ARTIST OF THE MONTH: P!NK
We start our spotlight on singer-songwriter Pink’s double-platinum debut album "Can't Take Me Home" introduced the world to the music phenom’s versatile singing chops and notable songwriting skills. The Pennsylvania-born then-20-year-old born Alecia Moore was billed as the tough-talking, partying antithesis of bubblegum pop princesses like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Her rebellious personality resulted in the album’s unmistakable attitude. Spunky, effortless vocals set her apart from her contemporaries, too, which is especially evident by the ballad “Let Me Let You Know.” Pink also worked with R&B-minded musicians such as Kandi Burruss, Robin Thicke, and Babyface to hone a sound in that vein. The project was released April 4, 2000, and easily fit into the landscape of late-‘90s and early ‘00s R&B, eras where Destiny's Child, Brandy and Monica, had scored major hits.
The first thing I am reminded of is how powerful, and soulful Pink’s voice actually is. Sure, we have been indulged in the aerobatics that she has become known for in her live shows over the last decade, but her voice is the true standout here. Whilst this album has a strong underlying dance/pop commercial vibe, sometimes even capitalizing on the mid to late ‘90s jungle influence, Pink’s voice can’t be ignored for its R&B indebted qualities. Three singles from the album were released in the form of “There You Go,” “Most Girls,” and “You Make Me Sick.” All three singles charted reasonably well, with the first two cracking the top ten in the US and “Most Girls,” giving Pink her first number one in Australia. Pink only co-wrote one of the three singles released, and she does have writing credits on seven of the album’s thirteen tracks. I am sure that some disagree with me here, but this album has some stunning standout tracks, none more so than the soulful balladry of “Let Me Let You Know,” co-written by Robin Thicke. It is the first time we are introduced to the depth and strength of Pink’s voice, put on full blast.
The album’s title track, “Can’t Take Me Home, is arguably the best example of any resemblance where TLC and Destiny’s Child are concerned. It is a strong dance track and really should have been released as a single, as it truly represented the sound at the time. The album is rounded out with more sublime balladry via the heartbreak in “Stop Falling” coupled with some filler fare like “Hiccup.” Pink was just twenty years old when this album was released, and whilst her onstage persona presented a woman with her middle finger up to the world, the reality was quite different. The young singer, as mentioned above, co-wrote half of the album and given that she now has a body of work that has lasted two decades, this debut most definitely set the tone for someone that would not only go on to conquer the music industry but someone who has consistently stood up for what she believes in on a humanitarian level.
"Can’t Take Me Home" may not have appealed to everyone and won every critic’s heart. Still, for those that didn’t fit the Britney or Xtina mould that had dominated the year prior, Pink offered an alternative, grittier attitude that clearly resonated with many around the world. For all its clichés, this album gives agency for a different voice to take center stage and gave Pink a platform that she has not only used musically but continues to use as a way to empower women globally.