Album Review: P!nk – Beautiful Trauma (track by track)

P!nk 2017

Photo Credit: Kurt Iswarienko

P!nk is back with her most mature album to date
Five whole years her fans had to wait for this, but P!nk is finally back. The American pop star returned earlier this year with the successful single ‘What About Us’, first track taken from the album Beautiful Trauma, which drops today! It is her seventh record and the first one since the success of 2012’s The Truth About Love. A Bit of Pop Music guides you through Beautiful Trauma, track by track!

01. Beautiful Trauma
The title track was released as a promo single a couple of weeks ago and it is exactly what a P!nk song should sound like in 2017. For ‘Beautiful Trauma’, she worked together with Jack Antonoff, who also collaborated with Lorde on her most recent, quite brilliant album. The lyrics are ballsy and are all about making a potentially dysfunctional relationship work. The hook is one of the strongest on the whole record. It might not be the ideal single, but as an album opener it absolutely works!

02. Revenge (feat. Eminem)
With ‘Revenge’, P!nk definitely has a potential hit ready to take over radio. It sounds like a throwback to her Missundaztood days while the feisty lyrics about plotting a revenge over a breezy melody do remind me of Lily Allen’s first record. P!nk’s rapping in the verses is surprisingly good and Eminem’s verse is fire and actually fits the track perfectly for a change. I would be surprised if radio did not eat this up this Max Martin produced tune.

03. Whatever You Want
‘Whatever You Want’ dropped last week and marks her return to the powerful, belting midtempo tracks of which she collects a few on each of her records. Unfortunately this is not one of the most memorable. Of course the chorus tries its best to draw you in, but the lyrics (‘it’s always darkest before the light’) are leaning towards cliches too much.

04. What About Us
It is safe to say that P!nk surprised some of us with this understated low key dance bop as a comeback single, but it sure did pay off. The track became a worldwide hit and although P!nk sometimes writes in cliches here as well, the message of the track is actually powerful. Packed in that soaring production with a hook that keeps on giving, you can’t really go wrong.

05. But We Lost It
This is the first proper ballad of the album and it is one of the most captivating. The track is co-written and produced by Greg Kurstin, who collaborated with Sia multiple times. This piano driven track (with two completely different choruses lyrically) is all about not being able to recreate the magic of the better days of your relationship, when things have turned sour. Oh, relatable queen!

06. Barbies
P!nk co-wrote ‘Barbies’ with a handful of songwriters, including Julia Michaels. The midtempo tune with prominent drums could be a potential single. The lyrics deal with having trouble growing up and looking back at the times you did not have to worry about too many things. Although the idea of 2017 P!nk playing with barbies has me giggling, she delivers another relatable tune.

07. Where We Go
In comparison to what P!nk used to release a couple of years ago, tracks like ‘Where We Go’ are a lot more ‘adult contemporary’, but it does work for her voice and the artist she seems to have turned into now. The lyrics are less ballsy and more reflective, but the hook is still there and so is her powerful voice.

08. For Now
‘For Now’ is one of those tracks that could easily be labeled as ‘filler material’ when listening to the record as a whole for the first few times. If you do give this soulful tune a chance to shine on its own however, you will be glad you did not delete it from your iTunes just yet.

09. Secrets
‘Secrets’ is probably the track most in line with P!nk’s uptempo hits from previous albums. The da-da-doo bits are irresistibly catchy and the addition of ‘ish’ after her singing ‘we always speak the truth’ feels like a typical P!nk moment. The chorus itself isn’t as ear catching as the little guitar riff leading up to it, but this could still work as a single.

10. Better Life
‘Better Life’ is a breezy little tune with a laidback vibe and a cute chorus, nothing more, nothing less. It certainly is not one of the hightlights here, but also inoffensive within the album’s tracklist. Just a bit of a non-event really!

11. I Am Here
Folk P!nk is coming for the crown! Apart from the forced swear words in the first verse, this song is flawless. The little folk twist in the build up and instrumentation is a cool change of pace and her vocals shine in that chorus with inspirational lyrics. The little choir that joins in, elevates this to an even higher level. The post chorus is super catchy and if P!nk and her team are willing to take a risk, this could be a huge single!

12. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken
For a track with this title, I probably expected the lyrics to be a bit more interesting than ‘the stones you throw can make me bleed, but I won’t stop until we’re free’, but the message itself is powerful. Also, ‘there’s not enough tape to shut this mouth’ is quite an epic pop lyric. Personally, this one does not hit home as much as ‘But We Lost It’ or ‘You Get My Love’, but still a more than decent piano ballad.

13. You Get My Love
For the emotional album closer P!nk worked with singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. (you might have heard his track ‘How Could You Babe’ before) who also produced it. The slow burning piano ballad builds up to a powerhouse chorus in which P!nk gives it her all, showing her vulnerability with raw vocals. It does leave a lasting impression!

Beautiful Trauma is P!nk’s most mature and reflective album to date. The playful and ballsy pop rock is mostly gone, but we get a more adult contemporary sound with some folk influences. P!nk’s vocals are as powerful as ever, while she dares to show her vulnerable side even more than before. This record might not be as overloaded with obvious hits as for example Funhouse was, but it will bring her enough success to prove she is still very much a part of the contemporary pop scene, even after a five year break.

 

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