Pink – Beautiful Trauma (2017)

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Pink is a versatile artist with impressive vocal range, a big mouth and a lot to say. She has never been one to shy away from the spotlight, controversy and speaking her mind – and, with Beautiful Trauma, she does all of that. The issue is often how these songs are presented.

In contrast to 2012’s The Truth About Love, where she positioned herself as a mainstream pop powerhouse and force to be reckoned with, Beautiful Trauma finds Pink in a more mature, relaxed and reflective frame of mind. Often featuring quieter settings from producers Max Martin and Greg Kurstin, the album explores the depth of feelings and the complex emotions that come with loving someone in a difficult relationship.

It’s unquestionably a well thought-out and produced project, and it’s nice to see the growth and variety that Pink showcases here. However, in particular through its middle section, Beautiful Trauma can be excessively slow, almost boring. We’ve come to expect bigger things – not just with topical subjects but also in musical approach – from Pink.

Some of the standout tracks include “Beautiful Trauma,” “What About Us,” “Barbie” and “Where We Go.” “Beautiful Trauma” is the title track for a reason: Right out of the gate, it hooks you. This is a high-energy, soaring pop song complimented by piano, violins and Pink’s distinct and signature voice. Much like “Beautiful Trauma,” “What About Us” continues her penchant for pop anthems. It’s a pulsating, total pop anthem – and perhaps the strongest track on Beautiful Trauma. Even here, however, we hear melancholy undertones. “What About Us” builds up slowly before finally gaining momentum to become pure radio gold.

“Barbies” touches on Pink’s empowerment of women, while taking a nostalgic look back. It’s not to be confused with Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” by the way. The sentiment is definitely not the same. Instead, this is Pink’s personal plea for a return to simpler times. It’s about innocence, and the music conveys that perfectly: The use of guitar and drums gives “Barbies” an acoustic, at home atmosphere, filled with truth, honesty and vulnerability.

The result is one of the most memorable tracks on Beautiful Trauma, though it continues to throw off the balance between ballads and catchy pop tunes. One of the catchiest is “Where We Go,” a song that adds its own new flavors: Pink surprises with a Latin-influenced, techno-type arrangement that brings the beat and the energy up. This pulsating, catchy song will have you shaking your hips in no time.

In the end, Beautiful Trauma is a chronicle of the various chapters Pink has experienced, and the growth and maturity that has come from them. But there may simply be too many introspective moments here, when Pink fans come in expecting a lot more toughness – or else a lot more fun.

Kristina Mondo

Kristina Mondo

Kristina Mondo is New Jersey native, freelance writer, blogger and music enthusiast and a New Jersey Press Association Award winner. See more of her work at Off the Record: https://tunestoursandmore.wordpress.com/. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Kristina Mondo

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