album reviews

I'm Not Dead
LaFace (2006)

Pink's songs always seem ready for a dance party, with their hard-driving beats and aggressive, empowered messages. Her latest, "I'm Not Dead," doesn't fall far from that tree: She oozes self-confidence on the saucy "U + Ur Hand," while "Cuz I Can" stars her devil-may-care attitude ("I don't play your rules/I make my own.")

In fact, Pink's songs seem to be more about her girl-powered, my-way-or-the-highway persona than anything else. The video for "Stupid Girls," the disc's first single, pokes fun at today's frivolous starlets, with spoofs of Paris Hilton's Internet sex tape and Jessica Simpson's Daisy Duke act. But alongside stereotypes of tiny dogs and even tinier clothes, Pink slips in a few underdog-championing lyrics ("I'm so glad that I'll never fit in/That will never be me/Outcasts and girls with ambition/That's what I want to see").

Although Pink's sassy grit is her biggest asset in her high-attitude rockers, she doesn't always tone it down in her ballads, leaving the reflective "Nobody Knows" sounding whiny and shrill. Even so, the album's highlights are the mellower tracks where Pink's exposed fragility matches the song's delicate message. She embraces her folkie side with the passionate "Dear Mr. President" (backed, fittingly, by the sweet harmonies of Indigo Girls) and duets with her father on "I Have Seen the Rain," a song he wrote while serving in Vietnam -- showing surprising maturity for pop's best party-starter.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 5 April 2006, Page C05
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