Pink: Try This

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Pink

Album: Try This
Label: Arista
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Pink

Album: Try This
Label: Arista

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Pink has been a huge pop star for years now, but it's never been abundantly clear why: While her roguish spunk hints at an intriguing character, she always comes off as more brash than inviting. She makes a game of railing against star-making machinery, but her top-down defiance proves incongruous when it's not downright delusional. For all her persona-centric faults, though, Pink has a way of spitting back suspicion when she sings. The backstory of her new Try This draws a lot from its principal producer; after going gruff and moody under the watch of former 4 Non Blondes singer Linda Perry on 2001's M!ssundaztood, Pink upped the ante and enlisted punk pro Tim Armstrong from Rancid. His presence stamps a number of charging rock songs, but Try This is very much Pink's record. On "Trouble," the first single, she builds back-off sentiment from tired declaration to giddy decree, touching on a vocal range spread over the album to great effect. Sliding from yearning growl to grainy yowl and hitting all points between, Pink's voice is an expressive, embattled marvel. And she needs it to navigate Try This' jarring tonal shifts. From tra-la-la pop ("God Is A DJ") to squirming angst-rock ("Last To Know"), the album covers everything-goes terrain made sensible by Pink's vocal mastery of mood swings. Three songs co-written with Perry run from heartbroken '70s-radio balladry to prickly punk. The Armstrong-assisted tracks stretch even farther, touching on sensual, rootsy R&B and haunting rock that sounds like on-the-make emo more than Avril Lavigne. Pink's delivery says more than her often wince-inducing lyrics, but it means enough to make Try This an engagingly revealing album from an artist more at home on record than anywhere else.

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