By Anastasia Landeros
After years of lifting the spirits of her listeners with strong messages of empowerment, P!nk reflects on life, love and motherhood on her seventh studio album “Beautiful Trauma.”
The album showcases her beautiful vocals, wonderfully expressive songwriting skills and a knack for matching hopeful rhythms with sobering lyrics.
“Barbies” opens reminiscent of a classic folk song, with smooth vocals lamenting over not being a kid anymore to a slow acoustic guitar and violin.
It gradually crescendos into a steady drumbeat and harmonizing backup vocals, leaving the listener in a dream-like state as she bemoans “I wish that I could go back/Back to playing Barbies in my room.”
The lead single off the album, “What About Us,” does a great job showing off P!nk’s dancey side, contrasting soulful lyrics with upbeat dance rhythms and silky vocals.
“Where We Go” is a nice middle ground on the album as it skips across thoughtful lyrics and a rhythm for open-air car rides rather than sweaty dance floors.
The upbeat, gospel-esque “Better Life” is a smooth, head-bopping track with lyrics that don’t match its tone.
She belts, “But I can’t shake the feeling/That you picture a better life, better wife, better nights, better high” while a choir claps along to the rhythm.
This contrast between solemn lyrics and upbeat sounds is what makes “Beautiful Trauma” a unique listening experience, as a majority of the songs on the album play with this approach.
“Secrets” showcases a more conventional tone-to-lyric structure with an aggressive drumbeat and equally aggressive lyrics chanting “I got some things to say (Everybody’s got a secret)/’Cause there’s a lot that you don’t know.”
Although there are stellar examples of P!nk’s musical and lyrical talents, songs like “You Get My Love,” “But We Lost It” and, the title track, “Beautiful Trauma,” hinder the overall rhythm of the album.
“But We Lost It” has P!nk fighting with the piano track for attention, making it hard to fully understand the thoughtfulness behind the lyrics “I’m still the girl that you chased all around the world/I haven’t changed, I’ve just replaced all the chains with pearls/I want the same things we did back then/I know we had it but we lost it.”
The title track opens the album on a boring note with “Beautiful Trauma.”
It’s a not-quite-dance, not-quite-slow jam, expletive-filled snooze that doesn’t introduce the album in a creative or thoughtful way.
P!nk fans are no strangers to the colorful language and imagery in her songs, but “Beautiful Trauma” smacks the ear rather than finesses it into submission.
The chorus, however, begs for listeners to chant along, but it requires getting past more than a full minute of boring vocals and piano.
The track to skip completely is “Revenge” featuring Eminem.
Although right at home on an Eminem album, “Revenge” is a bit too crude and out of character for P!nk.
It follows a couple who cheats on each other, then plots revenge for their misdeeds.
Though not a completely off-limits subject for P!nk, the Eminem rap may be too much for young listeners who don’t need to hear the rapper proclaim “Just remember, you cheated on me first/You’re a whore, you’re a whore/This is war.”
Overall, “Beautiful Trauma” fits nicely into P!nk’s catalogue, though only a few songs have the markings for long-lasting appeal.
Her vocal skills take center stage and, having co-written all 13 songs on the album, it’s easy to see where her inspiration comes from– a rare commodity in today’s cookie-cutter-pop landscape.
Naturally, the album comes with an “Explicit Lyrics” warning.