Before she became a pop-rock powerhouse who performs aerial stunts on televised awards shows, P!nk was an R&B singer. Like a one-woman Destiny’s Child, she rocketed to the top on the charts on two gimmicks-the white R&B thing (which was much less prevalent pre-Timberlake) and the pink hair thing, which is thankfully now in the past. She wisely ditched the faux-R&B with 2001’s Missundaztood, and has pretty much stayed in that lane ever since.
P!nk’s third album, 2003’s Try This, was her rebellious “I’m a star and now I’m doing it my way so fuck you, record label” album. For a variety of reasons, this gambit didn’t work. A bigger one of those reasons might’ve been her decision to work on most of the album with Tim Armstrong, the lead singer of ska-punk legends Rancid. Not the most commercial collaborator for a big pop star, right? With that said, Try This was still reasonably poppy, but didn’t sell nearly as well as its predecessor and threatened to derail P!nk’s career commercially. I didn’t think it was bad, and P!nk is an authentic rock singer with Benatar pipes. Much like Pat Benatar, P!nk won a Best Rock Performance by a Female Grammy for Try This, and the Recording Academy received so much blowback for that choice that they discontinued the category a year later. P!nk not only laughs about this, but she still regularly performs on the Grammy Awards, yet another thing that proves how awesome she is. Out of all the musicians out there, I think P!nk would be top 5 most fun to go out and have a beer with.
Anyhow, in addition to being a good pop singer and a rock singer, P!nk’s a pretty damn good soul singer. The problem with her debut wasn’t her pipes, it was the material. I’d have been more interested (although she wouldn’t have sold as much) if there’d been more material like Try This’s standout track, “Catch Me When I’m Sleeping”. The lush ballad sounds like it wandered in from a Teena Marie album, and makes me wonder how good a full-length retro-soul album by P!nk would have sounded–or would sound, because there’s still time! Someone get P!nk and ?uestlove in a room together! They can talk about so much more than weird punctuation in their names!