[LaFace Records/Zomba Label Group] ***
Among the wailing pop tarts to achieve superstardom earlier in the decade, Pink is perhaps the most daring. She started her career with 2000's multiplatinum Can't Take Me Home, which bristled with 'hood-rat R&B; affectations.
A year later, Pink stepped away from that image and sound to embrace bright, no-nonsense pop-rock on M!ssundaztood, which sold 11 million copies worldwide. The approach was a better fit. Although two subsequent efforts (Try This and I'm Not Dead) didn't dominate the charts, they added more dimensions to Pink's bad-girl rock sound.
On Funhouse, her album released today, the two-time Grammy winner is still emotionally raw. And all the rage, self-doubt and fear are packaged in catchy, sometimes artful, radio-ready tunes. On her last three albums, Pink unabashedly mined her personal life for material. This time, she explores heartbreak with generous dashes of humor and bitterness.
The new CD follows Pink's divorce from pro motocross rider Carey Hart. On "So What," the first single and one of the album's best cuts, she disses Hart and isn't afraid to get nasty with anyone else. She practically snarls, "I got a brand new attitude/And I'm gonna wear it tonight/I'm gonna get in trouble/I wanna start a fight." She makes a raspy, slightly soulful turn on "One Foot Wrong." Though the surging chorus is predictable, it's still a standout vocal performance, underscored by a punchy horn section.
But about midway, the momentum starts to lag with somewhat whiny ballads. "I Don't Believe You" and "Glitter in the Air" are perhaps the worst offenders. Pink shows personality on uptempo and midtempo songs, but she tends to sound anonymous on slower cuts. Still, Pink manages to pull off the trick of making heartbreak sound supercharged, a little funky and exciting.
Download these: "So What," "One Foot Wrong," "Funhouse"
Rashod D. Ollison