Hurts 2B Human (Sony)
Pink fans know there’s two Pinks.
There’s radio Pink. The Pink making the hits that fill the stadiums she flies over.
And they’re quite often more than just pop bangers — see Who Knew, Dear Mr President, Family Portrait, Sober, Perfect, What About Us.
Then there’s the album cuts that show her wide musical influences.
What started as a few songs for an EP recorded while still touring the barely 18 months old Beautiful Trauma, has snowballed into her eighth studio album.
There’s a creative freedom to this album that’s palpable — Pink’s still on tour and off endless promo duty. She knows she’s earned the right to do whatever she wants, as long as there’s a few radio hits in the mix.
So she can drop 90 Days with Wrabel, her best duet since Just Give Me a Reason, but a very different song. It’s closer to Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek (they even sing ‘What’d ya say’)— an ethereal, stark ballad full of vocoder and raw heartbreak. Their voices sync perfectly, with lyrics that are summarised with the line “If you’re just some habit I gotta break I could clear my system in 90 days.”
Happy recalls the Pink raised on 4 Non Blondes — all angst and dark cloud pop and revealing lyrics.
It opens with the line “Since I was 17 I’ve always hated my body and it feels like my body’s hated me” and adds “seen every therapist but I’m a cynical bitch, don’t like to talk about my feelings, I take another sip, I swear it’s my last fix, because it’s easier than healing.”
It’s no secret there’s a country album in Pink, Love Me Anyway is a duet with Chris Stapleton (which Pink also produced) that shows how good that album will be when she eventually unleashes it.
Stunning ballad Circle Game, about moving from being a daddy’s girl to mother of a daughter, is about to reduce a large section of her fanbase to tears. See also The Last Song of Your Life, for those who like Pink in campfire mode (it was written with her pal Billy Mann).
The only song Pink didn’t have a hand in writing? My Attic, by Julia Michaels. When you hear it, much like Try, it sounds like Pink could have written it.
It’s a big sweeping ballad that unfolds before your ears, with lyrics like “My attic is sober plans and one night stands that numbers can’t begin to calculate.”
You want pop? We Could Have It All (written with Beck — first time he’s been on a Pink song since Feel Good Time) is sun-kissed ’80s romantic pop with a monster chorus — think Stevie Nicks or Don Henley.
Courage was written with Sia and sounds instantly familiar, while Max Martin serves up the top 40 pop radio ready (Hey Why) Miss U Sometime where Pink describes a “Johnny Cash kind of love, can’t find my clothes kind of love”.
Pink has been melting genres for years. The music world has finally caught on. This is also the best Pink album since Funhouse. /CAMERON ADAMS
Try this if you like: Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox
Run Fast Sleep Naked (Future Classic)
Chet Faker’s debut album Built On Glass still gets thrashed in my house/car. He lost the moniker, pity, but it’s freed him up to throw down songs such as Sunlight, a death-defying big band electro-pop banger about smashing self-doubt and Sanity, irony-free gah-roovy pop. Fans of Murphy on Instagram will know he’s a bit of a tripper and he appears to have achieved enlightenment on the gurning guitars’n’beats of Some People./ MIKEY CAHILL
Try this if you like: Sonia Dada, ELO, Radiohead
In the End (BMG)
When The Cranberries’ expressive frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan died in January last year, the Irish alt band were progressing on this now final album. In The End, poignantly thematising fresh beginnings, is a moving tribute to O’Riordan — the band finished the record, using the vocals she had left behind. It also shows how underrated they are — curving into grunge, country and indie. The single All Over Now is peak ’90s anthemic guitar-pop. But, mostly, the tone is measured and reflective. The highlight, Lost, a lingering orchestral ballad./ CYCLONE WEHNER
Try this if you like: Garbage, Cocteau Twins