A few music writers, terminally sick of boy bands and underage dance-pop juggernauts, have leapt to declare Pink the first sign of a changing of the guard in the teen-pop regime. I'm not so sure, if only because Pink (aka 22-year-old Philadephian Alecia Moore) has never seemed all that teen-pop to me: despite her youth and her way with a hook, her debut, 2000's Can't Take Me Home, is closer to straight-up R & B than to Britney and 'N Sync's made-in-Sweden fluff. And though last year's Missundaztood (Arista) is even catchier, the point of comparison still isn't "damn Britney Spears," despite the fact that Pink bitches about being likened to her in the second single, "Don't Let Me Get Me" (by whom, I wonder?). It makes more sense to invoke Alanis Morissette: sonically the album brings to mind the alternative rock dressed up as high-gloss pop that dominated radio in the early and mid-90s. (This doubtless reflects the influence of Pink's new writing partner, Linda Perry, former leader of alt-rock annoyances 4 Non Blondes.) Granted, the outrageously euphoric first single, "Get the Party Started," blows away every Max Martin creation ever (well, maybe not the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way"), but the really remarkable thing about Missundaztood is the strength of the confessional singer-songwriter stuff. "Don't Let Me Get Me" spells out Pink's self-hatred and her "war against the mirror" (though in the video she spends so much time in her underwear that you have to wonder how hard the mirror's fighting back); "Just Like a Pill," a swift, dead-on sketch of a bad relationship, is more self-assured, and less grammatically awkward, than anything Morissette has recorded. And "Family Portrait" is a surprisingly affecting broken-home melodrama--Pink promises not to fight with her brother if their father will come back. Friday, July 26, 7 PM, Tweeter Center, I-80 and Harlem, Tinley Park; 708-614-1616 or 312-559-1212.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Terry Richardson.