By Hayden Wright
When P!nk burst onto the pop music landscape, she stood out from a crowd of (mostly blonde) female pop stars whose sound and style felt—in a word—repetitive. P!nk faced that homogony head-on in lyrics on gritty, self-aware anthems like “Stupid Girls” and “Don’t Let Me Get Me.” Since those early days of the 21st century, P!nk has marched to the beat of her own drum, true to her signature, rock-inflected pop sound. And this still holds true with her latest release Beautiful Trauma.
In a sense, she’s skated past the pressure of being the World’s Biggest Pop Star, a mantle nobody assumes for very long. Instead she’s maintained her position in the pop Pantheon by virtue of heart-shattering ballads and balls-to-the-wall party songs. P!nk’s catalog is a showcase of strength: The strength of her voice, the strength of her will, the strength of her impulses, convictions, regrets and disappointments. And let’s not forget her physical strength, immortalized in iconic live performances.
Hers is the music of major-key bar fights and messy breakups, wrapped in self-acceptance and brazen nonconformity. On Beautiful Trauma, P!nk’s seventh studio album (and first in five years), the singer promises more excellent P!nk songs—with all the debauchery and tenderness those words entail. “I cant believe it’s been 5 years,” she told Karen Carson and Jeffrey Jameson for Radio.com. “I never stopped writing, I’ve been writing the whole time. When I got off tour I maybe took 6 months.”
The power chord of heartbreak runs through the single “What About Us” and the title track “Beautiful Trauma,” which she said was a no brainer to call the album as a whole.
“I always try to have a song title be the album title. When that line in the song was written I was like, “Oh that makes perfect sense.” That’s my life, its my husband, its myself, the world. I think that life is really traumatic but I also think it’s full of beauty and nature and beautiful people and laughter and love.”
On the album, P!nk says she steered clear of weepy ballads in favor of more high-energy songs. “There was no other goal than to not have an album full of slow, sad songs, because that’s all I had for a while,” she said. “And I just wanted to record better than I have before. I’ve never been that great of a recorder, [I’ve always been] better live.”
And nearly two decades into her career and as a mother of two, P!nk seems game to embrace the part of role model and has hopes for how the music can shape the the world.
“Music brings people together. I love music, I love what I do. When I look at who’s on my stage with me it’s my family and we all look very different from each other and we get along swimmingly and it all works. And that’s what I want the world to be.”
Beautiful Trauma, debuts Friday October 13 in stores and on streaming services.