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Album Review

We missed P!nk's seventh album when it debuted at No. 1 last fall. But she's back near the top of the charts again, thanks to a new leg of her tour with tickets that come bundled with a copy of Beautiful Trauma. So we're taking this opportunity to evaluate P!nk's latest … a bit later than usual.

Life is messy, something P!nk knows very well. Accordingly Beautiful Trauma often feels like a memoir. Tracks deal autobiographically with the ups and downs of childhood, marriage, parenthood and the inevitable challenges of growing up.

In an interview with NPR Music, P!nk described how her life experiences shaped this album: “I think life is really traumatic, and it feels—even though it makes me sound like my parents to say this—like it's getting more so. But I also think that there's really beautiful people in the world, and there's more good than bad, and there's love to be made and joy to be had.”

P!nk's own words capture the raw essence of this album, 13 songs laced with both beauty and trauma—and insights on the roles that each have to play in our lives.

Positive Elements

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Pro-social Content

In “Whatever You Want,” P!nk will do anything to mend a broken relationship: “I feel like our ship's going down tonight/ But it's always darkest before the light/And that's enough for me to try/Whatever you want/Whatever you need.”

What About Us” speaks on behalf of those who've been overlooked and misused, asking: “What about us?/What about all the times you said you had the answers?/ … What about love? What about trust?”

“Barbies" longs for the simplicity of childhood: “I wish I could go back to playing Barbies in my room." But the song also paradoxically acknowledges that perhaps childhood wasn't so simple after all: "They say that things were simple then/Although I don't remember when." Focusing on the future, P!nk sings, "I wanna know what happens next," and ponders, "Where do we all go?”

“For Now” longs to revisit the ideal moments of a relationship: “Can we just freeze, frame, pause, rewind, stop/And get back to the feelings we think we've lost?” P!nk also admits her mouth gets her into trouble: “'Cause I, I, I say and I do things that I shouldn't sometimes/My mouth gets me in trouble all the time.”

In “I Am Here," a struggling P!nk realizes she has nothing more to fear and only one direction to go: up. “May the light be upon me/May I feel in my bones that I am enough/I can make anywhere home/My fingers are clenched, my stomach's in knots/My heart it is racing, but afraid I am not.”

The same theme, moving forward despite life's pain, can be heard in “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”: "There's not enough rope to tie me down/There's not enough tape to shut this mouth/The stones you throw can make me bleed/But I won't stop until we're free/Wild hearts can't be broken.” Meanwhile, "Secrets” finds P!nk wanting to come clean with someone about deceiving that person: “I've got some things to say/ 'Cause there's a lot that you don't know/ It's written on my face, it's gonna be hard to swallow/Everybody's got a secret.”

P!nk's tumultuous 12-year marriage to motocross racer Carey Hart has been well chronicled. Perhaps we get a glimpse of the singer's determination to work through marital conflict in the song “You Get My Love.” She says of her sleeping husband, “I'm still not prepared/For when you wake up/ And turn to me/ But you get my love, baby ... /If there's only one thing about me that you can trust/You get my love, baby.”

Objectionable Content

The title track profanely describes a toxic relationship: “My love, my drug, we're f---ed up, oh.” The balance of the song compares this dysfunctional romance to drug use ("We were high in the love, doped out") while dropping still more f-bombs.

“Revenge,” featuring Eminem, graphically and profanely threatens someone in the wake of infidelity. “Let me count the ways/How I'll get you, or how I'll make you pay/... Eye for eye you piece of s---." Elsewhere, Eminem calls the woman he's menacing here a "slut" and a "whore." We even hear murderous undertones in an allusion to the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

Hopelessness pervades “Where We Go,” where P!nk says that not even a “holy man” or “prayer” can save a relationship that's damaged beyond repair. Similarly pessimistic (and mildly profane) sentiments fill "But We Lost It.

“Whatever You Want” offers this correlation between love and alcohol: “Whoever said that love was sweet/Drank a little too much whiskey, baby.” We also hear, "Fighting like a b--ch too much," and "Even when I fall/You don't seem to give two s---s.”

Insecurities gnaw at P!ink in “Better Life": “But I can't shake the feeling/That you picture a better life, better wife, better nights, better high.” The stress of the unknown makes her want to drink and smoke again, feelings that are articulated via still more harsh profanities.

“I Am Here” narrates hitting rock bottom and embracing reckless choices as a result. P!nk declares, “There's no such thing as sin," and says, "I wanna make some mistakes/... I wanna be lost, so lost that I'm found/Naked and laughing with my blood on the ground.” More profanity turns up in this track, too, as it does in "For Now" as well.

“Barbies” references using “Pixie Stix to smoke” as a child.

Summary Advisory

There's something beautiful about having the courage to pour out one’s heart and soul, especially in today’s culture, where so many celebrities strive to create an eternally happy facade. But while honesty and transparency should be highly valued, there is a distinct difference between transparency that ends in hope, and that which ends in despair.

Beautiful Trauma delivers both kinds of transparency. At times I admired P!nk's willingness to confess unvarnished, painful truths about her chaotic life. But other times, her honesty is so clouded by profane bitterness and rage that it's hard to discern much beauty amid all that trauma.

Plot Summary

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Reached No. 1.

Record Label





October 13, 2017

On Video

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Kristin Smith

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