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Hurts 2B Human Nick Roseblade , May 2nd, 2019 08:06

With her latest record, pop veteran Pink goes for that elusive classic album. She doesn't quite make it, finds Nick Roseblade

Pink is a pop veteran. Since her solo debut in 2000 she has sold more than ninety million records, joining an exclusive club with the likes of Madonna, Beyoncé, Prince, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson as members. Her best-of is pretty stacked, to say the least. And her legacy as a voice for the broken and downtrodden is secured. The one thing she doesn’t have is that ‘classic’ album. The album that she will be remembered for. You know, a Ray of Light, Blackout, or Thriller. Her latest full-length, Hurts 2B Human tries to remedy this. On the surface, it ticks all the boxes. In reality, it falls a little short.

Hurts 2B Human is effectively broken down into three types of songs. Unapologetic pop songs, tender ballads, and the rocky one. ‘Hustle’, ‘(Hey Why) Miss You Sometime’, and ‘Can We Pretend’ are the kind of balls to the wall pop that made Pink a household name. They are fun, infectious and pretty much everything you want from her. ‘We Could Have it All’, co-written with Beck, shows that Pink can still rock out, but compared to 2003’s ‘Feel Good Time’ it feels flat.

The rest of the album consists of earnest ballads. These songs are split into cries for help, I’ll get through this, and I’m sorry. After the explosive visceral opening, every one of them feels like a slog to get through before the next adrenaline shot. The tone and tempo is almost identical each time. Yes, her vocals still sound great but she isn’t really saying anything new – and when she said it before, it felt more interesting, more poignant.

At times it feels like Pink really is just box-ticking here. The club banger ‘Can We Pretend’. Check. The ballad ‘My Attic’. Check. The reflective emotional number ‘Circle Game’. Check. The country one ‘Love Me Anyway’. Check. The rock one ‘We Could Have it All’. Check. Ultimately this only hurts the album. What Pink does best is hi-octane tongue-in-cheek pop like ‘Get The Party Started’, ‘Feel Good Time’, and ‘Trouble’, but the majority of Hurts 2B Human is full of lyrics that sound like they were written by a twenty-something going through an angsty existential crisis.

Pink has never really released a ‘classic’ album in the same way her peers have and sadly Hurts 2B Human isn’t that album. There are flourishes that hint the singer is still capable of reaching those heights in pop that few ever reach, moments when she still sounds like she’s actually having a good time recording the songs. Unfortunately, these moments are all too fleeting. When Hurts 2B Human works, its great. It reminds you why Pink is such a big star. When it doesn’t, it hurts.