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April 7, 2006

Pink insists her career’s not Dead—but fourth album tells a different story

After listening to Pink’s latest effort, I’m Not Dead, two things become clear: 1) this CD is a waste of time and 2) the Pink that used to be considered decent is officially “dead.”

With her vicious lyrics and pungent voice, Pink broke into the music industry, giving music connoisseurs something new and interesting to mull over. Her first album, 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home, presented a witty smartass who had a predilection for hip-hop music and thuggish boys.

Pink’s sophomore effort, 2001’s Missundaztood, revolutionized her whole image, not only pushing her voice to new limits but also scrapping her mainstream fluff for a bright and animated rock persona. Then, Pink “died.” 2003’s abominable Try This was released and frankly is not even worth discussing. And now Pink is trying to claw her way back into the limelight with I’m Not Dead.

It’s amazing how many bad songs are on this album. In fact, the best songs on I’m Not Dead can only be considered mediocre. Let’s begin with Pink’s complete lack of vocal emotion on the majority of this CD. On “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely),” Pink groans over some of the album’s brightest production and best guitar solos, and on “U + Ur Hand” (which already has a horrid title), she makes various threats against this man, his hand, and other organs, but cannot back them up with her vocal performance. In “’Cuz I Can,” Pink attempts to rap, something she did well on Missundaztood but fails at here.

It’s laughable, and kind of amazing, how awful some of these lyrics are. Don’t get me wrong; there are some decently written tracks (and “decent” is the best they deserve). “Nobody Knows” and “Who Knew” both have the standard ballad writing—with a touch of Pink’s trademark sass—while “Dear Mr. President” contains the album’s best lyrics, not because Pink says anything people haven’t heard before, but because she tells the truth. She questions how Bush can sleep at night knowing the effects the war has on people in the U.S., stating, “[Bush] don’t know nothin’ ’bout hard work.”

Bad production runs rampant on I’m Not Dead, so—rather than list all of the terribly overproduced and under-produced tracks on I’m Not Dead-—I will just highlight the ones that could at the very least gain radio play. Not only do “Who Knew” and “Nobody Knows” have acceptable lyrics, they also garner production reminiscent to Kelly Clarkson’s (they sound a lot like “Since U Been Gone” and “Because of You,” respectively). “Dear Mr. President” and “Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)” fill out the short string of mediocre tracks on I’m Not Dead. “The One That Got Away,” with its soulful groove, could have earned a spot in this list if it weren’t surrounded by the yawn-inducing “Runaway” and “I Got Money Now.” By the time you make it past track eight, it’s unbearable to even listen to a song straight through.

It’s a shame Pink allows I’m Not Dead to be such a disgrace to music, since she ends the album with a tear-jerking tribute to her father, “I Have Seen the Rain.” Over the strains of a lone acoustic guitar, Pink and her father sing beautifully together. Who knows? Maybe Pink’s fifth attempt at entering the music business will be the charm