I'm Not Dead
by Pink, pop (2006)

Pink manages to rebound nicely from her disastrously dull Try This with I'm Not Dead.

However, it may be a case of being too late for any good since Kelly Clarkson has stolen much of Pink's thunder in the meantime. I mean, I love Who Knew, a tender midtempo song mourning the sudden loss of a loved one that sees Pink conveying poignant melancholy as she screeches out the chorus like she's trying to be Janis Joplin and her heart is breaking. Unfortunately, one can actually sing Kelly Clarkson's Since U've Been Gone over this song without missing a beat. This may be a problem for Pink, who is constantly trying to tell people that she's the rebel or the one who stands out for telling the establishment and the Big Man to fuck off but her music, on the other hand, are created by the same people who bring the world the charming little-girl rock tunes by the likes of Avril Lavigne and now Kelly Clarkson. This problem is evidenced perfectly in the lead single Stupid Girls which sees Pink berating and mocking girls who'd embrace eating disorders just to be famous for fifteen minutes. It's nice that Pink is trying to tell everyone how different and how smart she is when musically she's embracing the very conventions that she claims to reject.

Somewhere inside Pink is a woman who adores Janis Joplin and isn't afraid to tell the world to fuck off. However, her musical choices make her sometimes heartfelt and introspective lyrics come off as false. In Dear Mr. President, a duet with the Indigo Girls, for example, Pink, backed only by an acoustic guitar, stridently berates dear George W Bush for everything from the Iraq war to bills suppressing the rights of gay people in America. It's a powerful performance and barring the sometimes cringe-inducing pretentiousness of the lyrics, this song is actually a fiery and impassionate scree from someone who seems like she really feels everything she is singing, and I have to respect her for that. Oh, and the fact that it's a good song doesn't hurt either, of course. But put that song in the same CD as Stupid Girls and we have some genuine credibility problems here.

But if you're here for fabulous radio-friendly music, you're at the right place. The title track is a rousing singalong anthem but really, every track here is pure musical feast for ears barring the annoying Stupid Girls. My favorite track is Who Knew for reasons I've described earlier, but U + Ur Hand is a magnificent dancefloor fuck-off from Pink to creeps that try to hit on her. The chorus is fabulous, but even more fabulous is the hilarious but too-true Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely), where Pink tells a lover who keeps hanging around her 24/7 to go away and give her some time by herself for once. The lyrics are too-funny but too-real, such as:

I don't wanna wake up with another
But I don't wanna always wake up with you either
No you can't hop into my shower
All I ask for is one fuckin' hour
You taste so sweet
But I can't eat the same thing every day
Cuttin' off the phone
Leave me the fuck alone!
Tomorrow I'll be beggin' you to come home

As always, I love Pink because she has this heady rebel attitude in her that I can't help but to admire and even want to emulate. The way she spits out "Leave me the fuck alone!" in the above song is just... beautiful, I tell you, in how much exasperation she manages to inject in that phrase. The speed, the cadence, the anger - her delivery is just perfect. I find myself singing along to that song as I get about doing housework and I especially love screeching "Leave me the fuck alone!" along with Pink until my husband is convinced that I must be undergoing a more intense version of menopause. Nah, it's just that Pink, for all her strengths and flaws, reminds me of a little girl who wants to be different, has no patience for fools, and just tells things as it is. I still want to be that girl one day, which probably explains why I adore Pink.

And after her disastrous previous CD, I'm Not Dead is a welcome rebound indeed. Maybe one day Pink will be able to sing what she really wants to sing without compromising her vision and artistic integrity, but realistically, she's Pink and she may not be able to have that opportunity. But when compromising and selling-out result in such musical perfection like Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely), I'm Not Dead, and Who Knew, hey, things aren't so bad after all.

Rating: 89

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