Hey party starters! I'm Sam Lansky, and this is "Pop Think," my weekly column about pop music, pop culture and Pop Rocks. (Well, not the last one.) This week's subject? The one and only Pink, who's back and ballsier than ever with her new single, "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)." It's a promising return to form for the pop-rocker, who's always been one of the more compelling figures in the pop music landscape: audacious, fearless and viciously outspoken, Pink's attitude is matched only by her talent. So what if she's now a married mom? She's still a rock star -- and now, gearing up for her first new LP in four years, The Truth About Love (due out Sept. 18), I think it's only fair to expect another album of refreshingly candid pop-rock.
There aren't many artists whose careers have been as much of a sheer joy to follow as Pink, whose music alternates between celebratory and revelatory (and sometimes both). No matter what kind of song she's tackling, Pink paints a picture of a brutally honest, warts-and-all songwriter and performer. Whether she's celebrating her imperfections, going through a breakup or criticizing the president, Pink doesn't hide her skeletons in the closet. She leaves them out in broad daylight, where they're on full display. And sharing her inner mechanisms, triumphs, trials and tribulations has made her far easier to relate to than most other pop stars. That authenticity was front and center in 2002's Missundaztood (which remains one of my top 5 pop albums of the last decade), which traded the canned urban-pop beats of her debut album for sharply produced pop-rock with notes of haunting vulnerability. Accordingly, Pink always rises above the fray, which I believe has something to do with an emotional realness that's anti-commercial in its ferocity.
Rough around the edges in all the right ways, each of her songs has enough distinctive Pink flavor that it could never come from any other pop star. Her sound is more vengeful than Kelly Clarkson and not as bratty as Avril Lavigne. And she's known for a flair for big production that most of her contemporaries would never go for. As a result, Pink's music packs major commercial appeal but never loses that tough-girl swagger that keeps her from sounding vanilla -- even after five studio albums, a greatest hits album punctuated by an anthemic Dr. Luke-produced single, and her latest single.
+ Read more about Pink's new single and her unique role in pop music after the jump.