The pop landscape has been a much more interesting place with P!nk in it.
Jaime Gill 2010
A decade (plus) and 25 hits into her wayward career, it feels like Alecia ‘P!nk’ Moore has been forever popping up to spray-paint the charts with her brash skater pop. Perhaps it’s this familiarity – along with her increasingly trashy sound and cartoonish videos – which has made it easy to forget what a daring and unusual pop star she truly is. Emerging as Britney Spears was simpering that she was born to make men happy, P!nk’s agenda was spikily, defiantly different.
Even in her early career, when pushed down an uncomfortable RnB route (a misadventure recalled in her later Don’t Let Me Get Me), P!nk’s bolshy rebelliousness and refusal to play sexy were obvious. Sonically, There You Go may be little more than a sleek, skilled pastiche of TLC, but her raw voice and confrontational attitude ("that love s*** just aint for me") were all her own.
It took 2001’s Missundaztood for P!nk to discover her own sound, a fusion of hip hop beats, punky guitars and monster choruses. The belching, brassy Get the Party Started hasn’t dated well, but the other singles remain startling. On the propulsive, bruising Just Like a Pill she alchemised emotional self-destructiveness into a global smash hit, while the downbeat Family Portrait is as wrenching and articulate an account of domestic dysfunction as you’ll find in pop. Towering over all is the savage honesty of Don’t Let Me Get Me, a searing expose of the pressures young women face which still makes most male angst-merchants sound self-absorbed and childlike.
Perhaps such brutal confessionals drained P!nk, as she’s rarely matched their emotional heights since. What Greatest Hits… So Far!!!, proves, however – the hideousness of exclamation marks aside – is her consistent knack for delivering stompingly good, whiplash smart pop songs. Stupid Girls is an addictive and hilarious attack on paparazzi culture and the women who prostrate themselves to it ("What happened to the dream of a girl President? / She’s dancing in a video next to 50 Cent"), while on U + Ur Hand and So What she and Max Martin created two thrilling, all-conquering bubblegum punk songs.
There are lesser moments, too, including the clumsy new drinking anthem Raise Your Glass. But even if she hasn’t quite fulfilled the huge potential Missundaztood suggested, this greatest hits is a punchy reminder of why the pop landscape has been a much more interesting place with P!nk in it.