Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pink: She Will Help You Help Yourself

I love P!nk.

Alecia Beth Moore.  Born some year on some date.  Has since become pop icon of the Millennium.

You might have heard of her.  As a child of the 1990's I have grown up with her music since her classic "Most Girls" and "You Make Me Sick," which both used those fantastic electric drum loops with synthesizer guitar-meets-harpsichord-licks.  But, I love her for more than just childhood nostalgia. Yes, she is attractive.  Yes, she's got the bad-ass vibe going for her.  Yes, she's got an amazing voice.  And yes, she's a great performer who is entertaining and works very hard to present a good show onstage.


The real reason I love P!nk?

She's my favorite Pop Therapist.

Pop Therapy

Is it just me, or has Pink made a career out of reassuring the American public?  It was an evolving process but she's gone from raging sexy badass, to goofball spazz, to alcoholic verging on breakdown, to fierce icon of human fallibility.  The momentum behind her fame has dramatically increased over the years due to this evolution it seems.  Not to mention, her music is quite catchy and she puts on a hell of a show.

For some reason it's more impressive that she's still wearing heels while doing this.
Her music videos provide enough visuals alone that P!nk is all about self-reflection and wrestling with her issues.

She has literally wrestled with herself (Sober),  not to mention a boyfriend or two (You Make Me Sick) her almost-ex husband (So What?), and a Sumo-Wrestler corporate America (Raise Your Glass).

P!nk is also ready and willing to be the fall-girl for a gag about pretty pop divas (Get This Party Started, Stupid Girls).  She has the body to pretend to be Britney Spears and actively uses that to her marketability by making fun of it.  It's brilliant.  This is why she's famous--she has her P!nk cake and smashes it into your face, too.

Self-Help Music

Aside from the image of her videos and her persona, let's just take a sample of the lyrics in her latest hits.

With the song "Raise Your Glass" P!nk gives her audience a rally-cry for the downtrodden:
So raise your glass 
If you are wrong 
In all the right ways
All my underdogs
We will never be, never be 
Anything but loud 
And nitty-gritty
Dirty little freaks.

In "F**kin' Perfect" P!nk manages to endear herself to her audience, brokering a deal that everyone feels worthless sometimes but at least she likes you:
Pretty, pretty please
Don't you ever, ever feel
Like your less than 
Fuckin' perfect
Pretty, pretty please 
If you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing 
You are perfect to me.

P!nk also provides songs that when one sings them aloud, they are literally giving themselves a pep talk against any of their ex-lovers that ever done them wrong:
So, so what?
I'm still a rockstar.
I got my rock moves
And I don't need you
And guess what?
I'm having more fun
And now that we're done
I'm gonna show you
That tonight
I'm alright
I'm just fine
American Woman 

I tend to take late-night walks and every time I come back to the car to drive myself home, nine times out of ten it's a powerhouse woman singing a self-help song that pops up on the local radio stations.  When I am out on a walk, particularly when walking on my own, I tend to get into a very pensive mood.  I think about things that have happened during the day.  I think about the worries I have.  I think about how I shouldn't worry so much.  I then think not worrying is what will lead me to be vulnerable to the Crazy-crazy in the bushes who will leap out at me, brandishing a knife.

It doesn't feel like a coincidence if every night I get back to the car, safe from Crazy-crazy attacking me once more, P!nk is right there, waiting to tell me that I'm worth it, or that Katy Perry is wailing how I'm actually a firework waiting to explode with potentiality, or that Beyoncé believes I own the entire planet because I am female.

It seems quite American, actually.  That's why it sells so well.  But, this got me thinking about an old subject of mine:  American pop culture really is infiltrated with the need for reassurance. Pop music has always had a pretty "co-dependent" feel to their lyrics, if not outright unhealthy attitude towards love and infatuation.  But, I think we've merged into a new realm:  musical therapy.  As in, our pop divas are there to tell us what's wrong in the world and how to be right.

Aside from Ms. P!nk's epic career as singer/songwriter/shrink, take Katy Perry's epic "Fireworks" for example, or Beyoncé's... well, anything from Beyoncé in the last decade really is kind of a battle cry for women around the globe.

These power-house divas have created a new role for women in American pop music.  To me, it seems, they're like the mom we never had, telling us it's going to be okay whilst simultaneously telling us in so few words they will cut you at a second's notice.  In a weird way, they're bridging the gaps between the Epic Strong Woman stereotype I've been harping on about, in that they're larger than life but they are famous for their faults blasted through their hits.

I'd love to continue analyzing this, but I've been having a long, hard week.  So, instead I'm just going to go right back to listening to my music therapy and watch episodes of Sugar Rush.


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