MUSIC: P!nk’s “The Truth About Love”, Initial Thoughts
October 15, 2012
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I picked up a copy of P!nk‘s newest album, The Truth About Love, recently and have been listening to it quite a bit. My thoughts after the jump…
Every album I connect with, it takes time. Often, a few tracks stick out to me while the rest fade back like wallpaper, forcing me to spend a few weeks with an album before I have a concrete opinion on each track. A week in, of the seventeen tracks on the Deluxe edition, three have stood out as pretty good tracks:
- “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”, her first single on the album, was actually the reason I picked it up. I stumbled upon the track on YouTube and Songza, and thought it was a very listenable track. The emotions are clear and sympathetic and P!nk‘s trademark bite-with-heart style is all over it. It’s very much in the vein of one of my favourites off her last album, “So What?”, if much less angry.
- “Slut Like You” is actually my favourite track on the album. Ballsy and effortlessly fun, P!nk seems to enjoy every moment of this anthem to hook-up culture, which works both as a celebrating of sexuality and a reminder to men that the truth is, there are just as many sex-focused women as there are men. It’s not confident male ‘players’ and desperate female ‘sluts’, as music often portrays the genders’ approach to sex: as P!nk makes very clear to the men she’s singing at, men are just as much sluts as the women they’re pursuing, and women can be just as happy using men for sex as men are using women. I love these confident sexual anthems from both sides of the gender line, but this one’s refreshing in its attempts to fight back against misogyny, rather than bathe in it. P!nk also gives her best performance of the album here, with a consistent tone of excitement and fun, and giving a genuinely funny and realistic acting performance on a brief spoken-word aside. This is one I’ve been spamming on the past few days, and might enter the P!nk canon for me alongside “Centerfold” and “U + Ur Hand”.
- Bonus track “Good Old Days”, meanwhile, is a completely different beast altogether, much more like last album’s “Sober”: P!nk looking at her life from a mature and steady perspective as she gets older and takes stock of what she’s got. While “Sober” was a somber cry for help, “Good Old Days” is a little piece of joy as she acknowledges the good in her life, exploring the idea that she’s going to look back on this period of her life as one of the best. I have a feeling this is going to be one of my songs of this autumn; listening to this while walking around downtown Toronto in the evening chill provoked a smile and a deeper enjoyment of the season from me.
The rest of the album hasn’t really left a mark. Her last album, Funhouse, tended to get cheesy or cloying in the emotional parts, or ridiculous in its attempts at over-the-top humour. Her style doesn’t really work with ballads or sad love songs, as she tends to get bogged down in wordy and awkward lyrics that feel clunky rather than moving. “How Come You’re Not Here”, track #6, falls into this pit. The lyrics for tracks like “The Truth About Love” don’t quite hit their mark, shallowly telling the story intended but not with the wit or rhythm intended. “True Love” and “Here Comes the Weekend” feel overproduced to the point of sonic assault, particularly the latter, with a gratuitous guest appearance by Eminem. And “Are We All We Are” might improve with a few more listens, but right now it’s muddy and over-energetic, with hard to catch lyrics preventing an emotional connection to the song. The rest of the tracks might improve as I marinate on them, and even the above clunkers may reveal hidden depths or power as I dig into the album, but my initial feeling is that the album is a few great tracks surrounded by a moat of filler. Two of the better tracks, though still somewhat mediocre, have been relegated to the iTune Store Deluxe (“Timebomb”, generally messy but with a great emotional performance on the chorus) and the Japanese edition (“The King Is Dead But the Queen Is Alive”, with a strong performance weakened by shaky lyrics).
Compared to Funhouse, which often mixed real fun and heart with cloying cliche and head-scratching attempts at humour, The Truth About Love is less clear and focused. For right or ill, Funhouse kept its heart on its sleeve with accessible lyrics and a focus on the words, while I’ve found Truth practically impenetrable on a few occasions. Too bad, as when it’s good, it’s quite good.