x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pink's The Truth About Love

It may be awkward in places, but Pink's infectious brand of pop still has some legs.

Pink performs in Munich last week as part of her The Truth About Love tour. Michaela Rehle / Reuters
Pink performs in Munich last week as part of her The Truth About Love tour. Michaela Rehle / Reuters

Pink
The Truth About Love
RCA
***

Pink, aka the Pennsylvania-born singer Alecia Beth Moore, has long comported herself with a certain amount of attitude. It's there in the impish exclamation mark that sometimes supplants the letter "i" in the stylised version of her name and it was there in her in-your-face 2001 single Get the Party Started, a song packing more zig-a-zig-ah than a whole rack of Spice Girls.

If her brattishness, lyrical chutzpah and seeming resistance to stylistic airbrushing made for an alternative yet mainstream pop star, songs such as Lonely Girl and Please Don't Leave Me were a reminder that even tomboys get the blues. Like her heroine Janis Joplin, Pink clearly knew that, when the wind drops, kites can plummet.

Album number six also occasionally reveals Pink's sensitive side. But for the most part, The Truth About Love packs garish, fiendishly catchy pop tunes that cement her image as the gal most likely to rattle cages. Age 33 and a mum to one-year-old daughter Willow Pink may be, but Here Comes the Weekend - a police siren-infused gem that's lit-up by guest Eminem's rap fireworks - picks up where the aforementioned Get the Party Started left off.

Depending on your age-group, the awkwardly titled opener Are We All We Are will likely thrill or annoy. Its crowd-noise intro, pitch-drop vocal effects and resistance-is-futile hooks crank up the tension, but this is immediately released by Beam Me Up, a country-folk ballad with a deftly wrought orchestration. The latter song highlights that, unlike her pop contemporaries Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, Pink has real versatility and can really sing.

Lily Allen's brief vocal contribution to the frothy True Love is idiosyncratic but somewhat superfluous-sounding. The Swedish hit-maker Max Martin has a hand in the powerful glam-rock update How Come You're Not Here. But to these ears, the album's best song is Just Give Me a Reason. A duet with Nate Ruess of the US indie-rock band Fun, it has something of that Michael Jackson vibe about it and when it drops to drums and vocals, the chorus is big enough to carry that weight.

Though the fine, positivity-infused Try and the slinky title track go some way towards delivering on the advice-column promise of the album's title, elsewhere Pink and / or her cowriters are guilty of some clunky lyrical constructions ("Sometimes I want to slap you on your whole face"; "Gonna keep you alive someday".) Ultimately, though, such peccadillos are forgivable and Pink's infectious if untidy pop still has legs.