Granted, "Get The Party Started" was, hands-down, the most thrilling pop single of 2001. But no one really started taking Pink seriously until she showed up at the Grammys looking like Wendy O. Williams.
It was a jarring sight: Pink's shocked-out Troll doll hairdo and layers of fishnet clashing dramatically with the Delia's hoochiness of her Maramalade accomplis. It was as if, in that one moment, Pink took the sledgehammer to pop's collective consciousness. In a few short weeks, that image was aligned with a pissed-off second single, "Don't Let Me Get Me." Since then, Pink isn't merely noticeable. She's damn near inescapable.
It only takes about two verses of "Don't Let Me Get Me" to see why everyone is going gaga. Though it opens as an Alanis-style study in self-loathing, the song quickly becomes a scathing assault on the music business, its target no less than Arista boss L.A. Reid. In three short verses, Pink insinuates that her bootylicious Arista debut was little more than a get-richer-quick scam, and served only to wrongfully imprison her in the whorehouse with Britney and Christina. There are few things rock fans love more than seeing a proven star sharpen their fangs and sink them into the hand that's pouring their Courvoisier.
And if Pink is feeling suddenly pigeonholed, there are legions of punk-junkies-cum-music-journalists willing to help her pound the suits into submission -- because these are dire times for rock 'n' roll. Prefab heroes have lacked either the marketability (the White Stripes) or the charisma (the Strokes) to make a serious dent in the mainstream landscape. So if one of pop's own proven darlings suddenly decides she wants to levy cannon fire against the very industry that created her, it'll be barely a nanosecond before record nerds still pissed about Napster and hoping to silence the godawful bluster of Creed come running to her aid.
So we get centerfolds of Pink atop a Corvette with a sledgehammer and tape over her nipples, and countless interviews in which she's coerced into talking about how she fronted a punk rock band when she was 13. The overall impression is not so much that Pink is an interesting person, but that if she keeps mentioning the Sex Pistols, maybe enough of her 15-year-old fans will buy Never Mind the Bollocks, spurring some sort of radio revolution.
The perverse irony in all this is that no one bothered to ask Pink if she was down with this. In fact, her latest CD, M!ssundaztood, is hardly a mule-kick rock album. It sounds instead like an attempt at rock brazenly stifled by a label with an R&B mindset. The guitars are there; you can hear them snarling beneath the club-friendly drumbeats. But they're squashed, compressed and shoved into the background. To sell M!ssundaztood as punk rock is as dishonest as selling it as teen pop. It is neither and it is both.
Even her name takes the middle ground. She's not Red -- fiery, passionate, extreme. Nor is she some sort of bland, tepid White. She's Pink, both raucous and sedate. The joy of M!ssundaztood is not in the timelessness of the songs, but in watching the artist at its center trying to thrash and claw and scream her way out of preconceptions. There's a weird visceral thrill that comes from watching Pink kicking against the pricks -- and even when she doesn't pull it off, you have to give her points for trying.
Where Britney's virgin/whore complex seems like nothing so much as a product of slick marketing, Pink conveys the genuine sense that she's dissatisfied with her current lot, and that she's going to keep on throwing punches until something starts to give. All Pink really wants -- no, deserves -- is for people to just shut up and embrace her glorious, rosy duality.
Pink performs Wed., May 22, at the Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. Candy Ass opens. 7:30 p.m. $30. 404-659-9022. www.atlantaconcerts.com.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…