I'm Not Dead Pink
CD Review by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter 5/2006
1. Stupid Girls 2. Who Knew 3. Long Way To Happy 4. Nobody Knows 5. Dear Mr. President
6. I'm Not Dead 7. 'Cuz I Can 8. Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely) 9. U + Ur Hand 10. Runaway
11. The One That Got Away 12. I Got Money Now 13. Conversations With My 13 Year Old Self
14. I Have Seen The Rain
Label: La Face / Release Date: April 4, 2006
So we have Pink in the Operating Room. Well, I've examined her a couple times before and came away with two very different opinions. Her first record, "Can't Take Me Home," was a typical, run-of-the-mill clone of every other R&B vocal album of its time. There was absolutely nothing original about it, and it was nothing but electronic dance trash - my opinion, of course. With her second release, "Missundaztood," she showed a raw energy and talent that was delivered through strong vocals and sharp songwriting. "Missundaztood" gave Pink her own personality. She was no longer an R&B/dance queen clone. A huge reason for the incredible improvement was due to the talents of her producer and co-songwriter, ex-4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry. She even had guests like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi making appearances on the album. For her third lp, "Try This," she proved that the Babyface-influenced days of electronic dance beats was gone for good. She had Tim Armstrong of the talented punk band Rancid help her with this one. Perry was also involved in writing three songs for this album also, along with a producer credit as well. You'll even find a co-writer and producer credit for Jonathan Davis of Korn on this one! Pink has come a long way, folks. So, here we are with another disc from the pop/rock tough chick; except this time we don't hear Tim Armstrong's name, or Linda Perry's name. Instead, she hires on Billy Mann and Max Martin, the latter being the genius behind waste like Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, to produce the core of the disc. The great Butch Walker is also credited as a co-songwriter and producer, but I gotta tell ya' - I'm still scared to death of this thing.
Track 1: "Stupid Girls" I must tell you, this isn't the first listen to this song. It's been impossible to avoid as of late. This first single is a huge hit for Pink, but I don't think that much of it. I think Pink is losing grip of her personality with this. She's becoming a Gwen Stefani clone. This song has a hook, but after that it's just another "Hollaback Girl" single. It really doesn't have that raw edge that makes Pink an individual entity. RATING: 4
Track 2: "Who Knew" This is much better. This is the real Pink. This has a real Linda Perry influence to it. It's just a plain and simple pop song with a nice hook. This could pass as a new 4 Non Blondes song. There's even a light string sound backing the strong vocal at the end of the track. Nice stuff. RATING: 7
Track 3: "Long Way To Happy" Oh yeah, this is great. The sleek and sleazy edge of her powerful voice joined with a heavy guitar sound and pounding drums. And, of course, there's the great hook. It kind of runs short on ideas but it's still very nice. RATING: 8
Track 4: "Nobody Knows" Time to break out the emotional ballad, and it's actually a good one. The key for Pink is to keep it real. When she tries to do the Beyonce and Christina Aguilera thing, she fails. She's more Janis Joplin than she is Mariah Carey, and that's a good thing in my opinion. She keeps it real with this one. Listen close and you might even hear a little Janis. Again, maybe a little short on songwriting ideas, but it's pretty cool. RATING: 6
Track 5: "Dear Mr. President" Ouch. This is an acoustic guitar and a political Pink spouting off about our wonderful President. Let's just say she's not a fan of the man. She gets help from The Indigo Girls here, and together they vent their anger about issues like war, abortion, and gay rights. And, believe it or not, the somber seriousness makes this a great song. This is done with class and passion, and turns out to be a pretty powerful statement. RATING: 7
Track 6: "I'm Not Dead" Wow. Pink shows that she is a singer with loads of style on this track. This is a super rock track that's constantly being controlled by her suave vocal. So when she decides to open up the vocals to a more rambunctious level, the band follows her lead perfectly. It may be really odd, but this is a well written song. RATING: 7
Track 7: "'Cuz I Can" A pumped up pace, with a rhythm not unlike a Gary Glitter hit. The menacing attitude of Pink's voice once again drives the whole song. There's some dual layering of her vocals and a really strong hook running through the majority of the song. You have to love the "I can fit your whole house in my swimming pool" line, too. This pumped up tune comes at a great time in the album. RATING: 7
Track 8: "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" Oh man, let's welcome Pink to the 80's pop scene! This has a Pretenders meets The Corrs at a Babys or Hooters concert circa 1984. This is catchy as all hell pop brilliance. If she doesn't release this as a single I'll slit my wrists. This is fantastic stuff that makes me want to visit the mall one last time. RATING: 9
Track 9: "U + Ur Hand" Another pumped up track that finds Pink maintaining her raw attitude. Of course, the tune has a great hook, and some crunchy guitars that make for a really good rock song. RATING: 8
Track 10: "Runaway" Time to slow it down again, which is a perfect time to do so. The flow has been nearly perfect through the album so far. The chorus opens up and gets a little loud, and then settles back in nicely for each verse. Toward the end of the song all the energy culminates for a rousing finale. This is a simple, yet effective track. A little short on ideas, which causes it to stall a bit. Good song, but could've been even better. RATING: 6
Track 11: "The One That Got Away" What starts out as a Country sound, turns into more of a Joplin-esque acoustic blues track. This is a loose, pull up a stool, sit on the porch kind of song. Not bad, you just have to be in the mood for it. RATING: 5
Track 12: "I Got Money Now" Ugh. This is Pink doing Christina, or someone other than herself. Between the drum machine background electronics and the dark spirit of this ballad, the song puts a halt to the flow of the album and nearly stops its pulse. Not a great song, and it comes at the worst possible time in the album. We needed to pick things up with an upbeat pop hook or a funky jam, not dive into an abyss of electronic leftovers from Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." RATING: 2
Track 13: "Conversations With My 13 Year Old Self" Another ballad, but this time we get the real Pink, accompanied by a piano and an orchestra. It's an emotional piece that could have been even more heartfelt and beautiful, but somehow comes up a little short. RATING: 5
Hidden track: "I Have Seen The Rain" Here's a song that was written by her father, Jim Moore, during the Vietnam War. Moore appears on the track playing acoustic guitar, and singing with his daughter as they do the song in one take. They harmonize beautifully on the track as it takes on a Crosby, Stills and Nash Vietnam-era vibe. In the beginning of the track, Pink tells of the thrill of recording with her Dad, and how this was the first song that she ever learned. They also dedicate the song to "all the vets out there." This really isn't a song that you can put a rating on, because of where it appears and its personal significance. It's a special song that makes a great bonus addition to the disc.
OVERALL RATING 7: ALIVE!
This is an album that is on target for most of its duration. Although it falters a bit near its end, and some of the songs are a little short on structure creativity, this is a very well written selection of songs. As long as Pink stays honest and true to her voice and style, the material ends up being a thing of beauty. It is when she tries to play the role of an R&B starlet that she starts to lose her edge, and ultimately her own persona. But, who the hell am I? Her attempt at getting a piece of the Gwen Stefani pie, "Stupid Girls," is on its way to being her most successful single yet. But, as we all know, not everyone in the record buying/downloading public wants truth, honesty, and individuality out of an artist some just want a good beat that's easy to dance to. And with this Pink release, you get the best of both worlds.