“There’s this whole techno takeover going on right now that just does my head in, and I knew I didn’t want to do that. I’d rather dance around and sing goofy songs,” Pink noted in her Billboard cover story. But as The Truth About Love proves, she hardly needs bass drops to sound as if she’s out of her mind. The album has its stadium-ready sing-alongs (opener “Are We All We Are”) and ballads written by songwriters high in demand. (Closer “The Great Escape” is by Dan Wilson, the man who penned Adele‘s “Someone Like You”). These basic pop-album ingredients create wildly emotional moments that come with Pink’s most important truth: the love of your life can also cause the heartbreak of your life.
The Truth About Love has Pink committing to a few mainstay songwriters from her more recent albums, including Max Martin, Butch Walker and “Glitter in the Air” balladeer Billy Mann. However, she does flirt with a few collaborators in their respective sonic comfort zones. “Here Comes the Weekend” allows Eminem to unleash a rapid fire, Diddy-dissing verse to Recovery producer DJ Khalil, and Pink’s attempts to keep pace amplifies her thirst for that cherry wine. Meanwhile, every bodily threat in “True Love” (“At the same time I wanna hug you / I wanna wrap my arms around your neck”) bounces with glee as the singer skips through duet partner Lily Allen‘s breezier pop realm. Truth‘s collaborations can feel like bigger reflections of the guests than Pink herself, but the singer manages to pull these off amply enough so that they register as yet another mood swing.
Speaking of mood swings: “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” that determined kiss-off of a first single, was only literally the start. “Slut Like You” yanks the best punchlines from David Bowie‘s “Suffragette City” and Scarface (“Wham bam, thank you ma’am” and “Say hello to my little friend,” respectively), then barrels through a bass-and-rap bridge, an acoustic breakdown and Pink’s best hooting and hollering. “Where Did the Beat Go” sounds like an arena anthem at first with its thumping, booming drums; however, Pink fails to shake the guilt off of her voice — as she explains, it’s the end result of her own infidelity. The best moments in The Truth arrive when she’s either rebounding or completely winded, either acting as a female Barney Stinson or tormented by her own reality.
Even coming after Funhouse‘s kooky self-reflection, The Truth About Love sounds downright tumultuous. Pink’s wide-ranging Real Talk is both obnoxious and infectious, thanks, mainly to her unwavering willingness to sound zany, if not downright maniacal. She bears little answers, but that’s beside the point. What really matters is that, when faced with a breakup, she’s feeling just as cynical and downright confused as we all would.
The Best Song Wasn’t the Single: “Slut Like You” could be as huge a smash as “Starships,” easily.
Pops Like: The wildest, weirdest moments from her previous two efforts (I’m Not Dead, Funhouse).
Best Listened To: While on the rebound.
Full Disclosure: While listening to “Slut Like You,” the first pop-culture reference that popped to mind wasn’t related to music at all — it was How I Met Your Mother‘s Woo Girl.
Idolator Rating: 4.5/5
— Christina Lee
How does Pink’s Truth resonate? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.