Friday, November 12th, 2010

Pink – Raise Your Glass

Let’s just say that our work-life balance has been a bit askew the past week…


Al Shipley: Her upcoming greatest hits package presents me with a good opportunity to trumpet Pink as perhaps the best female pop star of the past decade (or at least the one with the most consistent discography). But the new single off the collection, while good, doesn’t exactly help back up my claim by simply putting a more celebratory spin on the sound of her great, emotionally cathartic most recent album, Funhouse.

Jonathan Bogart: Not a ten because Greatest Hits fill-em-up tracks don’t get tens. But otherwise this does everything I want uptempo Pink to do: rock, cuss, stomp, laugh at itself, and inspire dumbass dance moves and dumberass pick-up lines. She’s still playing the bad-girl alternative to the prissy princesses of pop, and even now that there are no prissy princesses left (okay, maybe Taylor) in a world owned by Ke$ha, Gaga, and Nicki, she’s still something like a den mother to the wasted weirdos, straddling the table and bawling at you to take a swing if you think you’re hard enough.

Zach Lyon: It might be the existence of Ke$ha that makes me bow to Pink (or P!nk, if we’re really gonna make this comparison — I do prefer exclamation points), and I don’t even mind Ke$ha all that much, and I used to hate Pink. It’s just that, you put a song like this next to “Tik Tok”, and lines like “too school for cool” seem almost masterful in comparison, with Pink looking like the grizzled sensei and Ke$ha the bratty kid that tries to sweep the leg.

Alfred Soto: In line with the ignoble tradition of recording new tracks for compilations, Pink walks into the studio, spits comatose rhymes written in handwriting she can’t decipher, and exits in a huff for a Matt Lauer interview. She can’t help but sound committed though, especially when power chords offer assistance. It’s admirable, I suppose, that she remains a devotee of the “Get the Party Started” ethos — occasionally it produces an “All That Money Wants” or “True Faith.” This ain’t one.

Pete Baran: A string of half-arsed glib lines: leaning on the spectre of PARTY like Andrew WK had never happened. She is raising her glass, but she never says what’s in it. A Bucks Fizz will never get you pissed.

Martin Skidmore: I wasn’t keen on most of Jarvis Cocker’s valorisation of supposedly dismissed outsiders, but at least I knew who he was talking about. I have no idea who Pink thinks her constituency are on this song along those lines.

Alex Macpherson: After making such a big deal out of her move away from R&B and antipathy to teenpop in 2002, Pink has wound up making a song that, in 2010, could have been sung by anyone from Usher to Miley Cyrus. Of course, this is more to do with the homogenisation of the charts around a 4×4 beat pounding on a human face forever; rock, R&B and teenpop puréed into one indistinguishable overdriven electrostomp soup. Also, even Madonna at her laziest would have rejected a lyric like “Don’t be fancy, let’s get dancey.” (EDIT: Actually, she probably wouldn’t. Which puts “Raise Your Glass” on a par with the wholly forgotten “Don’t Stop” and its own unfortunate “Feel it in your body/Sing la-dee-da-dee” couplet.)

Jer Fairall: Within the first 0:40 we get “what’s the dealio”, “where’s the rock and roll” (accompanied by her vocal mock-up of a wanky guitar riff), “call me up if you want gangsta” and, sweet Jesus, “why so serious?” It would be a lot easier to buy her allegiance to all the “underdogs” and “dirty little freaks” were she ever to present her arguments in music that didn’t just happen to fall in line with whatever popular trends ruled the charts at the time.

Michaelangelo Matos: She got away with railing against pop stardom through the sheeniest radio production imaginable because the vocal had some weight. Here it bounces along with everything else, precisely as trapped in polyurethane as those stupid keyboard blats.

Josh Langhoff: Sure it’s LOUD, because all Adult Contemporary these days is LOUD, but I’m not sure what makes this “nitty gritty”. She seems to think talking like a rapper or the Joker makes her transgressive, when really it just makes her an overbearing fun-killer — like, wayyyy more overbearing than Ke$ha. But man oh man, that’s a chorus.

Edward Okulicz: One of her most propulsive, anthemic choruses to date, though its simplicity is cheapened a little by its overreliance on glib wordplay and cliches in the verses, which she has never had the ironic capabilities to sell.

Renato Pagnani: Pink has no fears about diving headfirst into clichés, which makes her fearless but also gives her ironic distance, paradoxically from the inside. And she’s simply a good songwriter, treating these kind of bombastic, shout-y choruses like Lebron does free-throws. And it’s quite clear she’s thumbing her nose at everyone. It’s flimsier than your typical Pink single, and for the all the snap the hook brings it’s not quite enough to make up for the inert space in between, but it’s the right kind of stupid and that counts for something. About six somethings.

Katherine St Asaph: It’s heartbreaking to watch Max Martin turn Pink into a Kelly/Katy clone with shorter hair. Every successive single sands off another bit of edge and then sprinkles the sawdust on top to make it look like there’s more underneath. The worst parts are the glimpses of what Pink used to be. Pink will crash your party, but then you remember how she’d get it started. She calls herself a nitty-gritty, dirty little freak, but she’s been one already with music that doesn’t sound like something Max found attached to an old email draft. She sings one eensy girl-teasing “panty snatcher” line when this used to make up entire songs. And she punctuates her lyrics with clever cursy asides, but Can’t Take Me Home was full of these, and “remember that time we went to Pizza Hut and you told me she was your cousin?” from “Hell Wit Ya” is worth twenty of the drinking platitudes here. Raise your glass if you want. I’ll be weeping into mine.

Mordechai Shinefield: “Why so serious?” Pink asks, and she’s not just a couple years behind on The Dark Knight but also on her own shtick.

26 Responses to “Pink – Raise Your Glass”

  1. “Not a ten because Greatest Hits fill-em-up tracks don’t get tens. ”

    Unless you’re Sly & the Family Stone.

  2. Those three songs were singles first, then collected. (I suppose you could say the same about this, but non-album singles aren’t a language anyone speaks anymore.)

    More generally, I knew I’d give it the highest score, but I’m glad to see that folks respect her (other) work too; the conversation around Pink is usually pretty muted in my circles. (Or I just came in late, like usual.)

    I wrote this when I first listened to it, and I think got closer to what I like about it:

    Taylor [Swift], Ke$ha, and even Nicki [Minaj] were all no doubt majorly influenced by her as young teenagers, and if she’s decided not to vary from her slick dance-pop version of biker-bar rock, she’s still very good at it. “Raise A Glass” even works as comedy, as she uses a secondary, patched-in vocal the way Jim Gaffigan does, to comment on and echo the main lyric. And the false start to the third chorus is something that no one else at her level could possibly pull off. Women entering their forties who never stopped thinking of themselves as bad girls deserve their anthems too.

    But yeah, admittedly, DJ Earworm’s year-end mix is going to be really easy this year, with all the samebosh Martin/Luke songs. Though as a Ronettes and Ramones fan, I can’t say I mind.

  3. I actually would agree that she was one of the more consistent and dependable album-if-not-single artists (any gender) of the ’00s (no great albums, at least four keepable ones), but I’ve been increasingly meh on her output for a couple years now –Katherine’s “Kelly/Katy clone with shorter hair” rings true to me, inasmuch as I’m still paying attention; doesn’t seem like she has much individual personality left at all — and the few times I heard this, I would’ve given it a “4” or “5,’ maybe. Doubt I’ll have time or interest to doublecheck.

  4. See, I can’t picture Perry or Clarkson doing “So What” or “Raise Your Glass” or any number of songs on Funhouse, they seem thoroughly Pink to me.

  5. Maybe it’s Kelly who’s sounding more like Pink rather than vice versa, at least as of All I Ever Wanted. (I thought the title track *was* Pink the first few times I heard it.) As far as her doing So What or this, musically it’d be a fairly decent fit. Lyrically, not so much.

    As far as Katy, I can definitely see her doing this or So What; she’d just make it all cutesy and ironic.

    Also, I knew someone had commented on the “patched-in vocal” — just couldn’t think of who for the life of me! But this too is something Pink’s been doing since Can’t Take Me Home. From the first track, even — “Split Personality” is basically this trick stretched over 3-4 minutes. It’s not played for humor, but it’s the same idea.

  6. Yeah, Kelly made a pretty major leap in Katy’s direction — at least two AIEW songs were Katy kast-offs — but it was recent and (hopefully) shortlived, though who knows. Katy on the other hand is certainly indebted to P!nk, though I think P!nk herself is in the second tier of artists I’d put in her general orbit. She is probably the most *consistent*, or at least has had the longest career, of the others.

  7. Fwiw re: “So What” I also think that Kelly is generally more rock than P!nk, though maybe not as much of a “rock star” (I don’t think either really fits that description).

  8. so raise your… motherfucker

  9. I like the fact that the phrase “rock star” has been reanalyzed by the current generation of popstars to mean, well, them. There’s certainly nobody making quote-unquote rock who’s laying much of a claim to it these days.

  10. “Rock star” seems a weirdly old-fashioned thing to call someone, or indeed yourself? Like, kind of naff. I like Rihanna’s “Rockstar 101” fine (another of your examples, I’m guessing), but actually using the word “rockstar” is the only thing which grates a bit.

    (Not that I think “popstar” is much better.)

  11. I think “rock star” is just kind of vaguely used by anyone anytime now to denote looking a certain way, acting a certain way, etc. like “movie star” or “porn star”

  12. i mean obviously it’s used a little more literally by someone like P!nk who belts over loud guitars to sold out crowds every night, even if she’s not generally considered a ‘rock star’ by most people

  13. I’ve always taken her usage of “rock star” as a not-very-literal thing, but a general term of empowerment that could be appropriated by her fans in times of need.

    Of course, Pink would see herself as a rock star as opposed to a pop star, that’s part of her image. One of the things I admire about the song is the willingness to use her status as a defense; not something to complain about (paparazzi!) or something to brag about (look at my jewels!) but a fact that can be utilized and confronted, as a reminder. There’s a lot more to it than that but I’ll shut up now.

  14. Also, really, if you’re trying to cheer yourself up after a breakup, are you really gonna call yourself a pop star rather than a rock star? No one who matters disrespects rock stars, mythologically speaking. Rock stars disrespect pop stars, though.

  15. I don’t know how anyone can listen to Try This , anyway, and not call it rock. A few Missundaztood tracks definitely lean that way, too.

  16. I think the issue there is more than barely anybody HAS listened to Try This.

  17. Which is a damn shame.

  18. “rock star” is just kind of vaguely used by anyone anytime now to denote looking a certain way, acting a certain way, etc. like “movie star” or “porn star”

    And not even just people who look or act a certain way, anymore! — Hell, around election time, I saw columnists refer to politicians as “rock stars”! By now, it’s a completely meaningless term; it has nothing to do with music at all. It just means “somebody who is popular,” or something. I really hate it, and not just when Pink uses it. (But actually, her “I got my rock moves” bugs me more. It’s not only meaningless; it just plain sounds clunky, in a clueless, embarrassing way.)

  19. (Actually much prefer when Shop Boyz and Nickelback call themselves rock stars to when Pink does. They’re funnier about it, which suggests they might realize how dumb it is.)

  20. (Though I suppose “So What” is trying to be funny, come to think of it. I just always thought it was irritating, though — just another celebrity mistaking me for caring about her personal life. Also always hated how Pink says “Jessica Simps” instead of “Simpson”, gag.) (Much better “So What” songs: Anti-Nowhere League; Field Mob feat. Ciara.)

  21. Ha, song I just happened to listen to on my turntable, without knowing its title until it was done: “(I Wanted To Be A Rock & Roll Star) Woman I Still Got Loving You On My Mind,” last track on hard soul singer Willie Hutch’s strangely demonic-looking 1974 Motown LP The Mark Of The Beast, which I bought in a three-for-adollar sale at a record convention last month. Unfortutately, there’s a big scratch across the entire second side, so it was hard to hear. (First side seems way better anyway; my much-abused stylus has requested I not play Side Two anymore.) Still, I think I’ve decided that songs about “rock and roll stars” are usually better than songs about “rock stars.” (See also Mott The Hoople’s “Rock And Roll Queen”: “You’re just a rock and roll queen, you know what I mean/And I’m just a rock and roll star.” And right, I know Mott sang about their personal celebrity lives all the time and made me love it. So once again, I’m contradicting myself bigtime.)

  22. Updates!

  23. what is wrong with you guys, why dont you post anything?

  24. They’re on their way. Our esteemed master of ceremonies is a tad busy at the moment.

  25. Coming up on a month now… lots of singles worth discussing in that time. Disappointing.

  26. It’s December. Holiday season. A time of snowballing workloads for everybody. Patience.