Pretty in pink
Pink is back and, as the title of her fourth album insists, she’s not dead yet. I’m Not Dead is a 14-song argument to that effect, and while the new Mrs. Carey Hart’s overlong opus has plenty of highlights, it would’ve better made her point at 10 songs. It’s hard to fault her for the effort, though; every track does its best to stand apart from whatever she’s done before. If anything, it makes up for Try This, produced by punk rocker Tim Armstrong of Rancid.
Start with “Dear Mr. President” (with the Indigo Girls singing back-up). It’s a piano-riddled attack on Dubya that should’ve been dedicated to anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. “How do you sleep when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?” Pink asks. “What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away / And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she was gay / You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.” Ouch. When you consider the blind support heaped on the president by blonde animatronics like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson, this sort of outcry is really pretty daring in the world of pop.
“Stupid Girls” attacks paparazzi obsessions like Paris and Lindsay who “travel in packs of two or three / with their itsy-bitsy doggies and their teeny-weeny tees” while “Conversations with My 13 Year Old Self” is just embarrassing. It’s followed by a hidden track that is the album’s highlight, however: “I Have Seen the Rain” is a duet with Pink’s father, Jim Moore, on a song he wrote in Vietnam. It’s also the first song Pink learned to sing and here she plays second fiddle to the veteran in this wonderful Loudon Wainwright III-like number. It’s the curtain call for an emotionally vulnerable album that succeeds even as it fails.