really not using what’s there.

Tom: And as for all the guff behind the vocals: well, can I suggest that Stargate are much better at production than they are at picking songs to release?

Tim: Yes, yes you can. And you should.

Pink feat. Nate Ruess – Just Give Me A Reason

I recommend hitting ‘play’ and then just closing your eyes.

Tim: Like this, do you?

Tom: Yes, I know, I’m a Pink fan, I’m biased.

Tim: But not enough of a fan to write her name properly, I notice. HMMM?

Tom: If ridiculous name-styling gets in the way of writing things clearly, then I’ll happily get rid of it. Anyway, yes, the new album’s bloody amazing. And the best track off it, by a long way, is the Big Emotional Ballad. Oh, and it’s got a lyric video, but it’s much better without: I recommend hitting ‘play’ and then just closing your eyes.

Tim: Okay, I didn’t close my eyes. And I noticed the weirdest thing ever. Well, not ever, obviously, but it’s bloody odd: the apostrophes in the “you’re” and “we’re” at 2:33 and 3:40 are far too high, unlike any of the others. Anyway, music.

Tom: “We’re not broken, just bent, and we can learn to love again.” Isn’t that gorgeous?

Tim: Yes, it is. Can’t disagree with you there.

Tom: The male voice is Nate Ruess – and if he sounds familiar, it’s because he’s better known as the lead singer of Fun.

Tim: AGAIN with the names, blimey – it’s written as fun., please.

Tom: That’s still bloody ridiculous. It’s a little odd that he’s singing in mostly the same vocal range as Pink, but once that oddity slides by, this is just a beautiful track. Piano and drumkit, simple melodies, simple chorus.

Tim: You know, I think we had pretty much exactly the same thoughts going on whilst listening to that song. It’s a lovely song.

Tom: I’m a sucker for Big Emotional Ballads, if they’re done well – and for me, at least, this track made me pause the album for a while to (metaphorically at least) get my breath back.

Tim: And it almost made me not want to be annoying with my name-pedantry up there. Almost.

Pink – Blow Me (One Last Kiss)

This might be the best track she’s put out in a long time.

Tom: You will recall from previous posts that I’m a bit of a Pink fan.

Tim: I do.

Tom: I always try to put biases like that aside for new singles from artists I like – but I think this might be the best track she’s put out in a long time.

Tim: Hmm…possibly, though if you’re saying it with that much certainty I suggest you go back and listen to Perfect one last time in case you’ve forgotten it.

Tom: Or, at least, the best track that doesn’t fall into the “reducing teenage girls to tears” category.

Tim: Okay, yes.

Tom: No goddamn silly “improvised” talking parts like in So What or Raise Your Glass. It’s a proper fists-in-the-air anthem. Listen to that goddamn chorus.

Tim: Oh, please – yes, it’s a good chorus, but So What is totally a fists-in-the-air anthem, although it’s also angry enough to be a fists-in-the-face anthem.

Tom: Not entirely sure the swearing in the second part of the chorus works – good luck censoring that, radio – and it’s not got as much of the singalong quality that So What had, but to hell with it. She’s back on form, and if this is any bellwether, then the new album’s going to be brilliant.

Tim: Agree with your views on the song alone; less so in comparison to the rest of her output. It is properly good.

Pink – Fuckin’ Perfect

What a track. And what a video.

Tom: How can she do it? This is Pink, the same Pink who recently charted with the laughing party-song irritating-vocal-interruption-filled Raise Your Glass. And now she’s released a song that’s going to make a generation of misunderstood teenagers cry.

Genuine warning here: this is the uncensored video, which includes sex and some fairly brutal images of self-harm. Any of our readers who’ve been through similar things may not want them brought back into their memory – which does question if showing them, and almost glamorising them, in a pop video is really the right thing to do.

Tom: With all that said: what a track. And what a video.

Tim: Indeed. And you think it’s glamorising it? The whole message of the song is don’t do this – you’re perfect, so ignore the people that make you feel otherwise. “Done looking for the critics, cause they’re everywhere…why do we do that?” The whole song is a powerful spirit-lifter – you should listen to it when you’re feeling shit.

Tom: As for the music: the only thing that I don’t like in here is the ‘pretty pretty please’ bit, but I can’t really ding it any points just because a few words annoy me. It’s very much a Song With A Message, and a fairly simple one at that, which normally would cause all the cynical parts of my brain to rise up in disgust… but somehow that didn’t happen.

Tim: It’s because it’s not just a Song With A Message that anyone can do – there’s a real feeling that here, it’s personal, it’s coming from inside Pink herself, and that makes it so much more powerful that it otherwise would be.

Tom: And I think it’s because, hell, it’s Pink – and she has that amazing voice that can go between ‘loud and anthemic’ and ‘deep and emotional’ in a split second. This might well be her new concert-ender. It deserves to be.

Pink – Raise Your Glass

There are many things wrong with this.

Tom: Stop everything. It’s a new Pink single.

Tom: I’ll freely admit to being a Pink fan. I saw her perform live at the Wireless Festival, and it was one of the best shows I’ve seen. She sang, quite clearly live, while spinning on aerial silks without a safety net. In her grand finale, she swooped above the crowd on a custom-designed winched harness. It was brilliant.

This new single? Well, there are many things wrong with this. It starts slowly, and the verses – with sparse kick drum and guitar behind them – feel like they need a lot more. The lyrics irritate me: “what’s the deal-i-o”, “if you’re too school for cool”, and “don’t be fancy / just get dancey” are all dire. And the spoken mock-interjections that she’s prone to will grate more and more every time I hear it, like the horrible ‘check my flow / uh’ that blights the middle of ‘So What’.

Tim: I don’t mind most of those things, although you’re definitely right about fancy/dancey, and the interjections do go on a bit. My main issue, though, is that there’s not enough singing in it – the chorus is okay, but the verses seem to have only a very vague sense of tune, with her voice hardly varying and it just seems like a half-hearted rap that she can’t really be bothered with.

Tom: But the chorus… well, the chorus nearly makes up for it. A stadium crowd chanting ‘Raise your glass’ all at once will make this song worthwhile – but this definitely ain’t another ‘U + Ur Hand’.

Tim: No – although looking at her past efforts she does seem to go for quantity over quality, hoping that some will stick. Of the twenty six songs she’s put out over the past ten years, I think I like about seven, yet I would still say I like her music. She’ll come out with a good one soon enough.

As for that video: I think – I think – she might be trying to tell us something, and that maybe everybody’s different and it’s a good thing. That’s just a guess, though – it might be something else completely. Oh wait, actually, no it isn’t something else. And she’s not telling us, she’s SCREAMING IT AT US UNTIL WE BLOODY WELL LISTEN.

On the other hand, getting annoyed with the whole PSA-ness of it all does make it a little easier to listen to the song.