Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

P!nk – What About Us

It’s no smashing a pager with a baseball bat while standing in a wind tunnel, but it’ll do…


Joshua Copperman: During a long car ride, I played this for my parents. Their initial reactions are as follows, real but paraphrased;  Mom: this [piano line] is a total copy of that Lorde thing  Dad: they’re probably playing this at SoulCycle  Mom: She’s so good at singing her own harmony… but I don’t like this as much as some of the other stuff. A few days later, it came on the radio ; Mom: This grew on me a lot, I love her voice. Dad: You know, I’ve always been a fan of hers, especially with that one song. [hums the na-na-na part from “So What”] Cut to: 2026. “What About Us”, despite a litigation attempt by Disney over the use of certain rhymes, has been number one worldwide for several years. P!nk has been crowned Queen of Australia. Copperfamily, In Monotonous Unison: Holy balls this song owns.

Alfred Soto: She’s good at yearning, and with the EDM rhythms rolling beneath her during the chorus she sounds like Ann Wilson singing through synth strings in the mid eighties. And “What About Us” isn’t much better than “What About Love.”

Olivia Rafferty: I suppose this generation will be good for pumping out a few “children of the revolution” songs. P!nk goes for this subject matter over some heartfelt EDM-pop thumping. No doubt she gets that inflection of emotion on those top notes in the chorus, but if this is a pop song that’s meant to really communicate something, shouldn’t it stand out from all the rest?

Will Adams: The reason P!nk’s decade-long settling into pleasant uplift has worked so well is that she consistently sounds like she believes what she’s singing. “What About Us” is one of the better iterations, sticks-n-stones indulgences notwithstanding. The slow-build is where she excels, the tumbling melody is well-suited to her voice, and the mid-tempo stomp remains graceful instead of plodding.

Scott Mildenhall: Well yes, but who is “us”? “Billions of beautiful hearts” suggests quite a large constituency, even if some belong to octopuses. Could it be, in fact, that P!nk is speaking on behalf of the whole world? In combining a love song with “Earth Song”, where “us” is apparently everyone, but “you” could easily be an ex, she runs the risk of her supreme existential angst coming over as ill-conceived bandwagoning on discord in her part of the world, and that would be unfortunate. At least she’s focused on things that unite a lot of people — post-2011 Coldplay rave, for instance — but the hypergeneralistic lyrics are a distraction from the palpable emotion she’s harnessed better many times before.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: A nonspecific rallying cry whose music and lyrics are both inoffensive and blandly inspirational in order to resonate with the masses. Unfortunately, a song about everything is always going to be a song about nothing.

Ashley John: Driven by P!nk’s incredible voice, “What About Us” soars and shimmers, taking a perfectly average track and adding meaning and weight. Where another artist might make this song sound redundant, P!nk layers her voice so that it builds a steady momentum driving the song beautifully upward. P!nk will probably never be called innovative or challenging, but she brings an earnestness and truth to all her work, which makes it all worth a second listen.

Alex Clifton: Is this song about fighting against 45? Is it about feeling broken-hearted about the state of the US? Is it about God abandoning humanity in 2017? This is a literal political broken-hearted club-thumper. Pink’s vocals are amazing as always, although the lyrics are weirdly oblique for a politically-charged song. Whatever this is, it’s something that could only come out this year, for better or worse–and it’s nice to have an actual upbeat song about fighting. The year of the Darkest Timeline continues. 

Reader average: [9.16] (6 votes)

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3 Responses to “P!nk – What About Us”

  1. Got in too late, but she is too talented for this MOR, power-pop drivel. Come on, P!nk, do better!

  2. referencing a TSJ deep track:

  3. I got it! But that’s because I still mentally recite Rebecca’s blurb every time I hear that song.