P!nk is one of those seriously underrated artists who consistently produces pop hits ranging from heart-wrenching to hilarious and rarely gets recognized as being fully in the realm of powerful pop star. Perhaps it’s because she rejects the idea that she is one herself, but perhaps it’s also because she so blatantly doesn’t fit within the box. Her songs are rich with context, be it blatant middle fingers to record label rules (“Don’t Let Me Get Me”) or a weaving tale of addiction and heartbreak (“Just Like A Pill”). All of that makes her the perfect VH1 Storytellers artist. The stories happen to flow endlessly, and they unsurprisingly turns out to be completely unlike the cookie-cutter explanations you’ve heard before.
“I like to talk and I like people to listen and laugh,” P!nk admits, opening the show with a sassy rendition of “So What”–one that takes her around the room, belting the song’s teasing words at each of her band members. She carelessly flicks off the audience singing, “What if this song’s on the radio, someone’s gonna die.” Hopefully that wasn’t taken too seriously because “So What” (like so many of P!nk’s singles) hit radio hard, becoming her first number one hit on the charts as a solo artist. “I always get the last word,” P!nk notes, explaining that after a brief break with her now-husband Carey, he asked her to sing at an opening of a club and she did: proudly singing the words to “So What” right into his face. They got back together that night.
P!nk next reveals a song off her new album The Truth About Love aptly called “True Love” — the camera cutting to her mother in the audience: “No one pushes your buttons like your mom or your lover. It’s like a remote control.” The song is a cheerly jaunt that somehow works in lyrics like “You’re an asshole, but I love you” and features none other than the foul-mouthed Lily Allen (who now goes by Lily Rose Cooper) appears on stage mid-song looking quite pregnant and puts her perfectly whimsical spin on the tune. After she leaves, P!nk compliments Lily with the best compliment she could give: “At one point she was drunk in public just like me.”
“I’ve had some vices in my life: drugs and things,” P!nk admits. But she was given the opportunity to either do a DJ set and quit drugs completely or keep down a sordid path, she “woke up and never did another drug again.” She was 15. Meanwhile, she says, drugs and alcohol are completely different beasts and after she got divorced she sank into a heavy drinking habit–mostly red wine (“I was classy!”) One night, hammered and surrounded by new friends (“I hate new friends.”) she sat decided to write a song about sobriety. Thus: “Sober”.
“Every time you’d see a show when I’m crying, it’s basically put on a new person,” says P!nk, referring to tearjerker ballad “Who Knew” — a song that was originally written for a friend killed by heroin and then went on to apply to each loss in the singer’s life. “Who Knew’s” story of frustration and regret soon became about her late Dog, Elvis, and even rang true with her late grandmother.
A break from the solo ballads, P!nk invites fun.’s Nate Ruess on stage: “Who is this beautiful voice?” she had said to herself after hearing fun.’s hit single “We Are Young” on the radio for the first time. They wrote a song together as P!nk secretly conspired to make Nate sing the song with her as a duet, “This song is a conversation and you have to do it,” she said to him. And luckily, he agreed. “Just Give Me A Reason” is her new album’s stand-out track: as duets are so rarely catchy and heartfelt, not to mention perfectly belt-able and ripe for future karaoke duos.
Back to the ballads, “Family Portrait” is based off of a poem P!nk wrote when she was 9 years old–one she wrote on the day her father left. A song that caused much drama in her family until she realized, “I signed up for this and they didn’t. I pulled the skeletons out of the closet.” And yet, “Family Portrait” is a song P!nk “didn’t know she needed until she wrote it” and after it was written, she realized: “That’s how I knew. That was the beginning of a career of being uncomfortable.” After sharing it with her family, inevitable crying ensued. In fact, she goes on: “I try to not go all the way into this song…To this day, I can play this song on stage and try to stop myself from crying.” *Cue the tears*
“Everyone’s like ‘Are you mad at him [Husband Carey Hart] again?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m just always mad enough at him to write a song.’ And of course I always have ‘Go f*ck yourself’ in my back pocket, lyrically…It’s my go-to emotion.” Thus: “One Last Kiss (Blow Me)”, the hit single from P!nk’s new album, one that perfectly encapsulate’s what P!nk is so good at: The “FU pop song.”
Blow her one last kiss.