The modern pop music career is often a perfect encapsulation of bipolar disorder — soaring highs, devastating lows and no center to hold to when sales shift, program directors change and the kids grow up. When you look at the bumper crop of young diva-ettes who made their debut in the late '90s and early Aughts, you find a great deal of talented women who have since found refuge away from the vicissitudes of the pop market — whether via acting (Mandy Moore), TV (Christina Aguilera), the healing dualities of dance music and professional help (Britney Spears), multimedia divatry (J-Lo) or finding fame just for being themselves (Jessica Simpson).
But somehow, Alecia Moore, the artist known as P!nk, has stayed in the game by staying spry and consistent, and maintaining a distinctive voice in pop music. She still sells records. She still has hits. Pop radio — with its corporate feeder-fish mentality — still plays her music. And what makes P!nk all the more fascinating is that she didn't let the marketplace change her. Grad-school dissertations could be written about the interesting ways that she has shaped her image — there's a playful element to the P!nk experience that seems at odds with the accepted narrative that being a pop star is such hard, soul-destroying work. Granted, she fell out of an aerial harness three years ago, but she continues the aerial acrobatics on a nightly basis while on tour.
P!nk claims dominion over her sexuality like classic burlesque artists, deploying garters and glam because it's fun — not just to bring in ancillary young males. She uses the pop music idiom to tell tales we can relate to: It's not just simplistic abstractions about timeless loves, sad breakups and kicking it in the club. This woman took the pain of a marriage then crumbling around her and turned it into "Funhouse," an exceptional detonation of anxiety that found her battling evil clowns, breaking into her own home and incinerating the insurmountable. She took drunken sexual harassment and turned it on its ass with the masterful "U + Ur Hand." You know that amazing vulnerability that happens when genuine domestic sadness collides with state-of-the-art pop songcraft? Britney found it with "Everytime" and "Shadow" from her In the Zone album. Christina got close to it with "Hurt" (but not really). P!nk finds it all the time. "Sober," "Who Knew" and "Please Don't Leave Me" — those three songs alone are remarkable achievements, and they all hit some deep-seated pain in completely different ways. P!nk carries a certain fiery realness (in both the literal and drag concepts of the word) that brings things across as facets and moods instead of formats and marketing. Even that hoariest of genres, the inspirational power ballad, sounds like something deeper and realer when P!nk is behind the mic — case in point, her most recent single "Try."
Few other artists could declaim they'd had a shit day on The Daily Show and not come off silly; but there's always been grit with the glamour, going back to 2001's M!zzundastood, the remarkable fusion of the catchy and the confessional that changed the game completely. Since she first caught the international public's eye with the smooth R&B tell-off "There You Go" back in 2000, P!nk has won awards, changed direction and sounds a few times, become a superstar in Australia, done voiceover work, been one of Charlie's Angels, opened for Lenny Kravitz and 'N Sync, gotten married and had a kid, starred in a glorious mess of a horror film with Shannyn Sossamon called Catacombs (it's on Netflix and worth watching), found rewarding recurrent partnerships with remixers Hani, Digital Dog and Bimbo Jones (all collaborations worth seeking out), and become a spokesperson for heaps of charities and awareness organizations. With this, her sixth world tour in 11 years, P!nk seems to have found her niche.
Nashville concertgoers left reeling from the one-two cancellations of Morrissey and Lady Gaga (and don't kid yourselves, because there's more overlap there than you might think) have an opportunity here to experience something distinctive. In a town that prizes individuality and artistic freedom while at the same time fiending for success and acclaim, you can look to P!nk to lead the way. Possibly from mid-air.
I'm too sexy for my human, as I do my little turn on the manwalk.
Nope, still listed on his Ticketmaster page...
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If no half japanese cover band, then at least a half japanese karaoke night? please?