I believe Pink has been listening to a lot of Freddie Mercury lately. There are certain moments in her new album, I’m Not Dead, that caused me to furrow my brow and rewind in case I’d heard wrong. First, it was the chorus to the title track, I’m Not Dead: “I’m not dead just floating.” The punctuated, tentative high pitch of the delivery screamed Freddie Mercury to me but then I thought maybe I was just crazy. On comes “‘Cuz I Can” with high pitched faux-Classical style backing vocals that include “Ice Cream Ice Cream We All Want Ice Cream” and “Ruff Ruff Ruff” (which was preceded by the line “I’m trying to school you dog.” Now I know I’m not crazy … and I know I freakin’ â™¥heartâ™¥ Pink.
My love of Pink is not new it’s true but I really thought I had gotten over it. I came reluctantly to Mizunderstood. At the time I saw Pink as another R&B Britney wanna-be … with cooler hair. But the more I learned about her – the fact that she actually skateboarded – and the more songs that came off Mizunderstood, the more I was hooked. It’s catchy shit y’all … and more importantly, the lyrics had a sense of integrity that no one was getting from Britney or Christina or Jessica Simpson. “Everyday I fight a war against the mirror” – hello? what teenager girl hasn’t?
Then Pink came out with Try This – which was partially produced and written by none other than Mr. Hot Influential Punk Rocker with a Chipped Tooth, Tim Armstrong. I could hear the Tim Armstrong influence in the ska guitar strums on “Last to Know” and the rock beat (and rockness) on many of the other songs. That really solidified things for me. Pink freakin’ knew who Tim Armstrong was! And wanted to work with him! (Something tells me that Baby Face – owner of her record label – wasn’t standing in line to work with Tim Armstrong.) Plus she was dating MotoCrosser Carrie Hart. All this added up to cool in my book. And I got myself and many a friend through break ups with “Walk Away.”
But then Pink disappeared and aside from the occasional listen to “Walk Away” on Break-Up mixes I’d made for others , I didn’t really notice. At one point, I think I saw the video for her first single off I’m Not Dead, “Stupid Girls,” and heard the first booty shaking beats and thought “ugg.” Then I saw a live performance of “Dear Mr. President” on Fuse and it was amazing. “What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?” Who hasn’t asked that question? (Besides Dubya of course) However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was, while standing in line at the grocery store, hearing a familiar catchy song (“Who Knew”) and realizing that Pink was singing it. That was it. Three strikes, I’m hooked so I bought the record off iTunes.
The first thing I noticed when the songs downloaded was that “Dear Mr. President” featured the Indigo Girls. The Indigo Girls. How amazingly awesome is that? In fact, on Pink’s Official MySpace page she lists the Indigo Girls as an influence … as well as Bad Religion!
I accidentally had my iPod on shuffle for my first listen to I’m Not Dead and the first song to come on was “I Have Seen the Rain” featuring none other than her father! She introduces the song by saying her father brought it back from Vietnam and it was the first song she learned how to sing and harmonize with. See? Awesome.
I gave “Stupid Girls” another try too and it surprised me. It’s beat is booty-shakingly catchy – which I can handle some of the time – but it’s the lyrics that were so pleasantly unexpected. It half parodizes the Paris Hilton-esque female celebrity (“They travel in packs of two or three with their itsy bitsy doggies and teeny weeny tees”) and expresses a desire for something better (“Outcasts and girls with ambition that’s what I want to see.”) And the video is hilarious! Seriously, though, it gives me hope to see celebrities – especially celebrities who are speaking directly to young girls – expressing their political beliefs in general and these particular beliefs.
Mostly, I give Pink a lot of credit for honestly expressing relationship issues from a female perspective. Too often us ladies are the spoken too not speaking. A while ago I had a conversation with a friend and it turned to the politics of our relationships with liberal (and awesome) guys. She related an incident in which they went out to a club and her guy pointed out a girl dressed to the nines. He said he hated girls like that because they never talked to him. She looked at him quizzically, “She’s just here to have a good time with her friends.” Perhaps Pink says it best in her song “U + Ur Hand:“
You don’t really want to mess with me tonight
Just stop and take a second
I was fine before you walked into my life
Cause you know it’s over
Before it began
Keep your drink just give me the money
It’s just you and your hand tonight
Amen to that.
After listening to the whole album I really felt a kinship with Pink. I wanted to go out and have a drink with her … even though I’m pretty sure that she could drink me under the table.* So who â™¥heartsâ™¥ Pink? Me!
*Note: This is not a good litmus test for electing a president …