Monday, April 27th, 2009

Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me

Watch yer backs, hide the knives…


Michaelangelo Matos: “Louder” and “outta here” don’t even near-rhyme.

Frank Kogan: Singer rips up relationship, self, tries to mend both. Her voice is pained in the verse, still pained in the chorus, but the melody comforts it, and us.

Al Shipley: Fuck 808s & Heartbreak, Funhouse is the greatest breakup album of the past year, exorcising its autobiographical demons with self-deprecating humor as often as sadness or rage. “Please Don’t Leave Me” basically summarizes the album’s unique tone in miniature, so it’s a logical choice for a single, but I can’t help but remember that there are much better songs still lurking in the deep cuts.

Hillary Brown: By far a stronger single than the first one off her most recent record, “Please Don’t Leave Me” is more than comparatively good. It shows off every strength Pink has (big voice, vulnerability, the ability to convey strong emotions without going all American Idol), while minimizing her weaknesses (anger, stupid lyrics). It’s like every makeover show that shows people how to put themselves in the best light, but plus a serious hook absolutely jammed with vocals. Great stuff.

Martin Skidmore: This is my favourite Pink single in some years. Firstly because it’s a good song, about a tormented relationship, with a strong tune that gets you humming along quite quickly. It’s also a very good vocal performance, sounding broken and desperate – her best for ages, perhaps because it’s unusually thoughtful and restrained.

Edward Okulicz: The good thing about Pink is that even if you don’t like one of her singles, you only have to wait another 5 minutes before she replaces it with another one. The da-da-da backing vocals have a pleasingly shambolic quality to them and she does sound nicely broken on it, but it lacks force and pretty much anything that would make it memory-resident. It potters along amiably until the mildly rousing middle-eight, showing the gamut of post-break-up emotions, but it’s hard to imagine loving or hating this passionately. Oh well, the next single (“Bad Influence”) is a belter.

Iain Mew: The video is problematic in its own way (just imagine a gender-reversed one) but it at least succeeds in selling Pink as totally unhinged. The song tries and fails, unless I’m giving it too much credit and it really was meant to be as boring as it appears at surface level. Everything is just far too restrained, with the exception of the “da da dada” backing vocals which go right past restrained to anaesthetised, and are the only interesting part as a result.

Alex Ostroff: P!nk is always more fun when she dials back than when she’s trying to have fun. So What was a rollicking pop song, but this is less obnoxious, more introspective, and better. Before, she lamely called her ex a tool. Now, broken-hearted and terrified of losing him, she lashes out, threatens him and finally calls herself on her own bullshit. Max Martin restrains his recent excesses, employing a light enough touch to give P!nk room to ache, while the “da da da” loop and drums add bounce. Bonus points for the video, where P!nk is the Jack Nicholson to her boyfriend’s Shelley Duvall. Deliciously twisted.

Martin Kavka: This falls into the Morass Of The Midtempo Track: too slow to be exciting, and too fast to communicate deep meaning. Yawn. (BTW, why is this yet another video about how Pink feels trapped by a heterosexual relationship? Should we infer that she will one day have a big Clay-Aiken-ish secret to confess?)

Ian Mathers: The great tragedy of the self-reflexive person is that being aware of your faults doesn’t actually mitigate those faults; we can say to the other “yes, I’m an asshole, but at least I know I have this problem and I love you” and they usually leave anyway. And why shouldn’t they? No matter how convincing an apology you can make, they’re still dating an asshole. Pink tries to cover over that fact (the slapstick horror movie video may be dumb, but it’s also heartbreaking in a look-I’m-dancing-as-fast-as-I-can way), but by the time the self-reflexive person is pleading so openly, it’s because the other is already out the door. And because she’s so self-reflexive, Pink knows that.

Additional Scores

Jonathan Bradley: [6]
Briony Edwards: [5]
David Raposa: [7]

7 Responses to “Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me”

  1. I’m not usually one for posting my own blurbs once they’ve been cut (I assume the gods know what they do), but I can’t let me score up there stand without justification:

    Pink – Please Don’t Leave Me
    I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, but I think I actually sort of like this new Pink single. And because Pink and her always unpleasant tantrums usually prompt an instant [0] from me, I’ll say it again: I actually sort of like this new Pink single. “Please Don’t Leave Me” has the world’s most tiresome chronicler of celeb-life (who isn’t a white rapper from Detroit) sounding actually sweet, and sweetly confused. When she sings “How did I become so obnoxious?” I pretend she’s apologizing for the most-extensive run of deeply irritating pop music this decade. Darn it, I almost want to give her a hug. But Pink, though I’d love to award you a clean slate, this cute little number can’t make me simply forget about the depths you’ve plumbed with, say, “Stupid Girls,” “Just Like a Pill” and “Dear Mr. President.” Besides, you go way overboard on the “da da-da da da” bits.

    Also, I did like Mathers analysis up there.

  2. Cheers, Bradley.

  3. Re: secrets to confess, doesn’t Pink self-define as bisexual anyway?

  4. _resists temptation to link to the A List_

  5. I can’t help but remember that there are much better songs still lurking in the deep cuts.

    Here’s my candidate: “Could’ve Had Everything” (bonus track/b-side).

    Pink feels uncertain/trapped in all her relationships: with genre, record company, people, self – which doesn’t stop her from feeling lonely and hurt when they go sour. (I tend to find her lovable, irritating loudmouth that she is, but I do think her never-ending dilemma works best aesthetically when she goes soft with it: “Is It Love” and “I Got Money Now” and “Could’ve Had Everything.”

  6. I had a totally different take on “Please Don’t Leave Me”. When I listen to it I hear a really cool parody of what abusers say to their victims “You’re my perfect little punching bag.” The abuser whining “Please, please don’t leave me.” The blame being placed on the victim of the abuse “What is about you that makes me act like this?” Saying just in time how beautiful the victim is and how they are really appreciated, in hopes that they don’t leave this time.

    Could Pink be smarter than we’re giving credit for? Does she get the whole sickening cycle of the “abuser who is really just misunderstood and lonely” thing? And did she melodically bitch-slap every guy and gal abuser who’s tried all these lines on someone?

  7. So does the Eminem song count as the gender-flipped version of this a couple people mentioned?