Pink

Worst Album of 2017

Beautiful Trauma – Pink

As an avid Pink fan, this choice kind of hurts. When she announced her return to music, I was so excited. I’ve always loved Pink for her aggressive, I don’t give a shit attitude and empowering songs. I looked forward to an album full of upbeat, fun songs mixed with a few ballads. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that with Beautiful Trauma.

This album bored me. So many of the songs are slow. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of ballads, but I don’t hate them. Slow songs give listeners a break from the fast numbers. Pink’s ballads are normally beautiful, sometimes even haunting. Tracks like “Try” and “Glitter in the Air” still give me chills, but when there’s a solid block of them I find myself getting bored. I need the fast songs to pick me back up. This is the big problem with this album. There were way too many slow songs and very few of them are notable. They just sound like any generic pop song currently on the radio.

While listening I kept waiting for the energetic, fun tunes to kick in. The closest I got was the title track. Not even the song with Eminem could save it. And that was a big disappointment. I love “Here Comes the Weekend,” but “Revenge” is just okay. Eminem’s verse isn’t even one of his best; it’s lazy and lame. The only thing I liked about the record was Pink’s voice. We get to hear how much her vocals have improved over the years and she sounds gorgeous. But there isn’t much beyond that.

For a Pink album, it’s surprisingly tame. Because of her don’t give a fuck nature, she usually has a good chunk of songs that represent this. Her songs are normally biting and clever with a somewhat cynical sense of humor. This vibe is almost completely missing here. We get a few times in tracks like “Revenge,” but otherwise the songs are pretty generic. While I can admire her showing a different side of herself, it just doesn’t feel like a Pink album to me. The album is forgettable, generic, and isn’t as fun as her past work. While her other albums are empowering, this one is just dull.

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Playlist: Best Grammy Award Performances

It’s almost time for the Grammys again, which means lots of snubs, disappointments, questionable moments, and Adele. That’s why everyone is going to watch, right? The award ceremony has been panned for the past couple of years for being bland and boring, but along with its low moments are tons of high moments. It’s still known for some of the most iconic and memorable performances in music. So before we start predicting when exactly Kanye is going to crash the stage, lets look back on some of the best performances from the Grammys.

“Stan” – Eminem & Elton John (2001)

Though Eminem made a joke about the Grammys in his song “The Real Slim Shady,” he’s been no stranger to them since his massive album The Marshall Mathers LP. This is the time when the rapper was most controversial garnering the anger of groups like GLAAD, who claimed he was homophobic. To shut up his critics once and for all, Eminem delivered a powerful performance of “Stan” with Elton John singing the chorus. At the song’s end, the two embraced and held hands in a victory pose. It’s not only one of the best Grammy moments of all time, but one of the best Eminem moments ever.

“American Idiot” – Green Day (2005)

Eyeliner, creepers, red ties, and lots of pyro. American Idiot era Green Day was on the rise thanks to their massive concept album. Not only was it a big winner at the 2005 Grammys, they also delivered a performance of the title track that was unforgettable. Instead of being cut and dry, the band brought their snotty attitude, slaying guitars, and their love of fire with them. As usual the band sounded great and wowed the crowd with fire shooting up at all the right moments. The band made sure to light a fire under the asses of the stiff academy. This is just one of a number of amazing performances from the year of American Idiot.

“The Way You Make Me Feel/Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson (1988)

Michael Jackson didn’t grace award show stages that much during his life, but whenever he did it brought the fucking house down. This 1988 performance starts out pretty standard: Jackson blows away the crowd with his dancing and singing. But it’s not until we get to “Man in the Mirror” where the show really starts. As he continues to sing, he gets more into the song until he’s falling on his knees, near tears, demanding everyone to “make that change.” The best part are the last five minutes where he seems to go off the record and just feels the music and gets everyone to stand up. He’s possessed by the song as he spins and collapses while a choir backs him up. It’s one of those moments that’s so stunning you remain quiet during the whole thing.  It shows why there will never be another performer with the fire, passion, and moves like Jackson.

“Where It’s At” – Beck (1997)

There’s always one year where Beck sweeps the award shows and makes some people question “Who the hell is Beck?” During the 1997 Grammys, he performed his hit single “Where It’s At” from Odeley, which was up for several awards that night. The thing that makes the performance so great is Beck’s unbridled energy. He has all the moves and swagger of a rapper and even pulls some awkward, yet entertaining dance moves at the end. His monotone vocals matched with his wild movements makes Beck hypnotizing to watch on stage. It ends on a high note, literally with Beck pulling off some scratchy falsetto. After the performance he won a Grammy for Best Rock Male Vocal. And similar to last year’s ceremony, many were left wondering who the hell this guy was.

“Runaway” – Bruno Mars (2012)

I wouldn’t call myself a huge Bruno Mars fan, but his performance from the 2012 Grammys blew me away. Is it his upbeat energy? Yes. Is it his style? Yes. Is it him commanding people to get off their “rich asses?” Yes. He sounds great and pulls off some awesome dance moves, but what makes this performance so memorable is the set up. It looks like an old school soul performance complete with matching gold suits, Temptation style dance moves, and Bruno’s pompadour with some added James Brown for flavor. He’s such a charismatic performer that he makes any award shows, or Super Bowl, exciting.

“I Put a Spell on You” – Annie Lennox & Hozier (2015)

What started out as a performance from Hozier featuring Annie Lennox turned into the Eurythmics singer taking over the stage. She came out to join Hozier on “Take Me to Church,” but as soon as she started “I Put A Spell on You” everyone forgot he was on stage. Her soulful delivery is powerful and she commands the stage while singing and swinging her hips. All Hozier could do and stand back and nervously smile. The way she belted out those notes gave you chills. It was so amazing it’s all people could talk about the next day. Sorry, Hozier. Good try, though.

“I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston (1994)

At the 36th Grammys Whitney Houston blew everyone away this performance of her hit single “I Will Always Love You.” She starts out by performing the first verse acapella, which is enough to stir you. She really gets in her element when the music starts up and she continues singing in her elegant white gown. The best is when the drum pounds and she holds the note while she sings the chorus one more time. Watching it again over 20 years later, it still gives you goosebumps when she hits that note. It’s a reminder of what a wonderful performer Houston was and a sad reminder of what we’ve lost.

“One” – Metallica (1989)

Everyone knows the story of Metallica losing the Best Heavy Metal album to Jethro Tull in 1989. Though they didn’t win, and yeah they should’ve of, they delivered a blazing performance of “One” from their …And Justice for All album. Things start out kind of shaky with the vocals, once the band gets in the groove of things, they take over the stage and set fire to the Grammys. The performance is intense, brutal, and heavy as if reminding the committee why they should’ve won in the first place. Luckily, the academy realized they were wrong and gave the band best Metal Performance for the same song the following year. The band revisited the song at the 2014 ceremony with pianist Land Lang accompanying them.

“Feel Good Inc/Hung Up” – Madonna & Gorillaz (2006)

Madonna and Gorillaz seems like a collaboration that would never happen, but oddly enough it works. This performance features the animated band as 3D holograms singing, gyrating, and looking bored in general. When De La Soul comes out 2-D checks his phone while leaning on the mic. Then Madonna pops up on screen, also a hologram, and teases the band. After that she appears on stage in the purple leotard first seen in the “Hung Up” video. The entire performance is fun, innovative, creative, and unforgettable. Though Madonna’s rendition of “Living for Love” was also good, this one is more memorable and creative.

“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele (2012)

You knew she was going to pop up here sooner or later. The performance is simple; no fancy effects, tricks, or collaborations. Just Adele, her singers, and her band. Her voice is so powerful and beautiful, you can close your eyes and let it wash over you. Even if you don’t play her heartbreaking songs on repeat after seeing this performance you had to acknowledge that she’s one of the best modern singers. There are plenty of people who can’t wait to see what the singer will do at this year’s ceremony. Actually, it’s probably the only reason anyone will tune in.

“Glitter in the Air” – Pink (2010)

When Pink came out on stage to perform “Glitter in the Air” no one at home or in the crowd expected to see her twirling through the air. She comes out in a hooded shroud, looking beautiful and elegant. Just when you think she’s going to stand there and sing, she reveals a nude leotard and joins a group of aerial acrobats that lift her in the air. She strikes various poses and even pulls off an impressive spin and she’s still singing. She never misses a beat. By the end everyone was stunned and in awe. It’s a trick she’s pulled off a few more times for later Grammy performances, but no one will ever forget the first time she did it here.

“Seven Nation Army/Death Letter” – The White Stripes (2004)

The White Stripes managed to make a lot of noise at the 2004 ceremony. The performance starts out with the popular “Seven Nation Army,” but ends with a chaotic seizure educing rendition of “Death Letter.” It’s here where Jack White lets loose and plays with fire and fury. He stumbles around the stage, motion towards Meg White, and ends the song with a unchained solo. The performance is also great due to the weird introduction by Beck who references “Children of God” before introducing the duo. Well, it is Beck after all.

“La Copa de la Vida (Cup of Life)” – Ricky Martin (1999)

This performance will forever be burned in my memory. Why? Because my mom and I were glued to the screen, wondering who this hot new guy was and how fast could we get his album. Ricky Martin was at the forefront of the Latin explosion of the late 90s. He cemented his popularity at the time with this performance at the 41st Grammy Awards. After this performance aired, Martin was a household name and everyone wanted to live “la vida loca.” Sorry, I had to.

“Lady Marmalade” – Pink, Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil’ Kim ft. Missy Elliot & Patti LaBelle (2002)

It was hard to escape this song in the early 2000s and though the group of ladies performed the song at various award shows throughout the year, this one is the best. All of the singers sound on point and Aguilera finally shed the gigantic poodle wig she was obsessed with. What made this performance so memorable from the others, is the original Lady Marmalade, Patti LaBelle, joined the group on stage. While she didn’t get to sing much she did enough to show she still had the chops and even though this cover was pretty good, nothing could outshine the original.

Which Grammy performance is your favorite? Is there one that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

 

I’m Not Dead – Pink

Release Year: 2006

Rating: 7.5/10

Pink is known as music’s bad girl. Though the image wasn’t exactly there on her R&B tinged debut, it quickly became clear with her subsequent releases. She’s never been shy to open up about her troubled upbringing as she did on her second album, but this one takes it to a new level. Dealing with sensitive subjects like sexual abuse and loss, this has to be her most emotional and just plain sad album in her catalog.

Things start off on a playful note with the witty and cynical “Stupid Girls.” When it was released, the media was filled with the latest exploits of Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie. Pink feared they would become new role models for girls and decided to call them out by questioning “What happened to the dreams of a girl president?” She remain unapologetic as she proclaims “I don’t wanna be a stupid girl.” It’s both funny and poignant with its message of supporting strong, smart women for girls to model themselves after. But after this point things take a more mellow, subdued tone.

Suddenly, we’re hit with a bunch of slower, somber songs one after another. “Who Knew” has a strong vocal performance from the singer as she laments about losing someone to a drug overdose. Though the music is kind of bright, upbeat, and sounds nice in general, it’s actually a heartbreaking track once you digest the lyrics. “Long Way to Happy” directly addresses the sexual abuse Pink experienced when she was 13 and says how it affects looking for love along with other assets of her life. “Dear Mr. President” is a half-hearted attempt at addressing everything wrong with the world. Written to the president at the time George Bush, the song is sappy and tries way too hard to tug at your heartstrings. Rather than being deep and thoughtful, it’s full of cliches and is pretty boring. “Nobody Knows” on the other hand, is a somber piano ballad that’s a little too slow for my taste. There is a great breakdown where Pink sings with so much fervor it sounds like she’s taking the listener to church.

The mood finally picks up slightly with the pop/rock oriented title track. Addressing how difficult change can be, it’s heavier in sound than the other tracks and will still get people out of their seats. It’s not the best song on the LP, but it’s a much needed breather after being hit with so many emotional tunes. Pink gets silly again for “Cuz I Can” where she brags about her money and how much of a bad ass she is. It’s actually one of the catchier and more fun songs from the album with its upbeat dance flavor. She even throws a reference to her old song “U Make Me Sick” with the opening line “I’m so so sick/can’t handle it.” But the best track by far is the sassy “U + Ur Hand” where she bluntly tells a guy to fuck off and let her have a good time. This is classic Pink all the way: spunky attitude, rock guitars, a great hook, and witty lyrics.

But if you thought you were finally free of the depressing songs, Pink pulls you back in with the last four tracks. None of them are outright bad, but after an entire album of serious topics, slow melodies, and sappy music, you’re ready for a little sunshine. Even the one track that sounds like it would be upbeat “I Got Money Now” is actually a cautious tale about money not being able to buy happiness no matter how much you have. The closing track “Conversations With my 13 Year Old Self” is the weakest on the album mainly because the string music is overblown and too dramatic. Crashes, crescendos, and swelling orchestras are all cues to let the listener know this is supposed to be a tear jerker, but it’s easy to see through. It’s just way too much for the track, not to mention a depressing way to end the album.

Pink has never shied away from serious topics like heartbreak, abuse, and loss, but she pulls out all the stops for this album. There are a couple of upbeat tracks that are classic Pink all the way: snotty, full of attitude, witty lyrics, and catchy as hell. But most of the tracks make you want to curl up in the corner and rock yourself to feel better. This is like her Sea Change and at times it’s too much. One sappy, slow, sad song after the other gets too tiring especially if you’re not feeling particularly melancholy. The songs are not terrible, but they may be what you’re looking for when you grab a Pink album.

PINK – Mindless Self Indulgence

Release Year: 2015

Rating: 8/10

This is the release fans have been talking about and clamoring over for as long as MSI has been around. Now, it’s finally here and was it worth the wait? This is a collection of unreleased material and rare cuts from the band’s earliest days and even from before MSI was formed. As with most rare cuts compilations, there’s some good and some bad, but so much of the material is sure to keep you engaged and bouncing along as if you’ve known the songs for years.

Though Jimmy Urine has stated a lot of the material was before MSI got the sound he wanted, so much of it sounds like classic MSI. Tracks like “This Hurts,” “Be Like Superman,” “Married Alive,” and “5TR82HE11” all sound like the crazy, upbeat, chaotic, and insanely fun band fans have come to love over the years. All of these songs are super catchy and are branded with the group’s mix of punk, rock, and electronic that makes their music so damn intoxicating. Some of the songs even have hints of other tracks. Both “Vanity” and “Slim” feature a lyric that would later be found in the b-side “Makes Me Cum.”

With so many songs, there’s bound to be a few that are forgettable. Tracks like “For the Love Of God,” “Do Unto Others,” and “Unsociable” are all pretty decent, but none of them really stand out. They just end up sounding like so many of their other songs: energetic, in your face, upbeat, and a mash up of rock and synth. None of them are terrible, but when you get to the second half of the album you begin to understand why the songs have been hidden away for so long. But there are a number of tracks that are bound to become new fan favorites. One of the best is the “Personal Jesus” cover. The band takes the classic Depeche Mode track and completely tears it apart to turn it into their own beats. It’s pretty short, but they somehow turn it into an energetic electronic dance song that makes you want to mosh. Never thought I’d be saying that about a Depeche Mode song. There’s also a cover of Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film,” but it’s not as interesting.

The super fast paced “Memory of Heaven” sounds like one of those club hits from the 90s with the throbbing music and distorted voices repeating “like a memory of heaven,” but it’s a pretty fun track. Meanwhile, “Device” is another catchy, upbeat track with a killer guitar riff that sucks you in. What’s interesting about this song is the beginning which has a recording of Jimmy messing around with controls and setting the track up. It’s a quick glimpse into some behind the scenes world of the band. From listening to the album, you can see that Urine was pretty close to the sound he wanted for MSI. There’s nothing that sounds drastically different from what they do now, which shows how meticulously and seriously Urine takes his music.

The closing track “Angry Boy” is the most interesting. It’s not a song, rather a crude rant from Urine recorded in 1992. He goes on to talk about why he hates people and how pissed he is that they often doubt what he’s doing when it comes to his music. Midway through it seems to turn into a pep talk to himself about getting his music out there. It’s pretty raw, yet a weird way to end the release. It’s a very personal moment that Urine is now willing to share with fans and that’s pretty awesome.

The entire collection is pretty good and there’s a lot for fans to ingest. Unlike so many other rarities collections, these aren’t early versions or remixes of songs you know. All of them should be new for the average MSI fan. Another nice touch is how so few of the songs are repeated. There aren’t five versions of one track. Rather, each one is different save for a couple, but it’s not that bad. As a prequel for everything MSI has done so far, it’s pretty damn good and something every fan needs to have in their collection, especially if they can’t drop tons of cash on an original pressing of Tight.

Playlist: Love Stinks

In case you didn’t get the memo, Valentine’s day is this weekend. That means being bombarded with overpriced sweets, sappy movies, and seeing way too much PDA. If you’re already sick of lovesick songs taking over the radio, then this playlist has you cover. This is for anyone who has been burned by love or just really hates Valentine’s day. These songs are all about hatred and are the perfect anti-love songs for your weekend.

“Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake

Two major things happened in Justin Timberlake’s life in 2002: his long running relationship with Britney Spears ended and his debut solo album came out. Of course the two are connected despite what Timberlake says. The song deals with someone being wronged and getting sweet revenge to set things right again. With several references to cheating and lying, it was easy to make connections to his real life troubles. That point hit home when the video was released that gave several clues it was about Britney Spears including a look alike and the use of fairies, Spears’ favorite at the time. It remains one of the best “fuck yous” in music.

“Hyper Music” – Muse

This is one of Muse’s most intense songs with a slashing guitar riff, heavy drums, and snarling bass. It’s full of aggression and anger that keeps bleeding until the song’s end. But underneath the ass kicking music is a song about a bitter relationship. What makes it so damning is when Matt Bellamy screams at the top of his lungs “You know that I don’t love you/I never did!” He’s down right brutal as if to say no more beating around the bush. Bellamy himself has said it’s about wanting to destroy someone you loved. With harsh words like that matched with frantic, sneering music I’d say mission accomplished.

“Pleasure and Pain” – Bullet for my Valentine

Bullet takes out their anger for shitty relationships on this track. The blazing guitars and dancing solos can’t hide the fact that they’re fed up and refuse to hide it anymore. With a hook of “You don’t bring me pleasure/you just bring me pain/over and over again” you can tell the relationship is on its last long. It’s another track that’s brutally honest and is sick of playing nice when it comes to the topic of love.

“She Hates Me” – Puddle of Mudd

These Nirvana wannabes have the essential anti-Valentine’s day song with what has to be their most notable single. It dawns upon some poor sucker that the girl he’s been chasing fucking hates him. And we’re reminded of this over and over and over again. As forgettable as the band is they managed to catch everyone’s attention with the explicit laden hook that’s damning, yet catchy at the same time.

“Love Will Tear us Apart” – Joy Division

Despite the upbeat, catchy synth music this song is pretty tragic. The late Ian Curtis maps out the disintegration of a relationship in a reflecting and sad manner. It’s about when two people know it’s not working anymore and are wondering who’s going to be the first to leave. The lyrics are based on Curtis’ own marriage to Deborah Curtis, who were having their own share of troubles. The title is a play on the song “Love Will Keep us Together.” Deborah even had the title inscribed on Curtis’ grave.

“Fuck You” – CeeLo Green

This humorous single takes the piss out of goldiggers with one simple message: fuck you. CeeLo recounts the tale of chasing after a girl who made it clear he wasn’t rich enough for her. Now, that he’s rolling in dough he has one message for her. Just read the title. It’s the classic story of wanting what you can’t have. Even if you can’t relate to CeeLo’s troubles, you can get on board with telling someone off in such an unapologetic manner.

“I Hate Myself for Loving You” – Joan Jett

It’s no surprise that this bad ass chick doesn’t have the happiest views on love. Though she admits she keeps thinking about this guy night and day, she knows he’s a dog. It’s that complex situation many find themselves in: knowing your mate isn’t the best, but not giving them up for some reason. What’s the result? For Jett it’s getting pissed at herself for not letting this guy go. Note: if someone dedicates this song to you, it may be time to have a talk.

“Caught out There” – Kelis

Kelis shows you don’t mess with a woman when she’s been wronged. In her debut single, Kelis sings sweetly about where her relationship started to go sour. It’s not until the chorus where she unleashes her fury by shouting “I hate you so much right now!” over and over. By the end she has something for her man, which is apparently death since a gun being cocked can be heard. This is also confirmed by the video where she watches her ex dies in the hospital. Who said cheating didn’t have dire consequences?

“Tainted Love” – Softcell

When your love is described as “tainted” you know things aren’t going to end well. That’s what Softcell depicts in their version of the Gloria Jones tune. Despite it’s irresistible hook and catchy synth, the lyrics paint a bleak tale of a relationship that was once desirable, but now finds one of the parties running from the other. But it’s so damn catchy you probably didn’t notice. Also, the video for this is really strange.

“Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” – Green Day

On this b-side, Billie Joe protests the thought of love by saying he doesn’t need someone clinging to him “like a leech” and doesn’t want to deal with all that other love bullshit. Instead he wants to sit “here all my life alone” and repeats how he doesn’t want to fall in love. It’s short, frantic, punk anti-love song that doesn’t hold back. Plus, it’s a great hidden gem from the band.

“Gives You Hell” – The All-American Rejects

The best revenge is living well according to this band. Rather than slashing tires, leaking comprising photos, and jealously, this guy hopes seeing his face is enough to drive his ex mad. One of the best parts of the song is during the bridge where he seems to give in “Truth be told I miss you/but truth be told I’m lying.” Who knew vengeance could be so catchy?

“Love is For Suckers” – Twisted Sister

The guys of Twisted Sister know all the heartache and pain love brings and declares “Love is for suckers!” on this track from their final album of the same name. Though the song is kind of cheesy and funny, it captures the rage of those who believe there’s no such thing as true love. Or at least someone whose been burned a few times.

“I Hate Everything About You” – Three Days Grace

This song really needs no explanation. This is about that moment you have when you realize you can’t stand the person you’re with. The song even asks “Why do I love you?” It may not be the most intense hate you song around, but the message gets across loud and clear. The single wound up being the band’s most popular song and though it’s not one of favorites, it would be a huge oversight to leave it off this list.

“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” – Pink

Pink is the queen of fuck you songs. Tracks like “You Make me Sick” and “So What” could fit the anti-love bill, but this one is among the best. It’s tongue in cheek, full of her not-taking-your-shit attitude, and manages to be catchy. The best part is when she shouts “I’ve had a shit day/You’ve had a shit day/We’ve had a shit day!” Whether or not you’re in a crappy relationship, everyone can relate to having bad days.

“Love Stinks” – J. Geils Band

C’mon, you saw this one coming.

There are a ton of anti-love songs out there, so which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments!