Review: ‘Hurts 2B Human’ Is A Worthy Addition To Pink’s Discography
Since emerging as a bubblegum-haired rebel on 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home, Pink has cobbled together one of the best discographies in pop. She first reinvented herself on Missundaztood and then kept evolving on standout albums like I’m Not Dead and Funhouse. On her last record, however, the 39-year-old struggled to find a place in the streaming-dominated pop world. 2017’s Beautiful Trauma still appealed to the faithful, but it failed to cut through the noise and make much of an impact on pop culture. She bounces back admirably on Hurts 2B Human.
Pink launched the album with “Walk Me Home,” an unusually mellow anthem that finds the hitmaker in a loved-up mood. Thematically, the track gives you some idea of what to expect on Hurts 2B Human. Alecia Moore (her real name) searches her soul on a collection of raw and vulnerable tunes that showcase both her vocal chops and mean pen. She also freshens up her sound by working with a new batch of producers including Peter Thomas, Jorgen Odegard and Oscar Görres.
Another innovation is her collaborative approach. Of the album’s four collaborations, two stand out as highlights. “Love Me Anyway,” a duet with country crooner Chris Stapleton, is a stone-cold smash and needs to be rolled out as the next single. It has the potential to be a signature song for Pink, such is its universality and emotional pull. The same goes for the pop star’s brilliant duet with Wrabel. “90 Days” is a brutal ballad about asking to put out of your misery when a relationship has run its course.
As those tracks suggest, the album excels when Pink is dissecting matters of the heart. Take the deceptively-titled “Happy.” Co-written by Sasha Sloan and teddy<3, this song is form of self-help therapy that just happens to be catchy enough to be a single. It also rivals the above-mentioned ballads as one of the best tracks on Hurts 2B Human. Joining this top tier is the Greg Kurstin-produced “We Could Have It All.” The bittersweet gem captures the feeling of defeat when you have ruined a good thing and don’t know quite how.
Equally relatable and introspective is “My Attic.” Julia Michaels had a hand in writing this one and it bears the hallmarks of her honesty and insight. On it, Pink references the deep recesses of our minds where we store our flaws and psychological scars. She then dares to let a little light in. “Courage,” co-penned by Sia, tackles a similar issue — namely the sheer terror that accompanies necessary change. It also boasts one of the record’s best vocal performances.
Apart from “Walk Me Home,” Hurts 2B Human is a little light on Pink’s trademark pop/rock bangers. The closest she comes is “(Hey Why) Miss You Sometime.” Produced by Shellback and Max Martin, this rivals “Can We Pretend” as the album’s most upbeat and irreverent moment. It just feels a little lightweight in comparison to tracks like “The Last Song Of Your Life.” The ballad is a devastating appeal for honesty and authenticity that sums up the album’s deep dive into the human condition perhaps better than any other.
Hurts 2B Human is that rarest of things in the pop world. An accessible pop album for adults. The tracks are a testament to Pink’s life experience and the inevitable baggage that comes along with any prolonged stay on planet earth. For me, this is the hitmaker’s best album since 2008’s Funhouse.